VIK's Chaat Corner extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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VIK’s Chaat Corner  2390 4th St./Channing Way.  Operating within a beautiful new quarters with a spacious parking lot, this wildly popular Indian chaat house is self-described as reminiscent of a New Delhi bazaar.  Eager diners line up to order at the counter and then volley for space at the charmless tables, and food is served unceremoniously on disposable plates with plastic utensils.  Favorites among the deliciously spiced chaat, which translates as “small snacks,” include:  dahi pakori (cold lentil dumplings with tamarind chutney), sev puri (cold potatoes and onions with garlic chutney), samosa cholle (deep-fried potato-stuffed pastries served with spicy garbanzo curry), and the dramatic bhatura cholle (this huge puffy puri, also called “balloon bread,” is served with spicy garbanzos and onion chutney and is nicknamed "the big puffy thing").  A dosa, a pancake-like cauliflower uttappam, and both a meat and a vegetarian curry plate complete with rice and bread are also available; on weekends more delights join the options.  Drinks include a delicious creamy mango lassi and a thick guava nectar; for dessert, select an Indian sweet from a glass case.  Off the entrance, a related market sells exotic Indian cooking staples.

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uttappam

sev puri

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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers