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Beginners Guide to Bombay Chaat: Best Places to Eat & the Secret Recipe

Evening snacks taste best when you grab it from a street food vendor. Get a spoon and munch your way through Mumbai’s most popular street food - the Bombay Chaat. You will find dozens of small carts selling this tasty dish throughout the city; many with appealing names. Fast-paced Mumbai is not only about seafood lunches. Those seeking a break from the speed of the city should head to streets, where cheerful vendors serve up a delicious dose of Bombay Chaat.

What’s Bombay Chaat?

"Chaat" in Hindi literally translates to "lick." The concept of Chaat rests on the idea that the food being served is so tasty that the person eating it could end up licking fingers. For Bombay Chaat, this is certainly true.

In India, there are more than a hundred varieties of chaats available in different parts of the country. The spices, ingredients, and recipes vary from region to region. Bombay Chaat is full of flavors. Starting with puffed rice called bhel as its base, and spicy pieces of puris, this snack is topped with tamarind chutneys and coriander leaves often finished with lime juice drops and a handful of sev and peanuts.

Many different varieties of Chaats can be found in Mumbai. The one served with pani puri is very popular as these puris are also a key ingredient in the signature Bombay Chaat. Known as either pani puri or golgappa, puris are made of deep-fried bread. They are made in the same way Indian rotis are made, however, these puris are smaller and hollow. You will find crushed puris in the Bombay Chaat and if you want to taste the authentic panipuri, these puris are filled with a wide range of flavoured water mixtures along with mashed potatoes, chilies, onions, and masala.

A quick Bombay Chaat Recipe

1. Roast the gram, add some chilies and salt and blend the mixture. Grind the mixture to a fine powder and keep it aside. You can keep this mixture in a jar that is airtight. Also, you can keep this powder in a refrigerator for a month or two.

2. Take a boiled potato, smash it and add some chili powder and cumin powder. You can also use chat masala that contains these ingredients in the form of a mixture. Mix everything and keep the mixture aside.

3. Chop green chilies, tomato, coriander leaves and mix them with puffed rice, chopped onions, roasted peanuts, and crushed puris.

4. Add tamarind chutney, the dry chutney (from the step 1), sev, and sprinkle some salt as per your taste.

5. Serve in a bowl and your Bombay Chaat is ready to eat

Varieties of Chaat

Like hot dog vendors of New York, chaat sellers in Mumbai can be found almost everywhere including parks, train stations, shopping streets, and bus stops. Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai is known for the variety and quality of its chaats. Some vendors only sell the popular Bombay chaat that is light and crunchy, while others bring different varieties of chaats like Samosa chaat: hot samosas cut in half and covered with onion, tamarind chutney, yogurt, spicy chickpeas, sev, and coriander leaves.

Some other varieties of chaats such as the very famous Aloo Chaat are practically lunch.  Aloo (potato) chaat is made with boiled potatoes and curry spices. Potato cutlets known as ‘aloo tikki’ are crushed and mixed with boiled chickpeas, salt, chili powder, sev and crushed puris. The mixture is then covered with sweet and spicy chutney and served hot. 

Chaats are prepared to your specifications. If you’re eating outside, they are usually handed over in paper plates or on a banana leaf. Other than the Chowpatty Beach, there are several other places to enjoy Bombay chaat and different varieties of this delicious Indian dish.

Best Places to Eat Bombay Chaat

Gupta Chaat Centre

As one of the most famous chaat restaurants in Mumbai, Gupta Chaat Centre is famous for one particular dish - its Toast Sev Puri. This restaurant near Matunga Station, Matunga East, is a popular place that is even covered by the media on a regular basis.

The signature dish called the Toast Sev Puri is a buttered toast that is filled with six loaded Sev puris, completed with boiled potatoes, onions, chutney and Sev. Here you can find chaats that are healthy, crunchy, delicious and affordable. For two people, the average cost is ₹250. You can also try their Pani Puri, Dhai Puri, and Bhel Puri. Your chaat plate will be loaded with coriander, lots of sev and fried daal.

The timings for this place is 1:00 PM to 9:30 PM.

Elco Pani Puri Centre

If you are in Bandra or shopping at Hill Road, you cannot miss this place. The Hill Road is famous for two things - fancy clothes and the mouth-watering Pani Puris. Not just their delectable Pani Puris but also the Dahi Puris and Chole Tikki are famous and popular among the people of Bandra. Elco is a perfect place to enjoy the famous Mumbai Chaat and is also often visited by celebrities. Their crunchy and delicious Sev Puris with lumps of potatoes and spicy chutney make it such a flavourful dish.
The Elco has plenty of indoor space to sit and relax, but the best way to enjoy the chaat is to find an outdoor spot where you can pop the Puris in your mouth and delight in the chaat. The average cost for two people at Elco is ₹700-800 and the shop is open from 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM.

Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty

These two spots are the sandy beaches located in South Bombay. Chowpatty in Mumbai is famous for its Bhelpuri and other food items like Aloo Chaat, Papdi Chaat, and Dahi Sev Puri.

No matter what day of the week, these two places are filled with people strolling from stall to stall for chaats and sandwiches. The location is most preferred by the visitors and adds to the taste of the Bombay Chaat. The beautiful sunset and the calm breeze of the ocean away from the hustle and bustle of the city makes it quite popular among the locals as well as tourists.

Here you must try the Chaat Masala followed by some Kala Khatta Gola.

Guru Kripa

This is a little place right outside the Sion station where people usually come for a heavy breakfast and lunch. However, the Chaat here serves as a different twist as this place is influenced by Sindhi cuisine. The Samosa Chaat or the Chole Samosa with spicy chutney tops the list.

This place offers other dishes such as Dal Pakwan, Chaap or Pani Puri, Lassi, Chole Bhature, Gulab Jamun, and Pav Bhaji. The place buzzes with college students in the evening as it is near the SIES College. The average cost for two people here is ₹350 and the timings are from 8:00 AM to 10:30 PM.

Kailash Parbat

A little bit pricier than the other restaurants, Kailash Parbat is one of the places that serve delicious varieties of Mumbai Chaat like Sev Puri, Corn Chaat, Bombay Basket, and Paani Puri. This joint is called by several names such as ‘chaat heaven’ or ‘veggie heaven’.

Located in Andheri Lokhandwala Complex, this place is a must-try for Ragda Pattice. The Aloo Tuk and Chole Bhature are also some of the other things to try out here. This restaurant serves vegetarian Sindhi specialities but the highlight of this place is the Chaat platter that is the combination of all the popular chaat dishes that leave you craving for more.

The average cost for two people is ₹1000 and the timing of the restaurant is from 11:00 AM to 11:30 PM.

Ram & Shyam

This is one of the best places for authentic Bombay Chaat in Santacruz. Running for almost 58 years, the food in this Chaat store is wonderful and worth every penny. If you’re in the mood for some binge eating, you can start with the crunchy Bhel chased by some Ragada Pattice and to cool down your taste buds you can end it with some Dahi Puri.

The Diet Bhel is a must-try of this place for those of you who are constantly worried about the extra calories getting into their bodies. Here you can eat to your heart’s content without feeling any guilt.

Ram & Shyam Chaat store is located in North Avenue, Santacruz West and the average cost for two people is ₹500. The timings are from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

Jai Bajrang Chaat Centre

Opened 20 years ago, this restaurant is one of the most popular chaat centers in Malad West. The delicious food and pocket-friendly prices in the restaurant make it a hit among college students. The Paani Puri is made with chickpeas or boiled potatoes with a side of onions. Their masala cheese toast served hot with green chutney is a dish for everyone to try.

Kachori Bhel, Kachori Sev Puri and Cheese Sev Puri are also some of the other dishes of Jai Bajrang Chaat Centre.

The average cost for two people is ₹150 in this chaat centre. The timings for this place are from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

Further Reading:

10 Best Restaurants in Mumbai You Should Never Miss

Romantic Dining and Drinks around Bandra Bandstand, Mumbai

Top 10 Mumbai Street Food