Four spot for Indian snacks in Chicago
Chaat worth chatting over.
Kamdar Plaza Unfamiliar with the world of chaat (India’s genre of salty, sweet, sour and savory street snacks)? No worries—one stop at this place and you’ll walk out an expert (or at least a fan). For a good entry point, consider the bhel puri. This heaping pile of puffed rice, chickpeas, onions and cilantro, drowned in a rainbow of chutneys, is dubbed “Indian nachos” by many, but it puts the Mexican version to shame. 2646 W Devon Ave (773-338-8100). Bus: 49B, 93, 155. Average snack: $3.
[node:136785 link=Sukhadia Sweets & Snacks;] Indian sweets are an acquired taste, and this is a great shop to acquire it. Make a meal out of the chaat—fried snacks like pani puri (hollow puffs for scooping up masala-spiced chickpeas) and spicy chutney-drizzled bhel puri. Save room for Technicolor desserts such as doughnutlike balls of gulab jamun with ras malai (cream-soaked paneer), mango-flavored barfi and baklava-like treats layered with pistachios. 2559 W Devon Ave (773-338-5400). Bus: 49B, 93, 155. Average snack: $4.
Carnivores seem to think that without meat on their plate they’d starve. But this 100 percent vegetarian South Indian spot puts an end to that theory with its famous dosai—a gigantic cumin-, potato-, and onion-filled rice and lentil crêpe that comes in a dozen varieties. Other good bets include vegetable pullav (a cardamom, clove and cinnamon-laced rice dish) and the “Madras-style” okra curry that regulars swear by. 2543 W Devon Ave (773-338-2152). Bus: 49B, 155. Average main course: $11.
Not sure what to order at this Devon stalwart? Try the potatoes with mustard seed and cumin, perfect for the crispy, two-foot long paper dosa; order it “masala” and get a smear of tangy chutney. Then try the Swati samosa chaat, a smashed potato pocket drenched in silky yogurt, tamarind chutney and subtly spicy “salsa.” Not sold on those dishes? Order anything and you’re bound to get fresh, flavorful, meat-free eats for a good price. 2629 W Devon Ave (773-262-5280). Bus: 49B, 155. Average main course: $6.