The magic of Chaiiwala
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an indian person with things on their mind will require half a cup of masala chai to solve all their problems. So the success of Chaiiwala (based in Leicester, UK) was inevitable.
Ok i know that by now, the whole world knows about Chaiiwala and this post is beyond late. It almost feels like there is nothing left to say.
Nothing quite captures people’s imaginations like a sentimental back story and the Chaiiwala one goes a little something like this..Some 90 years ago in the markets of Delhi, a family set up a small stall selling tea for a rupee in the hopes of a brighter future. This simple yet delicious tea was a secret family recipe and became a huge success story for them. They recreated that success in the UK with the opening of Chaiiwala.
Masala chai is a staple in every indian/asian household and every family has their own way of making it. Mine differs from even my mum’s and has been adapted to my husband’s very precise requirements.
I may have mentioned this more then once but i have to say it again, i just love a tea/coffee shop. It’s like my thing. Additionally i LOVE India so when i first spotted Chaiiwala on my walk to drop my son off to nursery, i almost squealed with excitement.
When we specifically talk about chaiiwalas or tea sellers, my mind instantly goes to Mumbai. If you have ever had the pleasure of staying at the Musafir Khana (A hotel in the heart of Mumbai/Bombay), then you may have also seen the guy who sits opposite ladelling tea into cups all day. Sadly, I never did taste that tea but i knew that it was most likely syrupy sweet, wonderfully fragrant and beautifully spiced. My dad and street food don’t get on which is probably why i am so obsessed with it now. We weren’t allowed to even dream about tasting street food or drinks in this case. My dad was not having it.
The Chaiiwala brand in Leicester has somehow managed to bottle some of the magic of India up whilst adding it’s own modern twist. The hustle and bustle of Mumbai is somehow captured. The Taj Mahal wall transports you back to Aagra. The Nimbu pani, the shop layout/style/accessories, the food served in metal thalis, the masala chips, the chaiiwala newspaper food wrap and even the paper cups littering the streets all scream India.
Chaiiwala is the business people wished they had opened. I have spoken to soooooo many people since, who wish they had opened up a chai shop. I would love to see a Rickshaw Chaiiwala on the streets! Someone, please do this!