Street hawkers and many vintage restaurants serve tasty food at top speed, despite the thronging crowds
From speeding buses and auto-rickshaws to the brisk walk of the pedestrians, the catchword in Gandhinagar is speed. So, food joints in the area try to keep up with this tradition, and do not bother with gourmet meals or leisurely dining.
Whether it is with hawkers or at the many vintage restaurants, one wouldn’t have to wait too long to be served, despite the thronging crowds. Variety may be limited to south Indian cuisine, but one is still spoilt for choice.
What is it with Bombay and street food that actually does not have much to do with the coastal city?
Located on the footpath outside Tribhuvan cinema, a cart has been churning out two-minute vegetable sandwiches for over a decade now, and is a huge hit with the movie going crowd. Deftly handling a toaster heating over a kerosene stove, Mohan, the deputy sandwich maker, tells how his father came to the city as a stowaway on a train and eventually ended up making sandwiches for a living.
The sandwich — an assembly of two slices of white bread smattered with butter and green chutney, a generous amount of spiced mashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, onion and capsicum, all topped off with another smattering of butter, green chutney and ketchup — hits the spot any time of the day and is priced at Rs. 15.
A fabled eatery, this restaurant has the largest seating area among all others in this area; yet, it has patrons waiting on both floors to grab a table. It is attached to the Ramakrishna lodge on Subedar Chatram Road and offers a variety of vegetarian food. Plate meals, of which over 800 are said to be served during lunch hour, are its specialty. A range of puris, dosas of different specifications and a host of rice items or ‘baths’ are also served within minutes of placing the order. The waiters seem seasoned by the rush and do not indulge in small talk. All of them recite the menu swiftly, so pay attention.
Janatha Juice Centre
This centre is a super speciality establishment, serving only sugarcane juice.
Housed at the intersection of Subedar Chatram Road and 2nd Cross, the stall has been quenching thirst for about 35 years, serving waiting customers with freshly squeezed juice, not too diluted by ice and given a special twist by adding lemon and ginger. Priced at Rs. 10, the glass is so huge that it may be difficult to finish.
Anonymous push carts
A unique feature of the streets here are push carts equipped with gas stoves and large vessels filled to the brim with pulao, surrounded by racks of eggs and other containers filled with curries of different colours. These carts are perfect for a notion of food that doesn’t have to fit convention but just has to taste good. The skilful cooks toss and turn their woks creating their own versions of fried rice, which is actually the pulao cooked again, in varieties of vegetable, egg or chicken. They can be enjoyed with an onion omelette or in deep-fried chicken kebabs.