Red food trucks in Uptown Charlotte always fill me with joy! Because I know that means Zizi’s Awesome Vegan To Go – awesome and all vegan. OR Marathi Masala – veg and vegan friendly, one of the few places in Charlotte to get Indian street food, and everything but chicken priced under $10!
(Except, of course, on the cruel occasions the red food truck turns out to be Cousins Maine Lobster. One day, I’m going to take a picture of the Charlotte homeless slowly doing the “Uptown Zombie Shuffle” past a line of businessmen waiting for their $16.95 lobster roll. Excuse me, that’s $21.95 before tax and tip if you want a drink and some tots with that. Yup, you read that right. Uptown Charlotte is really that expensive – and that pretentious.)
Anyway, I was DELIGHTED to find Marathi Masala is not only outside the 525 N. Tryon building on Wednesdays, but on 220 N. Tryon (near Hearst Building) on Tuesdays!
Previously, Marathi Masala had served me Charlotte’s best samosa chaat. It was pure perfection.
So next I decided I would try Marathi Masala’s “signature item” – Vada Pav.
Vada Pav is basically a patty made from mashed potatoes and seasoned with cilantro, peppers, and spices. Then it’s coated in gram (chickpea) flour batter, deep fried, dusted in – some sort of mixture of dried onions and spices? – and served on a small roll.
Let me back up and explain something to my American friends who may not be familiar with Indian food. We are so carb-phobic this sounds a little weird at first – a potato sandwich?
I was this way! (Weird in retrospect, because, being Irish, I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like!) The first time A. made me a potato sandwich – some kind of potato panini – I turned up my nose, gagged, and basically behaved like my five-year-old friend Nahl. And then, after much drama, I finally took a teeny tiny bite. OMG! What an amazing combination. Total comfort food and endorphin explosion!
And bread and potatoes together are not so odd if you think about it. What is the typical American’s favorite meal? A burger and fries, right? Well, this is the same concept – except we’re leaving out the meat and going directly to the good stuff!
Like the Samosa Chaat, Marathi Masala’s Vada Pav was perfectly executed.
Non-greasy despite being deep-fried.
Spicy, but not extremely so. All the flavor did not come from peppers. There were other spices doing a bhangra in my mouth! People with more delicate palates may find these vada pavs a bit hot, but spicy people (and we KNOW who we are!) – should love this.
The serving size is two Vada Pavs – for the unheard of Uptown Charlotte price of a mere $6.00. They are about the size of sliders. Depending on your appetite, they could be a snack, a light lunch, or an appetizer. Most men and hungry women should probably order an additional item.
VegCharlotte Pro Tips:
Vada Pav reheats very well – in either toaster oven or microwave. Consider placing two orders – one to eat now, and one to eat at home, later.
Make potato burgers. I know, this is very American of me. But I’ve taken these home and added a little chopped onion and tomato, plus a dollop of soy yogurt or a swirl of Vegenaise mixed with chutney, and it was AWESOME.
If you take these home, serve with soup. Of course, rasam or sambar would be ideal, but any tomato-based soup (like vegetable or minestrone) would be brilliant. Amy’s makes some good vegan ones. Perfect comfort food on these cold winter nights.