South Indian street food at Veggie Deli | Rock Candy

Monday, February 21, 2011

South Indian street food at Veggie Deli

Posted By on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM

At Veggie Deli inside Asian Groceries, Little Rock

This little restaurant inside of Asian Groceries off Rodney Parham specializes in South Indian street food (chat), exclusively vegetarian. The prices are low — the most expensive menu item is $6 — so we ordered four items. Rather than being served all at once, they were served as they were made, which allowed us to give full attention to each unique dish.

First up was the ragdo samosa ($3.50), which is not your usual samosa. It’s served split open and topped with chutney, purple onions, yogurt and sev (a small, crunchy noodle). It’s delicious, mildly sweet, and follows with a smokiness in the throat. It’s seasoned with a multitude of spices, like garam masala, coriander, ginger and red chili powder. Served in a classic red and white paper food tray, it had real street food appeal.

At Veggie Deli inside Asian Groceries, Little Rock

Second dish up was the chat papadi ($3.50). The presentation may have you thinking nachos, but the flavors quickly erase that comparison. It’s both sweet and savory, crispy wafers garnished with potatoes, chickpeas, purple onions and cilantro, and topped off with cool yogurt. Don’t be afraid to ditch the fork and use your fingers.

At Veggie Deli inside Asian Groceries, Little Rock

The third item, the masala pappadum, didn’t appear on the menu, but was recommended and prepared for us by the cook. The crisp pappadum is sprinkled with salt, pepper, purple onions, tomato and jalapeno.

The fourth and final dish of our inaugural Veggi Deli visit was the dosa sambhar ($6), a long, crepe-like wrap with a hearty serving of stewed potato, eggplant, carrots, chilis and spices served with sides of chutney. We weren’t quite sure how to eat it, so we asked our friendly server. Break it off with your fingers (or a fork, if you’re fancy), dip, and eat, she advised, and so we did with gusto. She jokingly asked if we enjoyed our Indian “footlong.”

The Veggi Deli serves South Indian comfort food, and the vegetarianism is not an afterthought; it’s built in. Go with friends, order a variety of the affordable dishes and share them.

Located inside Asian Groceries, 9112 Rodney Parham Rd., Suite 102, 501-221-9977. No alcohol. $. LD Tue.-Sun.

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