After an Indo-Australian Chai Wali made a prominent mark for herself as the tea Queen down under; a gorgeous chai wala (tea vendor) from Pakistan climbed his way up the fame ladder; and yet another former chai wala became the Prime Minister of the world’s biggest democracy, it was Indian tea entrepreneur Rahul Minhas’s turn to show the world that tea vending is the best business out there with his tea brewing business called Chaiwalla.
The Delhi-born chef works out of his timber food truck he built for himself, which he parks at the Wellington food truck market on lower Cuba Street, and the Lower Hutt farmers market during the day.
Aptly titled Chaiwalla, every Saturday the food truck rolls out cup after cups of delicious chai made with Indian spices hand ground by Minhas. During the weekends, he serves a variety of tea, along with other beverages like cardamom coffee, masala soda, and his specialty vegan fritters and skewers.
Being a Delhi native, the tea entrepreneur does bring in flavors of his hometown in the menu that boasts of handcrafted food complete with preparations like shahi kheer, tikkas, dahi vada, and more (sans curries, of course). “A lot of my inspiration comes from the street foods from Delhi. In India, you enjoy most of your food on the street,” he says.
Image: Facebook | Chaiwalla
Minhas shifted base from Delhi to New Zealand 11 years ago to study cookery in the Waikato, before working as a baker in different supermarkets. With not enough funds to plot his dream of opening a restaurant, Minhas settled for the next best thing – a food truck. With his wife working in Wellington City Council’s call centre, the former New World baker juggles his weather dependent food truck with the care of 18-month-old twin sons.
Minhas too used to work for the council as host initially, only to returning to his one true love – the hospitality industry.