Travel | Chaat by the (Kovalam) Beach

Meet the man selling Channa Chat by the beach.


One of my favourite snack foods in India is Channa Chat, made with that amazing spice powder, Chat Masala, which gives the food an amazing tang.

Imagine my surprise when on a beach in Kovalam, Kerala in India, I found a man, on a bike, making Channa Chat on a board strapped onto the back of his bike.

Try other recipes with Chaat Masala: Chickpea (Channa) Chaat, Kachumber Salad and Channa Chaat on Kovalam Beach. Also Watermelon Salad, Borlotti Bean Chaat, Spicy Vegetable Sticks and Chickpeas and Young Ginger Salad.

Kovalam Beach

Channa Chaat: It is an amazing tease of contrasts. Sour yet sweet. The bite of onion with the smoothness of chickpeas and potato. The mineralisation of rock salt with the tartness of mango powder and lime juice. It is an amazing dish.

Just a word of warning – this is real Indian. Not the restaurant Indian that is served up and called Indian food. At least here in Australia. Really quite different flavours. Not an easy eating dish. Not a comfort dish that eases your mouth and your body into a state of relaxation. This is a β€œWoh-hoh” in your mouth. An assault of wonderful flavours that wakes up all your senses. Be brave, but be warned…

Oh, my mouth is watering already.

If you are from India, or have been to India, you will know what I mean. It is usual to have wonderful food available exactly where you need it, be it piping hot cups of chai from an urn on the back of a bike, or icecream, or an alcoholic toddy made from coconut sap, or other wonderful snacks.

BUT ….. although I am quite adventurous in India when it comes to street food, there is still one thing I am very nervous about. Uncooked vegetables. The reason is that they are probably washed in non-bottled water, and non-bottled water is the biggest no-no for foreigners in India.

SO ….. there I was, with a man who had my most favourite Indian food on the back of his bike, looking for all the world exactly like I make it (amazing!), smelling absolutely delicious, with hot channa and cool veggies that looked so fresh they were probably (no kidding) picked that afternoon, and I could NOT eat it.

Bike Channa Chat

Looks so good.

Beach Channa Chat

All I could do is take photos.

Mixing Channa Chat

Oh the agony of it. Oh how I want beetroot in my channa chat too.

chopping Channa Chat

Mr Channa Chat man, I am still really sorry I did not give into temptation.

But on the way back to the hotel I found a man selling toddy ….

Toddy Man

BTW, Channa Chat is made from Chickpeas.


Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

28 thoughts on “Travel | Chaat by the (Kovalam) Beach”

  1. j, you crack me up. apologising to the chana chat man.

    I am so in awe of him, a super cook on the back of his bike! Look at him chopping those vegetables. I SHOULD have tasted it.


  2. I guess he might be happy that you took snaps atleast, he must not have minded.

    I love taking photos in India, people are so gracious about having their photo taken. It makes it very easy. And what a wonderful subject he was, with the wonderful channa.


  3. The Pics are really great!! I could never resist this temptation!!

    Oh it was so hard, and looking at the pics again, I can’t believe that I didn’t succumb. BUT NEXT TIME, MR CHANNA CHAT MAN, I AM EATING YOUR WHOLE BOWL FULL!!!!!!!


  4. You had such a rich experience in India and it is great to see it through your beautiful pics! I have to admire your will power, I would’ve cracked right there and then(and pay the price after!!). You should’ve eaten more mudcakes when you were little, that would’ve strenghtened that stomach, LOL! Beautiful photos like always.

    Hmmm, is it too late to start with the mudcakes?


  5. luscious photos & insight about India….I love Indian foods esp. southern Indian – thanks for sharing this…look forward to returning and reading/seeing more of your work.

    Hi tastememory girl, love that you could visit. Yes, Sth Indian food is to die for. BTW I really like your blog – glad that you visited so that I could find it.


  6. wonderfulls pictures I’ll be back!!

    Have a nice from Canada!!!

    Hi missbebop, thanks a lot. Glad you like it. Still cold in Canada? BTW, your blog is enough to make me want to polish up my French. The chocolate recipe looks so fantastic, but my small amount of French is not good enough to work out all of the instructions.


  7. never saw grated beetroot in chana chaat. Must try it. Forget foreigners, I lived in India for 18 years of my life and now when i go back and get myself sucked into the street food, I get sick so bad that my mother-in-law banned me from beach food :).
    Sometimes somethings feel worth to get sick for I think πŸ™‚

    Sometimes it just is, isn’t it.


  8. Hahaha, Sometimes it good to control our temptations right! last time when I went to India my son was baby and I was feeding him, so I just had home food. But this time I had all these stuff in India on my vacation. MY fav street food. Din’t really get time to take pics as my son was running around on the beach but had lots of chat and bhel:)

    Yay! I love the way India has food on demand. Just look around and there is somebody with exactly what you want, usually on the back of a bike, or on a trolley. A slice of watermelon? No problem. Icecream? Right here. Chai? yes, yes, coming right up. SO glad that you were able to eat the chat. It must have tasted SOOOOOOOO good.


  9. I haven’t tried Channa Chat before but just a look at those veggies and I would have given into temptation.

    Hi Lore, hope you get to try channa chat one day – it is an amazing dish. I don’t think I can be as strong next time I am in India.


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  11. That seems terribly torturous. We’re really big on trying out street food and I cannot imagine how I will be able to withhold myself from trying such a delight. I guess I will have to be extra sensible when we make our way over to India one day.

    I am so really sorry that I did not try it. But everyone that I speak to who did give into temptation got sick at some point. Even Indian people who have lived away for a while. I did do some things – chai, for example. Hope you get to India soon.

    Oh, and I did get sick but not until I was home.


  12. And above all the street food in India are much tastier than those available in the star hotels. I think its got to do with spice. Veg or non-veg, the local hotels and street food are much tastier than the star hotels hands down. But cleanliness wise you need to take you personal interests into account and act accordingly. Not all of these stalls are unclean nor all westerns will fall sick of consuming them. It depends on personal body conditions.


  13. I was like you on my first couple of trips to India, very wary about what I ate and drank. Then finally I got sick of it all and started eating and drinking everything, even the water. Never had a day’s stomach problem and it makes life much easier – and delicious. I recommend giving it a try!

    Great photos, by the way!


  14. Hey hey. I want to tell you that I did not hold back and I am glad I didn’t. Your pictures of the Chana man brought back terrific memories. He is the same man I encountered at the beach on Kovalam. I couldn’t get enough of his beach snack and must have eaten three helpings for each day I was at the beach. ..along with the salted lime juice. Oh yes….yummy indeed. When I got back to my hotel room I jotted down the ingredients and recreates the salad back home in Canada. Now I live in Germany and a bunch of spicy-food lovers are gathering in a few days. I am taking the Kovalam Beach Salad and a fish curry with puttu…I ordered a puttu Kadi from Amazon and it was worth waiting tjme six weeks. Love it love it live it. I would go back to India for fois and mountains…hmmm….memories of yak cheese on bagels in Manali…

    Liked by 1 person

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