HYDERABAD: Those who have missed yummy roadside chaat and lip-smacking pani puri during the lockdown days have happy tidings. Chaat bhandars are back to business, as the lockdown has been lifted, and epicureans are seen relishing those snacks at wayside carts and food stalls.
Scores of food lovers were seen savouring the delicacies at NTR Marg near Hussainsagar, Sai Baba Chat Bhandar and Illyas Bhai’s Chaat, Begum Bazar and Hanuman Tekdi.
Gokul Chaat at Koti, a popular hotspot for the chaat lovers, is catching up its usual sales. “Now slowly our business is catching up. People come to us because of the taste, quality and hygiene. After the lockdown was lifted, the number of customers is growing. They eat here and also take the parcels,” said its proprietor, Prem Chend. “Keeping the prevailing situation in mind, we are following all Covid-19 norms and after a big gap, customers are relishing our items,” he said.
At Sindhi Colony in Secunderabad, Shivling Chaat (pushcart) is quite popular for its pani puri. Hanumanth Appa, who runs the business, is a specialist in mixing spicy water. He, who has been selling chaat for decades, said, “Customers are increasing. We are getting back to our usual business before the pandemic, though comparatively, it is less than how it was.”
Ananya Dara, a corporate employee and a food enthusiast, said, “Having chaat is a feel, it takes you to a level of ecstasy. When it comes to ‘pani puri’, no words can express its taste. Eating Pani puri is like a marathon, you keep gulping one after another.”
She said, “We friends usually eat the best chaat items in different places for which it is famous. We don’t mind traveling far for the best chaat. Since there are no restrictions by the government now, we again started going out in the evenings. The lucky part is we are now working from home, that gives us more time to freak out.”
Rajeev Ganji, who recently completed his graduation, said, “My favourite hangout for chaat is at Shalimar Chaat, at Rani Gung or Narsingh Chaat Bhandar at RP Road. My favourite snack is bhel puri and ragada samosa. Lockdown stopped us from meeting friends and there was a big gap. We could not hang out in the evenings due to restrictions. But as soon as the lockdown was lifted, we made sure that we visited our favourite chaat bhandar.”
Shravanthi, a homemaker from the Dairy Farm, Khanajiguda said, “Chaat is our daily grub. My husband and I walk to the pani puri bandi nearby, relish some cutlet ragada and return home.”
Geetha Sowjanya, a resident of Kukatpally, said her most favourite eatery was Maharaja Chaat at Madhapur. “This place has a nice car parking area and they serve in your car. Whenever I pass that road, I stop to relish some chaat,” she said.