Eight years ago, the pavement near Bethany High School in Koramangala had the usual stalls with ‘puchkas’, juice and momos. But over the last year, a number of food stalls have sprung up in the now bustling area, which comes alive everyday between 5 and 10 p.m. Stall owners here say they heard about the spot through word-of-mouth, adding that business is good because of the location — the pavement is in front of a park, near a school, close to offices and a five-minute drive from Forum Mall. Here, a range of cuisines and fast food are served under multi-coloured umbrellas and on colourful steel and wooden carts. It isn’t just the reasonable prices that convince you to part with your money in exchange for some delightful snacks, but the hygienic way in which the food is served: the stall owners wear gloves while serving food; the food is served on clean plates, and every stall has a dustbin. SRAVASTI DATTA takes a look at some of the most unique and popular stalls here.

Steaming hot snacks

Sashikanta Dibakar’s and his wife Satyamabhama’s stall Shibu Snacks Center sees a steady stream of customers from 5.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The stall has samosas, bhajjis, papdi chaat, dahi vada and other snacks displayed neatly, and the food served is steaming hot.

While deep frying bhajjis — the most popular snack among his customers — Sashikanta narrates what led him to set up the stall: “I am from Balasore in Orissa. I came to Bangalore 15 years ago and earned my living as a cook in a guest house for some years, but I wanted to start my own business.” Four months ago, Sashikanta and his wife started their stall amidst the dozen others here. Business, he says, has been “medium”. His customers primarily include office-goers. “They look to catch a quick bite and the prices are affordable too, the most expensive item is 20 rupees.”

The shy Satyamabhama says that even though they don’t manage to earn as much money as they would like to, the customers are co-operative and it helps that the family works together.

Perfect on a cold evening

Zameer stands behind his soup kiosk painted in shocking pink, with Soup Waallaaa written across in bold. He serves mushroom soup, vegetarian and non-vegetarian hot and sour soup, sweet corn soup and tomato soup, topped with croutons.

It’s been a year since Zameer, who lives in Bommanahalli, set up this stall. Office-goers, people from the neighbourhood, schoolchildren and visitors to the park come to his stall. “Mushroom and tomato soup are quite popular,” he says, adding that business is good.

He starts his day early to prepare the soups, but when asked how he does it, Zameer turns coy: “That’s a secret!”

Exotic food for all

“I am proud of my stall because even poor people can eat here. They too get to eat exotic food,” says Kumara, the owner of Italian Fast Pizza. Before he set up the stall, he worked in restaurants for 12 years. “There I learned how to make fast food,” he says as he places jalapenos, olives and corn on a pizza.

Decorated with pizza bases wrapped in cellophane and attractive pictures of pizzas covered in oodles of cheese and tomato sauce, Kumara’s stall attracts throngs of customers. College students Sonakshi Jain and Palak Jain say that this stall is their favourite: “It’s affordable and the pizzas are served on clean plates.”

Sweet finale

No meal is complete without desert. Omm Sweets takes care of that: it is among the most popular stalls to which customers gravitate after eating spicy momos, dosas, chaats and puchkas. Mouth-watering malpua, rasagulla, rasamalai, gulab jamun and other Oriya sweetmeats are served here.

Pramod Kumar Behera, the owner, distributes his business card to every customer. “We do home delivery,” he says enthusiastically. It has been doing good business since it was established four months ago. “The prices are reasonable; Rs. 20 for 100 gm and Rs. 250 for one kg,” Pramod explains.

He adds that it is a big draw among customers because it is the only sweet stall. The chhena poda and pahala rasagullas, Pramod tells me, are among the most popular items.