Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 136: Roadside Paanipuri

2 April, 2010

We are in Kanpur - hubby's hometown. Hubby and I are always at loggerheads over which place is better, Kanpur or Kerala. While I can find a lot of arguments in Kerala's favour, one thing I must admit is that food in Kanpur R.O.C.K.S. I already am looking at least 3 kilos heavier over the last couple of days.

Particularly chaat items from Kanpur are just to die for! I believe I have tried quite a lot of things already in my previous visits but today I got to eat a new item and in a new way! I usually don't like the chaat dish called paanipuri. Whatever paanipuri I have had so far was sweet and am not a fan of the taste. But my hubby and in-laws raved about the paanipuri at a particular chaat shop. In response, I said I don't like paanipuri cos it is sweet.

Hubby: But it is not sweet. You can choose it to be not sweet.
Me: Really?!
Hubby: Of course, see the syrup here? If that is not added, it won't be sweet!
Me: Really?!
Hubby: You can just ask for paanipuri without syrup.
Me: Really?!
Hubby: You mean you didn't know?!

I didn't quite respond to that since my lack of knowldge was obviously evident by now and I didn't want to dig my own grave further. Now that was not the most fascinating part. The way the paanipuri was served was interesting! They have a set up outside the shop on the roadside where the paanipuri dude dishes out syrup and non-syrup paanipuri. The customers are given a container made of dried leaves. They look like small cupped plates. You can extend this leafy plate towards the paanipuri dude who will then quickly put the paanipuri together and place it in plate. You then quickly swallow the whole paanipuri in one go and then extend your leafy plate for the next one where he puts the next paanipuri. It just goes on and on and on. I was pretty fascinated. There were lots of people extending their cupped plates and he was flinging paanipuris in all directions. Then you see these people literally gobbling up the paanipuris and making slurpy noises. Then their hands would extend again like clockwork. Fascinating, really.

And then it was my change to try the non-syrup paanipuri. And by lord, it was amazing! Spicy and tangy and absolutely heavenly.

So there. Standing on the roadside, with a leafy plate, enjoying my new love: Paanipuri without syrup - Bliss!

864 more to go.

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