Street Food Culture in India hardly restricts itself only to the food. It also includes the cool vibing environment that we all need once in a while from our formal lives. We all can agree street food tastes heavenly. The mouth watering dishes are just one amazing facet of it, the fun of hanging out there is another. Ever since 2020 we have been very skeptical about venturing out and street food is surely one of the most missed during these times. Months after months when we were shut from the outside world our stomach growled to get one of these.
From the chaats, pani puris, samosas to Mumbai’s famous vada pav or a plate of Fried Rice and Chilli Chicken ,street food has been a craving always. Even if I start naming one dish after another I’m not sure if I can cover all of them because the list and the variety is never ending.
While some dishes are associated with places the others are put with festivals. A festival has not been celebrated to its fullest without son papdi during Diwali, kheer during Eid, gujhiya during Holi and pudding during Christmas. Street food vendors get huge orders during festival times for preparing sweets and the popular cuisine.
We have been welcoming of dishes from other countries and mix it with our spices for it to taste exquisite. Indians have a soft corner for spicy food. If not all then most of the street food here tends to be oily and Spicy.
Street Food emerged as a need of the hour back in the days and now it has grown into a multibillion scattered company. People from all different backgrounds and age enjoy having it.
Here are some of the reasons why everyone loves street food so much-
Every other corner in this country is stocked with blooming street food business. There is hardly any place left which doesn’t have its street food corner. The vendors have taken it on themselves to tease us with irresistible food all throughout the day. Even if it is 2 am in the night you will find vendors still making and selling for their customers.
Big restaurants and hotels cost a fortune while street food is affordable. People from all economic backgrounds cannot resist its charm. One could have various dishes for a low cost while a single dish in restaurant costs so much. Because it is affordable and tastes amazing people can have street food regularly as well while they could only squeeze one restaurant outing in a month. This is particularly famous among students and children as they can fit it in their pocket money. Many vendors open their stalls in close proximity of schools and coaching institutions as they know they can get huge crowd there. Even in the office hubs and locality street food is a hit and office goers opt for street food mainly for their tiffin or lunch breaks.
Street food vendors often put up their stalls in groups. One stall might be selling South Indian delicacies while the other might be selling Chinese or Italian. We get so many options to choose from. It encourages people to experiment with new food and pick their favorites. Since there are so many stalls, each vendor tries to outdo the other may be by opening their stalls early for the morning jogging enthusiasts, putting today’s special in their menu or making the sitting area more comfortable and beating the other one’s price for that matter. Ultimately consumers get the best of it.
Not time consuming
Street food takes a little to no time to get prepared and served. One can order from their vehicle and have it there itself and get it packed and do a takeaway. The vendors even with their limited profit margin pack everything from the extra napkins to spoons and pack it with love. Big restaurants can afford the fancy wrapping material but when the budget is restricted we need to acknowledge the efforts.
No worry of Dressing up or Behaving Formally
While in restaurants one is expected to be dressed well, speak softly and be on their best behavior but it doesn’t go while having street food. One could be dressed in their pajamas, be howling with laughter and stay for as long as they want no one would bat an eyelash. There are no social constrictions to be presentable.
It is fascinating for some people to watch as their food is made. The ever growing flame that seems to consume the container, the mixing of the spices, the chopping seems to leave them in a trance. Apart from the art form that culinary is, some people like seeing the preparation process to customize the food according to them. They can lower the spices amount, increase or decrease the salt content or leave out some of the veggies because of their allergies and choose their own ingredients.
An interactive environment
Many families know the vendor which sells food in their locality. They get to talk with them and this gets them to interact with people outside their social status or circle. Often people tend to stick to their social circle which creates a class divide in society. It is very important for mixing of these which the street food culture encourages. It makes them more empathetic towards each other’s problems. The children are always on a lookout for those specific vendors as they know they can get an extra serving because they have known him for so long.
The local taste
Every street food business may adopt a dish or two and wrap it with the local taste. How the locals may want it is their first priority. Because it is accustomed according to the local taste people enjoy it even more.
Every single one of us has a crazy and memorable memory of our lives while eating these street foods whether it was outside our college or workplace or maybe during evening walks with friends or special ones. It surely is a trip down to nostalgia. Street food is not for vanity; it is close to our heart. These businesses, for some, may seem like a hassle but the truth is they have been very hard hit during the on-going pandemic. Right now, they do not need the stereotypes you may have against them but a takeout from their place might just save their business, your hunger and their day!