Hi folks - I recently moved to the east end of Toronto, close to the Gerrard India Bazaar which is perhaps better known as Little India.
There are many delightful “sit-down” restaurants, specialty grocery stores, saree shops, and other cultural amenities along this section of Gerrard Street. You’ll also see a number of places selling delicious street foods from India and Pakistan. Lots of places advertising things like “Paan”, “Chaat”, “Falooda”, “Kashmiri Tea”, and so on!
Personally I get a bit scared and I’ve definitely psyched myself out of stepping into places like these in the past. I’d tried other restaurants in the area (and they were terrific), but when it came to these street food style restaurants, I would look inside, wouldn’t see any white people (a good sign - LOL), and I also didn’t recognize anything on the menu. The anxiety around asking what something is and being too out of place (“what’s the problem with this weird guy who doesn’t know what he’s ordering”) stopped me from going in, thinking I would go home and come back once I’d “researched” what was good there. But I kept putting it off, and usually restaurant owners can give you a recommendation if you ask, you don’t always have to know exactly what you want - go with the flow! It’s always rewarding to try new foods you’ve never heard of before and it’s not every day you get that sort of chance! Who knows what you’re missing out on.
So, I decided I’m going to push myself to try a few of these places! Towards the east end of the neighbourhood, on the north side of the street opposite the Lahore Tikka House, there are three places with signs advertising “Desi Burger” that caught my eye. Back in January while out on a late night walk, I stopped in and finally ordered something.
So what is a Desi Burger, you ask? Another customer informed me that it’s a popular and typical street food you might find in Lahore or Karachi (the largest city in Pakistan), and it’s also known as a “bun kebab”. “A shallow-fried potato and lentil patty is placed between a sweet bun. The patty is then smothered with a mint and tamarind chutney and topped with a piece of omelette.”, as one recipe site described it.
I ordered the Aloo Chicken Burger with an egg, and it was incredible. This thing is literally overflowing with delicious chutney. Yum. If you enjoy a saucy burger, you are going to be one happy human after you get a load of this business.
The restaurant I visited has a great website if you are curious (https://www.lahorechaatdesiburger.com)! I highly recommend paying the India Bazaar a visit, and certainly don’t miss out on trying a bun kebab at Desi Burger (I also highly recommend trying a Dosa at Udupi Palace).
My next challenge is try some more of the menu at Lahore Chaat and Desi Burger or one of the neighbouring establishments… I need more delicious Pakistani foods! Hopefully I will be able to share some more tasty discoveries soon.