Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
 
Backwards Right Coast

I am totally amused by the overwrought tones of the piece in today's New York Times about how Chaat (Indian fast food) has finally gotten to New York:
Chaats are jumbles of flavor and texture: sweet, sour, salty, spicy, crunchy, soft, nutty, fried and flaky tidbits, doused with cool yogurt, fresh cilantro and tangy tamarind and sprinkled with chaat masala, a spice mixture that is itself wildly eventful. The contrasts are, as one fan said, "a steeplechase for your mouth," with different sensations galloping by faster than you can track them. All Indians in America are homesick for the same thing, said Mitra Choudhuri, a software engineer from Gujarat, who lives in Fort Collins, Colo. "There is no chaat here, only curries," he said. But in the New York region that has finally changed. [Emphasis mine.]
It's a nice description of Chaat. However, I'm thinking the author ( Julia Moskin) needs to look beyond the continental divide for her sampling of America, and some of these desis she quotes need to think about moving left. Because out here in Cali we've had plenty of awesome Chaat for at least the ten years that I've been going out. The king, of course, is Berkeley's legendary and once underground Vik's Chaat Corner (which has a fascinating business backstory), but Chaat is so common we even have a new chain popping up all over, called Chaat Cafe. I realize it is the New York Times, but they keep talking about "America". Link from Cyrus Farivar, who is blogging his adventures in Estonia right now.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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