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Indian street snack makes a big splash on Ho Chi Minh City’s food street

Saturday, July 22, 2023, 09:52 GMT+7
Indian street snack makes a big splash on Ho Chi Minh City’s food street
A portion of panipuri is sold for VND35,000 ($1.48) on Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Foodies from across Ho Chi Minh City are flocking to sample Indian panipuri on Ho Thi Ky Food Street in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City.

Panipuri is a deep-fried breaded crust filled with potato, onion, or chickpea.

Located at 77/21C Ho Thi Ky Street, 29-year-old Tran Quoc Hung’s panipuri cart opens from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm every day.

Hung first fell in love with panipuri after sampling the snack at an Indian restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

It took three months, but he eventually created a recipe he felt would be suitable for Vietnamese tastes and opened a stall in March of this year.

“In India, panipuri is dipped into a thin sauce before it is served. I serve my panipuri with a thick sauce,” he explained, adding that all of his spices are imported from India.

All the spices used to make panipuri at Hung's stall are said to be imported from India. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
All the spices used to make panipuri at Hung's stall are said to be imported from India. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Staff makes panipuri at a stall on Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Staff makes panipuri at a stall on Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

The crust of Hung’s panipuri is made from wheat flour while the filling is a mix of mashed potato, tomato, shallot, and Indian spices. 

He offers a tamarind sauce which tastes sweet, sour and a bit spicy.

The filling is a mix of mashed potato, tomato, shallot, and Indian spices. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
The filling is a mix of mashed potato, tomato, shallot, and Indian spices. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Tamanrid sauce is poured over panipuri for serving diners to Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Tamanrid sauce is poured over panipuri for serving diners to Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Each portion includes five pieces of panipuri and sells for VND35,000 (US$1.48).

Hung recommends that diners enjoy their panipuri immediately, before the crust loses its crispiness.

“I wanted to introduce a new culinary experience to Vietnamese diners and tourists,” Hung said.

“I’m working on making seven more types of sauce, including an authentic Indian sauce, so that I can offer a wider range of choices to my customers.”

Vistors to Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City try panipuri at Hung's stall. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News
Vistors try panipuri on Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Nga, a diner from Thu Duc City, recently visited Hung’s stall and had nothing but positive feedback.

“It’s delicious,” she said.

“The panipuri is crispy on the outside and strongly flavored inside. It’s strange but appealing. It’s also fairly priced.

Meanwhile, Ngoc Hao from District 5 visited the stall after reading about it on social media.  

“I love the crispness of the snack and the taste of the fillings,” Hao said.

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Ngoc Phuong - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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