The Nagarthpet Panipuri stall in the old city, around since the mid 1940s, drags you back to another era
Finding a tangy plate of chaat anywhere in Bangalore is a rather easy task today; 60 years ago, it was a different matter entirely. But Nagarthpet in the old city took to the snack so wholeheartedly that it lent its name to the Nagarthpet Panipuri stall, set up in the mid-’40s.
The late Om Prakash Sharma, who came from Uttar Pradesh, was probably one of the first to bring chaat to the city. He started by selling panipuri from a basket on his cycle, recollects B. Nathmal Jain, who has been a resident of the area for 48 years. “I used to come here as a boy and eat an entire plate of panipuri for just 40 paise; after I became a regular, I used to get a couple of extra pieces,” he adds with an embarrassed smile. A single-shutter place, this joint sells all the popular chaats from masala puris to samosas and cutlets, serving them on the white ceramic plates that were a trademark of eateries back in the day.
The spicier, the better
Their chaats are on the spicy side, so make sure you tell Laxman, the chaat assembler, to hold the spice (he says his 10 years of experience has taught him that in Bangalore, the spicier the chaat, the better).
The success of this place doesn’t just have to do with its food — its homely feel and old charm keeps patrons coming back. It’s the little touches that make the place stand out: a large bowl of sweetened tamarind sauce is kept on the counter so customers can help themselves, and one person in the shop is assigned to fill water into tumblers from a clay pot and hand them out to thirsty customers when they’re done eating, while another pours out water from a drum, with which customers can wash their hands.
“I learnt all this from my father,” says Pradeep Sharma, who took over about 30 years ago. “For us, these practices are part of an old tradition.”
With ample space outside the shop to stand and chat over a plate of chaat while dodging passing vehicles, this is a place that drags you back to another era.