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I grew up in a town in New Jersey that served as one of the most well-known points of immigration for South Asians, particularly Indians. And while most non-Indians shunned Indian cooking ("ooh, it smells weird!"), snacks called chaat slowly wormed their way into non-Desi hearts. Samosa and pakora first, but then crispy filled pockets called puri.
At Adya, the chaat are a little higher-end; the chickpeas are spooned into the lentil puffs for you, and arranged neatly around a cruet of sweet-sour tamarind water.
You pour the liquid into the puff and then eat it quickly, before it soaks through the bottom and causes a hull breach all over your shirt.
Its location means that rents are high and so are prices, but sometimes all that will do is a plate of well-spiced chaat. Just because it's simple doesn't mean it's easy--but it is delicious.
Adya, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd. #201, Anaheim; 714-533-2392; adyaoc.com.
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