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Street Food...Off The Street

Change is the only constant thing in the world and it is human to ask for change. This also applies to food. We want to try something new every time we step out of our house to dine. Many trends come and go, but, presently one trend that is a big hit with consumers is the street trend. Kathryn B K spoke to few who offer street foods in their restaurants to know more about the trend and the innovations and modifications they made to adapt the street food culture.

Friday, October 13, 2017, 15:47 Hrs  [IST]

An industry that experiments, innovates and supplies as per the current demand will only survive in the long run and the food industry in no different. With the highest young population, India at present has a good opportunity to flourish in the food business as most of the young, working lot prefers to eat out or order at home than cooking themselves. In such a scenario, innovating and experimenting with foods becomes important as consumers will be bored of eating the same stuff and would want to try something new. Food industry should be ready to change as per the eating habits of the consumers. Bringing in or creating new trends is a must. One such trend that is on the rise is the street food trend.

Rising Trend
India is famous for its street foods. It is a known fact that most Indians always crave for street foods and even inbound tourists love to try our street foods. But we are often advised not to have much due to various health and hygienic issues.

Kanwar Sameer, Partner, Cafe Wiser Miser too agrees that people from all age groups and class are fond of street food but there are limitations of hygiene and ambience when someone eats at the road side stalls.

It is also true that no matter even if people like to taste food from all over the world, after a certain point one wants to go back from where they have come from. They want to taste the recipes from their mother’s, grandmother’s kitchen and the street foods they had during their childhood days.

Umang Tewari, Owner of Local, Connaught Place believes, “People are done with experimenting with their food. It’s like going back to the roots. Street food is what we have grown up eating and this is what people prefer or are inclined to.”

Restaurants cannot offer foods the way it’s done on the streets. When people come to restaurant to try out street foods, they expect it to be hygienic, presented in a better manner with good ambience. Chefs can also give their own twist to the street food.

“Street food has been reinvented and reinterpreted to reflect the changing ways of Indian eats. A lot of modern chefs are going back to their roots and discovering the authentic essence with recipes from their grandmothers. The idea is to keep the flavours intact while giving it a modern twist without compromising the dish’s homeliness,” says Gaurav Arora, Founder, Kinbuck2.

This entire scenario has turned the tables in favour of restaurants, where the street food off the street in on the rise and in great demand. The trend has gone well with the consumers, and is catching up in full swing and seems to stay here for a while.

India’s market is expected to grow, thanks to changing consumer preferences and the large population in India. We have localised our menu and presents it in a luxurious way, says Arora.

Adapting & modifying
Though serving street foods in restaurants seems easy, it can be a daunting task. Chefs preparing and serving street foods have to make sure the basic standard of a restaurant is met keeping the authenticity of the food intact. One of the prime reasons for consumers to opt restaurants for street foods is cleanliness, hygiene and environment over money. But at the same time if consumers are paying higher than they would at streets, it is but natural for them to expect more than what they get on the streets.

It is said that we eat with our eyes first, so presentation and plating are the major areas where chefs can showcase their creativity as that will attract more and more consumers.

At Kinbuck2, it’s mostly Indian street food modified and presented in a better way. “We serve the Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav, Cutlets in different plating with our chef’s creativity that attracts everyone,” says Arora.

Arora adds, “The most important component of consumer experience at Kinbuck2 is cleanliness. When customers actually spend the money to go out and treat themselves, they want to have a good experience and we ensure that the food prepared is hygienic and safe for customers to eat.”

Restaurants try out different kinds of innovations and variations in order to outshine their competitors. It has been observed that chefs also prepare street foods with a twist while sticking to the real flavour of the dish.

At Cafe Wiser Miser, Aloo Tikki to Bombay Sandwiches to Bhel Puri to Tawa Chicken and Mutton Kebabs are in great demand and chefs have made the best out of it by experimenting fusion food like Corn Tikkis, Kala Khatta Mocktails, Maggi Lababdar, etc.

“We have added fancy cutlery which looks like mechanic tools (wrench, spanner, etc.) to give a local feel to the overall experience. The pricing is also kept pocket friendly in order to make it easier for people to enjoy their favourite street food,” assures Sameer.

Hiring chef’s or cooks who know how to get that traditional taste or at least get as close as possible is important and ingredients too make a lot of difference, says Tewari.

Currently street foods off the street are in vogue and it is the consumers who are in a win-win situation with restaurants trying everything possible to stay in the game.

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