While not extremely large, walking into Desi Galaxy for the uninitiated can be a slightly overwhelming experience. Every color in the place is bright, and lists of offerings cover almost every available surface. Upon entering, there is a separate shop to the right and a paan dealer to the left, serving from a window. A few steps in, five separate stands line the right wall, while a drinks stand is on the left, offering coffee, tea, juices, and lassis.
In my opinion, the reasons to come here are with the drinks stand and the first and last stands on the right wall, both snacks shops. The middle three sell meals, but those are better in one of many sit down restaurants on the adjoining blocks of Oak Tree Avenue.
The first stall is Bombay Spice (above), which is mostly a chaat purveyor and has over a dozen varieties. I tried to start a chat (er, conversation) with the woman at the register, but she did not seem interested in explaining anything to me.
What we settled on was the dahi bhalla papdi chat ($7, below), which had a nice mixture of textures and flavors. I prefer my chaat to be as crispy as possible, and this did not fail me in that regard. Once you get all the sauces underneath mixed in, the dish turns pink and has a lot of punch.
Even more interesting is Live Pani Puri (below), the stall at the very rear, which offers a taste similar to what you find on the streets of Indian cities. Pani puri vendors proliferate the streets, offering just about the cheapest snack you will ever find. "Live" does not mean that still breathing creatures will be served, but rather that the experience takes place as you eat. They serve you one at a time and make them as you stand and wait.
They offer seven here for $6, which actually seems like a high price. Thankfully it is fun and even works with a group so that you can each sample a couple. Six different flavored waters are poured on each ball, a hollowed out fried and crispy sphere filled with potatoes, onions, chickpeas, and chutney.