Chai n Dosa, 310 Ballarat Road, Braybrook. Phone: 0420 262 274
That term has been soiled and sullied into meaningless submission, perhaps by too many “lifestyle influencers” and perhaps also too many careless and glib mentions in various media outlets.
Of course, at the point this kind of coverage in those kinds of places of that kind food springs forth, there’s almost certainly little that is “street” about the “food”.
Here in the mighty western suburbs of Melbourne, we all have regular access to real-deal street food.
At Chai n Dosa that availability runs to seven days a week.
OK, OK – if you want to get all technical on me, Chai n Dosa is not actually on any street.
Instead, it’s on what used to be on a used car lot.
Used car lot?
Anyone who has been up and/or down this particular stretch of Ballarat Road will know exactly what I mean when I say … it’s the one with the wagon wheel!
But in every other way, Chai n Dosa is the epitome of street food.
Rudimentary eat-in facilities. Just a handful of chairs, actually. Though there are a handwash basin and plenty of paper napkins on hand.
You’ll find those napkins handy as you’ll want to do what all the other customers do – ignore the plastic cutlery and eat with your hands.
And do so while sitting on one of the chairs – or squatting or standing; or maybe using your car bonnet or boot lid as a picnic table.
We use the boulders embedded in the adjacent nature strip – and for sure we aren’t the first to do so!
The menus (see below) are mostly vegetarian and mostly familiar.
The Chai n Dosa crew serve up the likes of chicken pulao later in the week, but for the rest it’s all about carbs.
We like the look of the bonda!
But for our Sunday lunch, we stick to the familiarity of masala dosa ($8.50) and …
… idly and vada ($8.50).
The food is all excellent – and the vada are particularly noteworthy.
They’re a little crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside – and that’s a far cry from the the doughy doughnuts sometimes served up elsewhere.
The accompaniments – sambar and chutney – are likewise exemplary.
And you know what?
It’s all very subjective, but we reckon the food tastes better and we enjoy our meal more for it being had from such a funky street food set-up.