New Street Food Fav

A few weeks ago, I had business in Pune, in the western part of India, in the general vicinity of Mumbai/Bombay. My coworker, K, told me about this signature food of Pune: the Batata-Vada. Potato, onion, herbs mixed and rolled in flour then fried. Like the offspring of a somosa (filling) and pakora (fry & overall appearance) — but with a unique taste and oh so good. When served on a roll, it’s Batata-Vata Pav (aka an Indian Burger). Garnished with green chili peppers/onion and green chutney. Totally yum.

Since I expressed an interest, K took me to THE place to have it: a very particular push cart on East Street near the Parsi Temple. Unlike any other push cart I’ve seen in Indian, this was quite an operation. People crowded around it in the street, of course. But it has car-side service! Cars pull over anywhere along the road and “boys” run over to take your order, run to collect the food from the cart and delivery to your car window. What service!

Fun urban legend: Apparently IT (the local version of the US IRS), was suspicious of the apparent stellar push-cart business versus its tax payments. So they raided the push cart! Well, as you can imagine, there are no receipts. According to the story, the IT agents overturned the trash barrels along the street & counted the paper wrappers from the Batata-Vata Pav (each is sold with 1 wrapper) and IT assessed a tax penalty based on their rubbish-count calculation. The infamous push cart owner reportedly accepted the fine, paid it and continues to sever his never ending clientele, uninterrupted….

Sorry no photos ;(

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