This enterprising young lady is our local lady chatwala. "Chat" or "Chaat" means snack and "wala" is any sort of worker. As you can see she is also a mobile snack provider with her little kitchen and inventory bungeed onto her bicycle. A stone behind the rear tire, kickstand in place, and logistically placed umbrella and she is ready for business. That's right, in Nepal we have "drive to" fast food rather than "drive thru."
Here's our intrepid ingenue in action. She mixes various chutneys, sauces, broken ramen noodles, and sprinkles with a packet of ready made chicken flavored bhujiya in that blue bucket. She's making a sort of bhelpuri-like chat. (You can see the packets of chicken bhujiya in the lower left hand corner of the photo.) Each chatwala has their own special secret blend of ingredients. She's also got her cell phone at the ready there too, might be expecting some urgent snack requests perhaps?
And here it is! In India a chat or snack of this sort would be served in a newspaper cone, here in Nepal the open packet of readymade bhujiya is strategically cut to make a nifty serving container. Nothing much goes to waste around here. Every rupee counts!
Most of the time in India you are given a rather wonky plastic spoon to eat your snack with. Here in Nepal you get a cardboard square cut from the box that held the chicken bhujiya packets. Recycle, repurpose, reuse, eh?
A close-up so you can see all the textures and colors going on in that chat. Bhujiya or bhujia was originally a Rajasthani specialty. It is crispy fried noodles made from a dough of chickpea flour, dals, and spices pushed through a sieve. Now it is a popular snack all over South Asia with many different varieties available. (Even Pepsico Frito-Lay makes a few varieties of bhujiya in India.)
Here's our chatwala having a well deserved rest. Around four everyday the neighborhood small business ladies gather in that set of blue plastic chairs on this crossroads on the edge of town to have tea and chat (as in talk and snack.) Honestly, I've never seen a lady chatwala anywhere else in India or Nepal. When she first started coming to our area years ago she sold snacks from a tiny pushcart with little wheels that would barely roll on the rough roads here. Now she's got a bike with handbrakes!
Calmly currying on,