Just the time for a round of crisps and sweets

Just the time for a round of crisps and sweets

With mercury playing truant, the demand for snacks — especially from other states – is growing ever higher.

An increasing number of people can be found gathered outside bakeries, chaat stalls and eateries in evenings, eager to to try out something new, or a “native” food item claimed to be in hot demand at its place of origin. Often, age is no factor for the craze, as both young and old want to have something hot, crisp and spicy.

Vendors with pushcarts set up stalls on the streets by the Junior College at around 7 pm every day, to prepare spicy ‘vadas’. Vendors at Gangamma Temple Road are virtually besieged by entire families waiting for chilli fritters (bhajjis). Another favourite eatable is dilpasand or domma rotis at the Shidlaghatta Circle.

Watching the demand among the citizens for such snacks, cooks from neighbouring states too have set up stalls on City streets. There is stiff competition among all such pushcart owners to treat their customers.

“We are like nomads, and have reached Chikkaballapur traversing several towns and even states,” said Hukum Singh, a native of Uttar Pradesh. “We prepare the fritters using spiced salt. Our customers stand surrounding our pushcarts, watching us fry the fritters, and then queue up to purchase packets of Rs 10 to Rs 20,” he said.

Speaking about health factor, Singh said the oil is changed for various kinds of fritters. “The health of the customers is important for us too,” he added. “We put the spices into a heated vessel. The raw fritters are dipped into the spices and immediately fried in oil.”

“Such snacks are in great demand in Uttar Pradesh and the neighbouring states. But we are glad to find such demand for the fritters here too. It is a heartening for us since we are dependent on such customers for our livelihood,” he explained.

Manohar, a college student, said that part of the lure is that their native places do not have big hotels, and because such snacks are usually not prepared by small hotels and eateries. “There is almost no place were family members can gather and spend hours, chatting over a plate of eatables. We therefore depend on the roadside ‘cooks’ who prepare the fritters right in front of us and hand them to us in minutes,” he said. “I join my friends outside the Junior College in the evenings to savour the snacks prepared on pushcarts. On weekends my family members too come to the spots to try out some new item.”

Siddaraju, a private company employee, concurred. “All hotels in our town close by 8 pm. Very often no food is available at any eatery. We necessarily have to approach the cooks with pushcarts, to get idlis, puris, spiced rice (chitranna), tamarind rice (puliyogare) and egg fried rice,” he said.

“Such food has become a part of the lifestyle of our City,” he said.

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