Street food fest in Delhi entices many

New Delhi, Dec 20: As many as 400 street food vendors from 19 states offered a wide range of options like chole bhature, spring rolls, fish pakora and kebabs to thousands of foodies of the capital on the first day of National Street Food Festival here Friday.

The three-day fest, organised by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), is being held at the capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

“The first two editions that happened in Delhi earlier were on smaller scale. We wanted to see whether it will be economically viable or not. We were just testing. Last year, there were around 150 participants from eight or nine states. This time 127 stalls have been given to 400

vendors from 19 states,” NASVI’s national coordinator Arbind Singh told IANS.

He is expecting around 5,000 people to turn up and taste various flavours of Indian states on each day.

Stalls are set up by vendors from different states like Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Delhi. For the first time, Sikkim also showed interest in the food festival.

“We got thuppa (noodle soup) for the first day and we are sold out. The next two days, we will offer momos to people in Delhi. The exposure is very good. We will participate again,” said Rinjong Lepcha. Accompanied by her friend Lakei Lepcha, they want to start food business from their home in Sikkim.

If it was the first time for Sikkim vendors, for Chelumma and her family from Karnataka it was their second stint.

“We have prepared chicken and fish fry this time. Last year, the number of visitors was less. This time the footfall is very good,” said Chelumma.

The dishes are priced between Rs.20 and Rs.180. Food items like pakodas and vadas come under the former category. Thalis and kebabs are mostly priced higher.

To keep the visitors entertained, few budding bands also sang popular numbers.

“We have mostly tasted chicken dishes and they are good so far. They are presented in quite a hygienic way too. My daughters are also enjoying the live music,” said Malayaj Sinha, who was joined by her daughters and friends.

An award ceremony will also be organised on Sunday. Some of the participants will be handed over cash prize on the basis of hygiene, innovation and more.

“There are categories like most popular vendor and personal hygiene. The winners will be announced at 5 p.m. on the last day of the festival. The one who wins most popular vendor award will be given Rs.25,000. Similarly, other winners including runners-up will also win cash

prize,” said Singh.