Chaats are the best kind of savory snacks, usually sold at street-side stalls all over South Asia (see papri chaat, gol gappa, and more in our extensive Delhi food guide), always an incredible medley of textures and flavors, all based on some kind of fried dough. They are distinctly different in the various cities in which they’re popular, from Delhi to Hyderabad to our very own Kathmandu. Kathmandu’s chatpate (also spelled chaatpate) is a version of chaat, made with puffed rice, dried instant noodles, chickpeas, fresh coriander (cilantro), tomato, cucumber, onion, potato, peas, lemon juice, fresh chili, and spices. It’s a winning combination that’s hard not to love: The softness of the potato contrasts with the crunch of dried noodles; the hot chili is balanced (somewhat) by the chopped cucumber and tomato. Like many chaats, this one’s a party in your mouth.
Good to know: Chatpate isn’t always the most hygienically prepared snack. Because it’s almost always served on the street and many of the ingredients are raw (onion, coriander, chili, cucumber, tomato), you may want to give this one a pass if you have a sensitive stomach (or are pregnant or immuno-compromised).
Where: Our photo is from an unnamed cart on Tridevi Sadak, in Thamel (approximate map). Look out for small wheeled carts with cones of newspaper stacked up, and mounds of food underneath a fly-proof cloth.
When: Daily, late afternoon to evening
Order: This cone of chatpate cost Rs 25. It came with a wedge of cardboard to use as a makeshift spoon. It’s the perfect snack in between lunch and dinner, and is generally very spicy—even if you ask them to go easy on the chili—so be warned!
Alternatively: There are stands all over the city selling chatpate. Travelers staying in the busy Thamel neighborhood won’t have to go far to find one.