In India, the fried-dough dishes known as chaat are popular street food. In Houston, you can get your fix at the chaat houses of the Mahatma Gandhi District, which offer everything from samosa chaat to bhel puri in air-conditioned comfort. What makes these deceptively complex combinations so irresistible, besides a price tag that’s often comfortably less than $5?
At this Little India mainstay, the crisp, fried puri (wheat flour) shells are filled with spicy cilantro-mint chutney, sev (fried chickpea flour noodles), chile powder, stewed potatoes and chickpeas, lightly sweetened yogurt, finely chopped onions, sweet-and-sour tamarind chutney—a feast for $5.99.
At this Bollywood-themed snack specialist, order the pani puri ($6)—tiny, crisp shells filled with potato and yogurt—plus a chikoo (sapodilla) shake ($3) to cool off.
Don’t get distracted by the gulab jamun and creamy slabs of burfi ($7.50 per pound) in the sweets case; just order the quick-fix pani puri ($4.50) for a balanced blend of spice and sweetness.
At this South Indian–focused chaat house, bright colors and bold flavors are the order of the day in dishes such as green-chutney-topped samosa chaat ($3.99) and dahi puri with tomatoes ($3.49).
It’s the best of both worlds at this hot spot, where you’ll find South Indian snacks such as dosas and uttapams ($3.99–7.99) alongside northern dishes like crunchy papri chaat ($3.49)—all of which are best consumed while watching Bollywood videos on the restaurant’s TV.
*Deal for a Buck or So: Tacos Aracelys
99 cents per taco