It's too hot to resist

CRISPY GOODIES

The potatoes are pealed and kept aside in a large vessel, waiting to be grated into the boiling oil.

Taking two of the large spuds in his hands, the young boy slides them across a grater. The thin slices cling to the blade for a second before falling into the oil with a splash. The response it receives is unparalleled; the chips struggle to stay afloat in the churning liquid. 

But soon, the young boy comes to their rescue. He picks every last chip up and places them into a colander. However, he is no saviour. It isn’t long before he adds salt to them and garnishes them with chilli powder. Then they are sealed and sold at Rs 28 per 100 grams at ‘Sai Ram Hot Chips’ in Vyalikaval. 

The corner store finds itself perfectly placed. M Selvaraja, the owner of the store, gets regular customers from the adjoining areas of Sadshivanagar, Guttahalli and Malleswaram, not to mention the locals of Vyalikaval.  

He and his partner Satyavela founded the hot chips store five years ago and have been making fresh potato chips ever since. “Our speciality is that we make the chips fresh. 

People like to come and eat it as it is hot,” says Selvaraja. They open the store at 8.30 am and continue on till 11 pm. “We use only the best oil available. Many people use unbranded oils and the chips smells bad after a while,” he says.

 Why did he get into this business especially when there is so much competition from bigger brands? “I used to own some land but there was no scope for that. I’ve always been interested in making such food items. And I wanted to make money,” he says. Not that this line of business is a money-maker. “I took a loan to start this shop and I’m still paying it off. It’s hard because I make just enough to sustain my family and myself.”

Selvaraja is originally from Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu but came here because he thought Bangalore had better opportunities. “It is an international City and the centre. It’s a good place to be in.” But he didn’t bring his wife and three children along. “I don’t want to take a chance. I live on rent here. What if I get kicked out after two years? The kids’ education will get disrupted too. Also, they would have a language problem here,” he says. 

He makes sure he visits his family once a month. Other than hot chips, he also sells kodbale, chakli, nipattu and other types of fried items. He says that he makes them all at home. “We are a team of five. All the cooking and packaging is done at home. We make sure we have all the necessary information on the packaging label because people get suspicious.” 

When asked whether he has plans to expand, he says that he has a few big business ideas but doesn’t have the money for them. So for now, he’s going to stick to making hot chips. 

‘Sai Ram Hot Chips’ is located at Vyalikaval, just before the Vyalikaval Police Station and after Namdhari’s. For details, call 9448838778. 

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