Bhel Puri – An Indian Snack That’s Sure to Excite Your Tongue!

By Mark Wiens 9 Comments
Snack vendor in Kolkata, India
Snack vendor in Kolkata, India

One of the many Kolkata street food snacks that’s popular in bustling areas of the city is bhel puri. This snack is also famous in other parts of India, particularly Mumbai, but I got my first sample while visiting Kolkata (Calcutta).

It’s sort of like eating a bag of potato chips, except bhel puri is fresh and drenched in tasty tangy sauce.

The ingredients of bhel puri
The ingredients of bhel puri

The mix includes crispy little curly fritters that look almost like crushed up pieces of raw ramen noodles, boiled and peeled potatoes, puffed rice, brown crumbly things, crushed up parts of deep fried chip like discs, diced red onions, chillies, and coriander.

All the ingredients for bhel puri are tossed into a cone shaped piece of scrap paper (a common Kolkata street food means of serving presentation).

The vendor then proceeds to add a few spoons of chili sauce and tamarind sauce over the crunchy items. He then mixes the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients by giving the cone a little toss with a swift stir of the spoon in repeated motions until the sauce evenly coats the entire snack.

The man who created my first paper cone of bhel puri!
The man who created my first paper cone of bhel puri!

It’s best to stand and eat Indian bhel puri as soon as it’s prepared; Wait too long and the crunchies become soggy from the liquid chili sauce.

Back when I was going to university in Arizona, I would occasionally drive down to Mexico with some of my Mexican friends and I was always impressed with not only the irresistible tacos and burritos, but also the “Mexican Doritos” – yes the packaged chips. Heavily spiced in the package, they also came with a little sachet of salsa hot sauce intended to be poured over the chips before consumption.

Bhel puri really reminded me of a bag of Mexican Doritos, yet even more glorious with the addition of fresh ingredients like boiled potatoes, onions, chillies and chopped coriander (cilantro).

Bhel Puri
Bhel Puri

One of my favorite things to do in Kolkata is wander around the New Market, and that’s exactly the area where you’ll find a host of vendors serving bhel puri that you can order up and stand while eating.

Forget about a packaged bag of potato chips, for just 20 INR (about $0.40) you can enjoy a tasty paper cone of Indian bhel puri!

Bhel Puri Video:

Don’t forget to watch the video above so you can see how it’s made (and eaten)!

9 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Noor

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    I have been following your blog and work for many years.
    My family runs a restaurant in Mumbai which you can check here:
    https://www.zomato.com/mumbai/al-rehmani-restaurant-byculla

    I would love to take you there and get you the taste of Beef (nowadays Buff meat) Seekh Kebab and some other goodies there 😉 Also, would love to give you a little tour of some other nice places to eat around the town. and all this will be a treat from me. so yeah, do let me know and drop email if you ever come to Mumbai and have a day or two in hand.

  • Jack

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark – love your site/ blog…

    When you get a chance, swing over to Mexico – even the touristy areas are good for some awesome street grub! My favourite – Taco Al Pastor!! Heavenly spicy pork tacos, accompanied with a habernero (or other) fresh salsa, I mean really fresh (the non-chemical variety that does not come out of a jar).

    Hasta la vista

  • flipnomad

    7 years ago

    i always see this on the streets of India but have not tried it yet… maybe when i get back, i’ll try some…

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey, yah you should definitely give it a try!

  • Arti

    7 years ago

    Bhel is one of my favorites!! Mouth watering captures!! This looks different to one we get in Mumbai. Also Rs 20 seems costly considering I get here in Rs 10!!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Arti, I would love to try the Mumbai version – the original right? I’m not sure why it was 20, while just about all other snacks in Kolkata were also 10, maybe because this was the large size, it was pretty big. But I’m quite sure I didn’t get ripped off as the prices were written on his street cart and I also saw other Indians paying 20 too. It sure was tasty!

      • Aayusha

        5 years ago

        Hey Mark!

        Just discovered your blog!

        Well, you haven’t really lived till you taste the eclectic dynamism of Mumbai street food!
        From savoury dosas to mouthwatering chaats, from colourful golas to filling pav bhajis, from humble vada-pavs to healthy juices and wholesome kebabs: the best of India melts into a tantalising flavour of spice and variety!
        Trust me, it’s a gastronomic treat! 🙂

        xx

        PS: Did you know “bhel puri” originated in Mumbai?

        • Mark Wiens

          5 years ago

          Hey Aayusha, thank you so much for reading. I can’t wait to visit Mumbai in the future, the food looks amazing, I will come for sure!

          • Aayusha

            5 years ago

            Woo to the hoo!! You won’t be disappointed.. 🙂