Guwahati’s street food is pretty different from the overly-hyped street food of our metro cities. The items may be similar but it still tastes quite different. Maybe it has something to do with the addition of special spices and herbs found only in the Northeast. But one thing is for sure, you will not be able to forget the tantalising aroma and flavour once you have sampled it. No matter which part of the city you are, you are bound to come across stalls serving piping hot tea and pakoras, juicy momos and more. We bring forth a few interesting Guwahati street food stalls where you can indulge in mouth-watering bites.
When you travel from Down Town area towards Khanapara in the evening, you might see a middle-aged couple selling pakoras near Hotel Palacio. They serve Potato Chop, Egg Pakora, Capsicum Pakora, Onion Pakora, each for a paltry five rupees. Wrapped in a piece of paper with some homemade pudina chutney, their hot pakoras are worth trying.
Mukut Deka and Porboti Deka have been running the shop for the past five years; they revealed that they had to reduce items from their menu because customers needed to wait for a long time. Making different items would take time and as they serve everything hot, they decided to offer only a few items so that they can serve customers promptly. With their earnings, they pay for their son’s education. Mrs Deka proudly said, ‘Our son just got promoted to Class 9, we hope he does well in life as we are working very hard for him.’
All Veg Chaat
Rajesh Gupta from Vaishali in Bihar has been living in Guwahati since 2004; from the last six years, he has been sitting beside the Six Mile flyover making mouth watering chaats for locals who crowd around him every evening. His speciality is the mixed chaat that he makes with aloo tikki, curried chickpeas (cholay), salted fried crackers, bhujia and a dollop of curd. The fresh onion and coriander garnishing is a great finishing touch. He also makes alu chaat, bhel puri, pav bhaji and puchkas. He also sells packaged puchkas for those in a hurry.
From 1998, Rikinjay Bhuyan has been running a small shop near Nursery on RG Baruah Road where he sells various vegetarian and non-vegetarian pakoras. Loyal customers share that he is a well-known name in the locality. ‘His pakoras taste like the homemade pakoras my mother used to make,’ said Tonmoy Saikia, a regular. Out of all his vegetarian specials, the potato and capsicum pakoras are big favourites. Non-vegetarians prefer the chicken and pork pakoras, and chicken and pork dry fry. His mutton chop with homemade chutney and chat masala is a definite must-have. He also serves mixed chana which is slowly disappearing from the city but is still a big hit in rural Assam. Interestingly enough, he still runs his little shop without any electricity; he uses a peepa saaki (earthen lamp) instead.
Jayanagar Chariali is a busy area as the day wraps up, it is a popular destination for those taking a stroll because of the well maintained and brightly lit roads. And so it is but obvious that street food stalls also do well in the area. Anupam Dutta is cashing in on the demand with his food kart ‘Raj Aahar’. He says that his best items are smoked chicken sticks and chicken momos which are the biggest crowd pleasers. Other than that, they also offer chicken lollipop, chilly prawn, chilly paneer, rolls, fried rice, chowmein and Drums of Heaven. Anupam says, ‘The support that I have got from the public is immense and if it works well in the coming days, I might also open up branches’.
Words: Jadeed Hussain