Saturday, January 30, 2016

473: The pani puri trail (Balewadi Faata to Kalyan Bhel...but only one side.)

Today my friend and I decided to try out every. single. pani-puri. stall on Baner road. Our version of the Baner road extended from Balewadi faata, near Salt restaurant, to the Aundh signal.

Here were the rules:

1.) We would try out every single stall - whether it was a makeshift, tiny thing wth no signboard at the curb or a stall with a board or part of shop or even a restaurant.

2.) We'd share a plate between the two of us.

3.) We'd have the whole pani-puri experience - including the sukha puri at the end.

It was so much fun! Of course we couldn't complete the whole Baner Road trail but from what we had, here's what I liked:

# 1: My pitch-perfect pani puri is made by the Ganesh Bhel guy. The boy who makes the pani puris is so considerate and polite! I think he gives it the edge over numbers two and three.

# 2: The stall outside Copper Chocs. It is supremely crowded but man, the guy is good! The puris are nice, big, and crisp, the imli water is spiced nicely and the sweet chutney is thick and lush.

# 3: Kalyan bhel is also good and it was our final stop. So, that's where we had our most expensive plate at thirty rupees. The guy making the puris was wearing gloves (if you're into that sort of thing) and their sweet water had the boondis nicely soaked in them.

Most of the places we went were serving chopped onions for us to use as toppings. This seems to be a new phenomenon because, you know, I have never had raw onions with pani puris. But it tasted good, all the same.

I love pani-puris. I love them. I want to be rich enough to hire some great modernist architect from Sweden to design me a house that looks like a pani-puri. The walls would be translucent golden, think fibre-glass, the punctured top would let in the sunshine, a jade pond with red mosaic flooring could be the green and red chutney, and yellow dandelion puffs all around to be reminiscent of boondi. Yes. That's my idea of success. When I can have a house shaped like my favorite food. 

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