Updated on: Wednesday, August 04, 2021, 09:21 PM IST

Indore: Pandemic hits food culture, 'Do-Gaj-Doori' becomes a nightmare for local street vendors

Even as the city’s small businesses have turned upside down, some street-food vendors show ‘atmanirbharata’, Indore-style

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The Covid-19-induced lockdown has forced many businesses to down shutters. They have either succumbed to the pandemic, or stand on the verge of closure.

Many sectors across the globe have witnessed a steep downturn, resulting in mass layoffs and closure of many small businesses. The financial fragility of small businesses has had a significant impact on the common, middle-class people. While some nations have succeeded in flattening the Covid curve, others are finding it difficult to achieve similar success.

City food culture worst-hit: The food culture of the city seems to be the worst-hit after the pandemic-induced lockdown. The business of street-food stalls has turned upside down, forcing many to either shut down or think of drastic cost reductions. Maintaining strict hygiene protocols amid the Covid pandemic is proving to be a nightmare for small and local food stalls.

The city is famous for its street-food hubs, such as Chhappan Dukan and Sarafa Bazar, that serve up everything from local specialties, like Bhutte ka Kees, Poha, Jalebi, Malpua and Garadu to North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisines. While Chappan Dukan is a street that is packed with food stalls on both sides, Sarafa Bazar is India’s only food street that is open till two o’clock in the morning. The foodie’s heaven has an address, and you can find it in Indore.

Uncle Moong ke Bhajiye

Yet, many people did not lose hope and took to the concept of Aatmanirbharta like ducks to water. The famous Uncle Moong Ke Bhajiye of the city was not left untouched. The pandemic forced the owner to raise his rates up to four times. Uncle Moong ke Bhajiye has been in business for the past 27 years. Known for its mouth-watering ‘kurkure’ fritters, the owner and his family sold vegetables amid lockdown to earn their bread and butter.

The fritters, which used to cost Rs 50 per kilogram, are now being sold at Rs 250 per kilogram, courtesy a struggling economy and rising inflation

Kanhaiyalal Gurjar

This local street vendor, maintains his family selling Poha Jalebi, Bread Vada and Aalu Vada. The vendor, who sells snacks at the Press Complex, says, ‘This pandemic has hit me the worst. We had a huge number of students who used to come to our stall. But, after the pandemic, hostels have been emptied and are left with only 20 per cent population, compared to the pre-Covid times. We’re finding it difficult now to set up our stalls as we now have no assurance whether we’ll be able to exhaust our stocks or not.'

Deepak Jain of Tilak Nagar

This kachori-seller says, ‘We had sales of approximately 450 kachoris per day, but, now, we hardly sell 200. My customers and I were more of a family, but this corona has instilled a sense of hygiene, so, everyone now prefers to buy snacks from bigger outlets’

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Published on: Wednesday, August 04, 2021, 09:21 PM IST