A dish I studiously avoid when I visit restaurants, and on a rare occasion I try the food carts on the streets, is gobi manchurian. It took one of those modest little hawkers' joints near the Kumaraswamy Layout police station to convince me of how unfounded my reservations of eating the ‘Chinese' delicacy were.
As you near the police station, look, or ask around, for a little autorickshaw surrounded by a motley crowd. The place is simply referred to as ‘Gobi' by its regular customers, most of them residents of the neighbourhood.
Don't be put off by its appearance. It has survived for nearly a decade preparing and serving only dishes made out of cauliflower.
“My brother Revanna learnt the art of making gobi manchurian while working at a restaurant in Mysore. He took to it so much that he decided to start his own little joint specialising in it. All of us in the family too then took it up,” says Siddaraju S., as he deftly flipped over the manchurian balls being fried.
After three years of successfully running the business in Mysore, they relocated to Bangalore, anticipating better business. “Business here is indeed quite good, especially on Saturdays,” says Bhagyamma, Revanna's mother.
Their day starts as early as 5 a.m., when cauliflower, usually worth up to Rs. 3,000, is bought from K.R. Market. Bhagyamma then spends the entire afternoon cleaning and washing the vegetable thoroughly. They set up the autorickshaw at their usual spot at about 5 p.m., before opening for business at around 7 p.m. and continuing until 10.30 p.m. every day.
The joint thrives on just three varieties of the snacks — gobi manchurian, gobi rice and gobi noodles. They also serve noodles without the cauliflower. Fried gobi, without any spices or vegetable garnish is also on the menu.
It's easy to see why the flavourful manchurian is such a hit with the regulars.
The gobi noodles could give a similar dish at any multi-cuisine restaurant a run for its money. At Rs. 15 for half a plate, and quite a generous helping too, it is definitely filling while being light on the pocket.
A student of Class 10, Madhushree B.S., has been coming here for the past 10 years. “The gobi [manchurian] is quite tasty and yummy. I come here at least once a week, just to taste this one dish,” she says.
The joint is closed on Wednesdays.