Bangalore's Roadside Eateries
is something about street food that sets one salivating. An entirely new world
springs to life the moment the petty shops down their shutters. The day has just
begun for the vendors and the show must go on. They are the BPO staff of the Streets.
They occupy their strategic places arranging the paraphernalia within reach and
readying themselves to dish out choices that entice the passers by or the regulars.
This is a moment that no star hotel can match. In fact I was surprised that at
VV Puram-Market Road, the moment one enters that street one is accosted by marketing
executives chantingbisi bisi idli, dose at so and so stall. The gulleys
are the places where action is seen past midnight and no Cinderella timing applies
here. The post party crowd and the night shifters know where to head to. In fact
the waiters can be protective of their lady customers.
surroundings may be not be pleasant but crowds mill at the sundown time, amidst
traffic smoke as rasthe oota has that something special that large segments shamelessly
crave for. Otherwise how does one explain the well heeled lowering the tinted
window glasses of their Esteems, Hondas, Marutis and Corsas and placing the order?
Or the star hotels having themes like Galli Khao which is a big sell out.
is never any wastage and invariably every bit is literally licked. For once the
niceties of fine dining are shelved and unabashedly one goes full steam for any
number of helpings as if there is no tomorrow. As more and more people enjoy eating
food from the rasthe, on the rasthe the many places where decent snakes can be
had are mind boggling. By and large the popular favourites are the idly/ dosas-
chutney combos, vada, the family of chaats, bread toast and egg, a rice baath,
greasy Chinese dishes (fortunately these joints are few)Chai,puffs and red tandoori
non veg chunks. The taste can never be replicated in the home, even by the best
cookery expert. Its as if the magical fingers of the vendor alone can coax
the best in every slice of cucumber, mango and masala, rice grain or lentil as
they conspire with him. Its as if the food knows what we want and like.
Oota (RO) is definitely for the tongue and tongue alone as it caters primarily
to our baser instincts. Hence that explains why a dish in one place cannot be
the same in another place. This pied piper of the taste buds does not allow us
to worry about the nutritional aspects, Hygiene and ambience. And those who crinkle
their noses do so at their own risk. RO is a leveling factor where a sea of humanity
congregates to fine tune their taste buds. If nothing else the food is real Value
skill and precision with which the dosa dough is coaxed on to the hot tawa, the
removing of the fried vadas at the right moment, the thatte idlis, the idlis that
are steamed as they leave imprints on cloth, as ajji used to, are fascinating
not only to watch but the taste also matches. The varieties of chaats-specially
the gol gappas, channa choor, samosas, kachoris by the Marwari brethren and copy
cats is worth its wait in the queue. The numerous dose camps that were a big draw
some time ago have revolutionized the stuffings inside. No longer only the ubiquitous
potato filling, but of paneer, cauliflower, beet, avarekalu, egg, chicken/mutton
etc jostle place with the potato masala dosas.There would be nearly 15 stuffings
of the choicest fillings displayed on the menu prominently. The memory is clear-
I stood in the queue for half an hour at the 4th block, Jayanagar Dosa camp like
Oliver Twist with the coupon in hand, 2 months after it opened. And when I got
the dosa of my choice of filling, it was déjà vu.
to Pavithra Hotel, Jayanagar IV block, a place called COOL JOINT was till recently
popular for its 5/-soups.It was a riot here daily from 7.00PM.Though the demand
of the young crowd now is for grilled sandwiches, ice creams, etc. A little further
down is the pani poori chap with a sizeable milling crowd. The menu changes with
the demands of the rasthe oota maduavuru from time to time and slowly the category
of the diners too is altered. At the Market Road- V.V.Puram one can go for the
Sajji, akki and ragi rotis, Khali dose, masala Pepsi/Coke, melting in the mouth
obbattus from Abhishek fruit juice stall.
Majestic next to Amar hotel one gets good and hot ghee rive pilav, plain rice
with dhal/sambhar, egg curry and chicken fry. At Subhedar Chatram road its
the Channa Batura, boiled eggs, plain rice and sliced fruits. M.G.Road for its
Bhutas/jolas.Broadway Street for its samosas, range of puffs, kadak chai, mutton
rolls, Kerala and Ceylon Paranthas, varki biscuits, and traditional pastries with
exotic names like Jahangir, Anarkali, Shahjehan, Badshah that are becoming a rarity.Paya(bone
marrow soup)and semiya are available in the morning. Aah!!!This is manna was the
body language of the diners, more interested in enjoying eating rather than air
really amused me was finding on Ibrahim Sahib Street, parallel to Comm. street
the upwardly mobile burqa (veil) probably khandani ladies with infants hitched
on their hips enjoying the dosas and idlis at 9.00PM on a week day and giving
me a coy grin when our eyes met. Sitting in a row in an imitation of the feathered
midnight there is a veritable paradise for the non veggies. Not to be missed are
the chicken kebabs, and tandoori chicken, at the Empire on Residency road. Jumbo
chicken, mutton and egg rolls at Fanoos on Richmond road. Ghee rice and grilled
chicken at the Imperial on Residency road.
speaks of the culture of the people of the area and the changes with the passing
time. So detaching oneself from this exercise is to miss the rich cultural heritage.
But then like Indias heritage RO also will absorb the mutations morphing
for the better. And eat people must-so RO can never go out of fashion.
you have something to say about Raste Oota and its quality of food, please rate
these street side restaurant here