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That Immortal Gol Gappa

For all those who travel to Asia, eating on the streets is a must. You cannot leave Asia without eating on the streets, simply because the great flavours. The unique thing about street food, is that unlike McDonald's or some other fast food chain, or even a gourmet restaurant, the flavours are earthy and hit you. There is no fixed recipe, so the flavours vary day by day.

One of the things that I love to eat is the 'gol gappa'. 'gol' because it is round, and I have no idea about the 'gappa'.

In West India, it is called 'pani puri'. "Pani' for the water it contains when you eat it, and 'puri', because it resembles a 'puri'. In East India, it is called a 'puchka', because of the 'puchch' sound when you eat into it.

It is made from flour or semolina. I prefer the version that is made from flour. It is deep fried, with a hollow, thin shell. The stall owner fills it with finely cut potato and semolina balls, some spices, and spicy water. He then passes it to you, and while you are popping it into your mouth, the next is coming your way. A little bit of the water dribbles onto your chin as you eat, and you have to hold it delicately between your thumb and forefinger as you pop it into your mouth. It goes in whole, and the flavours then splash about in your mouth. Hold the gol gappa too tight and it breaks. When it breaks, the water can splash onto your shirt or shoes. So, beware!

Those who have delicate stomachs – beware!! It can come with the Delhi Belly for those of a delicate constitution.

Now, gol gappas are available in restaurants, in a more sanitised version. You can carry the shells home, and eat them at home. Yet, that kills the romance.

Street food, without the diesel, the dust and the sweat from the stall owner's brawny arms is just not the same.

It is like a Dettolised, scrubbed down version of street photography, where everything is pretty and clean.

So, go for it and carry your medication with you!


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Profile photo of Rajiv Chopra

I have been in the corporate world all my life, and have decided to take a sabbatical from this world. I am now a budding entrepreneur in my old age. This is wonderful because, apart from giving me the freedom to paint my own canvas, and to choose the canvas, it also gives me the time to do some of the things that I really like to do. These are, to travel, to photograph and to write. I still use a Nikon D 200. I started with B&W film, and this is something that I still love. The things that I am really grateful to the corporate world are, that I got the chance to travel the world, and meet lots of very interesting people. I have, over the years, become very interested in history, physics, culture,conservation, the environment and street food! I love landscapes, street photography, people, macro photography, geometrical shapes



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