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The Pied Pipers of Desi Quick Snack Foods Out of a Truck

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It took 30 minutes to get to the front of the line of people waiting to place their orders. Photos: Jawahar Malhotra

By Jawahar Malhotra
HOUSTON: It’s a phenomenon that has been five years in the making but you have to experience it first hand to believe it. And who would have thought years ago that desi snack food tricks would make their presence felt in the humid, hot spot that is Houston?
And felt they did as the rush of people lined up would tell, in the parking lot one Saturday evening, just as the sun had set. The line never let up till the trucks hours were done by 9:30pm, by the dim illumination of the parking lot light and the bulb inside the truck.

Jay Kapadia served the crowd with a smile and knew many of the regulars.

Jay Kapadia served the crowd with a smile and knew many of the regulars.

They were eager for the Mumbai style brand of snacks – Dahi Bhalla Chat, Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Dabeli, Pani Puri, Kulfi and the rest at the Bansuri Indian Food Corner located, according to their website, “behind the Conoco station at Highway 6 and Bissonnet”. Owner Jay Kapadia and his wife work five days a week to satisfy the throng of desis on the westside who have found them out after they relocated from the Savoy Shopping Center parking lot.

A regular customer, Jyoti Evans dropped in for a snack after work.

A regular customer, Jyoti Evans dropped in for a snack after work.

Further up Highway 6 at Bellaire is the Tandoori Nite Punjabi food dhabba, open six days a week and offering a charpai or cot to sit on and enjoy eating under the stars. It has been around for 3 years and the crowds of desis and mainstream Americans is just as thick at times.
And in the Savoy Shopping Center parking lot, Yashoda Chat Express Food has set up their truck to handle the lovers of snack foods, for the crowds in that part of town. So, if you missed eating off the side of the road on your last trip to India, then you can dive in here … and you won’t have to worry if it’s okay to eat, ‘cause, as you will see, they are hugely popular with the local crowds!

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