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The miserable traffic on Miramar Road gave me the perfect excuse to wait it out at Surati Farsan Mart at 9494 Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa. Surati Farsan specializes in vegetarian Gujarati food. Gujarat is a state in western India; farsan means side dishes or snacks.

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There are two large display cases of nasto, savory snacks, and mithai, sweet ones. The dining menu is on the wall behind the register. If you're not familiar with Gujarati food, grab a take-out menu for descriptions. You order and pay at the register, then wait for your number to be called to get your tray of food.

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I order Masala Dosa ($4.99), Sev Puri ($3.99), and a rosewater lassi ($2.50). It's strictly no-frills; food comes on styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. There are music videos playing on the TV; on weekends there's usually a Bollywood film on.

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The Masala Dosa is as long as my shin bone.

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It's a crispy rice crepe rolled around spiced potatoes and onions. On the side is a bowl of vegetable soup, which you can pour over the crepe, and pale green coconut/curry leaf chutney. I usually cut off pieces and dip them into the soup instead, probably a faux pas, but I enjoy the crispiness of the crepe too much. The soft, spicy potatoes and onions contrast nicely, and the cooling chutney adds a rich touch.

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Sev Puri are small, fried whole wheat shells, stuffed with potatoes, beans, sweet and spicy sauces, and topped with crunchy noodles. These are most fun when you pop the whole thing in your mouth at once. Crunchy, sweet, tangy, spicy, with lots of texture from the potatoes, beans (tiny garbanzos and green mung) and crispy noodles.

The rosewater lassi provides a sweet-tart, floral coolness. I love flower-water flavored drinks and desserts, but if it's not a taste you enjoy, there are regular and mango lassis too.

Surati Farsan Mart is off the beaten path, but well worth a stop if you're in the area.

Surati Farsan Mart

9494 Black Mountain Road (Just off Miramar Rd.)

San Diego, CA 92126

Phone: (858) 549 7280

Hours: Tue-Sun 11 am - 8:30 pm

http://www.suratifarsan.com/

Credit cards accepted.

Online store for shipping nasto and mithai worldwide.

Surati Farsan Mart is located in the Little India Shopping Center, one block north of Miramar Rd.

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