Gina writes:

India has an excellent street-food culture. In any city in India, you can buy snacks, meals, drinks, or desserts from street vendors. It's a tasty, authentic, and cheap way to experience Indian food! So last week, we decided to have Street Food Friday. The Koraput foreigners would show each other our favorite places for great street grub.

Our first stop was to Kevin and Rhea's favorite chicken roll place. To my, Corey's, and Nancy's surprise, the spiced chicken mixture was wrapped in an egg!

I thought it was delicious (and filling!), but I think I prefer the other chicken rolls I've had that are wrapped in flatbread.

Next was bread pakora. This is one of Nancy's favorites, though I'm not sure why! Maybe because she doesn't like a lot of spice. Breaded pakora is a piece of white bread that is breaded with a batter made from chickpea flour and then fried. The breaded bread idea...well, I'll just say it was good to include a taste on Street Food Friday, but it won't become a part of my regular menu!

After our "breaded bread" was the stop I was most looking forward to - Koraput lassis! A lassi is a yogurt-based drink with bananas, cococunt, and cashews.

First it looks so pretty like in the picture. Then they pour it from one glass to another a few times and it's perfectly blended!

It's delicious and I was waiting eagerly for the stands to pop up, since they're only around during summer. And last week there they were, side by side on Post Office Road, two identical street booths selling identical lassis!

Sorry for the bad picture, it's the best I could manage in the dark with the crowds. But you can see the side-by-side competition.

Then was on to the pani puri cart. Pani puri isn't just about the food, it's about the experience of eating it from a cart. You stand in a circle around the chaat-walla. He takes a small hollow ball, punches a hole in it with his thumb, fills the ball with a filling (of onions, potatoes, chilis, tomato, and spices), dips it in a watery limey mixture, and places it on your plate. You eat the pani puri in one bite, even though it can be a little big and everyone looks like a slob eating them. The chaat-walla, lightning-quick, places puri after puri on any empty plate he sees, until you're finished.

After the pani puri, we were in the mood for "cold drinks" which is India's way of saying soda or pop or whatever. Someone noticed chocolate shakes on the sign at the drinks shop, so three of us had that instead. A delicious surprise!

Notice the spelling!

The last item is something that we actually didn't have a chance to get on Street Food Friday, but it one of my favorite things to get. Jalebi is basically fried sugar! Sugar mixed with a little flour and made into a paste, then drizzled into fry oil to make a pretty flower-shape of hot sweet goodness.

Our meal of street food cost us a little more than a dollar each and we were all full! If you're feeling brave and want to experience a true part of Indian culture, ignore the dirty carts and shops, stick to fried food and popular stalls with high turnover, and dig in!