Biryani buzz on city streets

Upcoming trend

While Delhi is increasingly becoming the hub of street food, many regional Indian dishes are now foraying into the streets across the city. From litti chokha and sattu to poha, shawarmas and of course, momos, one can relish on these delicacies outside metro stations, local markets and vendors.

But amongst these upcoming street food items, the increasing presence of biryani beyond Jama Masjid and Purana Quila, caught Metrolife’s attention.

What has widely been served as a main course meal in restaurants and hotels is now sold at affordable prices in places like GTB Nagar, Mukherjee Nagar, Amar Colony, Defence Colony Flyover Market and Zakir Nagar.

However, food connoisseurs say that the dish has always been popular and was traditionally served in streets outside dargahs and other religious places. A lot of this, they feel, has to do with the Indians getting interested in their traditional food.

“This is the time when people are discovering their own heritage and feel proud of Indian cuisines and traditions. They are ready to go to the remote parts of the city to have good and authentic Indian food,” says food critic Sourish Bhattacharya adding that one of the reasons for the growing popularity of biryani is also the availability of its vegetarian variant in the market.

Seconds Osama Jalali, food critic, saying, “In the last two years, a lot of vegetarian biryani is being served across the city.”

Another noticeable factor about biryani is that a lot of people prefer taking the dish home, instead of eating it on the spot like other street foods.

“Most of our customers prefer take-away than having it here,” says Mahboob Ansari, who sells biryani at his food joint called ‘Biryani Corner’ in Amar Colony market for the past seven years.

“But the dish still qualifies as a street food,” says Jalali adding that in all the thelas that sell biryani, people have it on the spot; and it is only in shops and food joints where people prefer taking it home.

At his food joint, Ansari serves chicken biryani at Rs 260 per kg, mutton biryani for Rs 370 per kg and vegetarian biryani at Rs 200 per kg. Thus, a dish which was earlier served in authentic styles at an expensive rate, is now prepared on the streets with a “not-so-gourmet style” for as less as Rs 20 for 100 gm.

Jalali adds, “I have seen biryani being sold at ‘thelas’ as early as 6 am in the morning. Among some popular lunch dishes which includes chole bhature, people now prefer biryani which is equally filling and comes at a decent price.”

“Moreover, since it is not very heavy, and is like a fill-up between lunch and snack, it is easier to have biryani on the go.”

So with all these factors, is biryani becoming a booming street food like momos?
“Speaking of street food, even shawarmas are becoming popular and are served at multiple places. But biryani is loved more because it is rice and meat together, like a
proper meal,” Anubhav Sapra of Delhi Food Walks tells Metrolife.

Elaborating on the “visibility” as a factor for the popularity of street food, Jalali further explains, “Street food like momos are more visible in the evening and appeal to a larger audience and are thus flourishing. But biryani is usually preferred for lunch and has more visibility during the day.”

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