, , , , and other street food delicacies that disappeared from Delhi streets during the lockdown are back now. Street food vendors are responding to the changing consumer preferences and are now focusing on takeaways. Vendors say that they’re taking all the necessary precautions, like cooking food wearing gloves and masks, taking digital payments and ensuring social distancing. Many of them have also taken virtual training for food safety.
Changed menu, digital payment for customers’ safety
Before March, street food vendors used to be busy serving over 200-300 customers every day. Now, while some of these vendors are back on the streets, people are still avoiding street food due to hygiene and safety concerns.
Dinesh Kumar Gupta, who has an ancestral business of roller ice cream in Old Delhi, has now set up his stall in the Kamla Nagar Market in central Delhi to maintain maximum social distancing. He tells us, “We used to set up our stall in Chandni Chowk, but Old
Delhi is congested and as of now, it is not possible to set the stall there. So to ensure that people follow social distancing measures, we have set up our stall in Kamla Nagar Market.” How’s his business doing? “We are not selling roller ice cream because it is made in
open, we only have and right now,” he adds.
Golgappe ke shaukeen toh aa hi jate hain: Vendors
Street food vendors say that customers who are having street food for the first time after the lockdown are initially quite scared, but after seeing the safety arrangements, they come again. Satish Kumar, whose kachoris attract foodies from across the city, has reopened his stall in Shahdara. He says, “Takeaways are preferred by most of our customers and we also push for it as it is safer compared to eating on the road.”
Dalchand of Mayur Vihar’s Mangla Chaat Waale shares,“ . Some customers come to us and say, ‘ .”
Rajesh, a momo vendor in Lajpat Nagar, adds, “A customer almost cried out of happiness after taking the first bite of momos. customers .”
We couldn’t stop ourselves after seeing our favourite stall: Foodies
Wary foodies still have concerns about safety and hygiene, but many of them are visiting their favourite street food stalls. Sumi Raina, who was getting her ice cream packed at Kamla Nagar, said, “I usually cross this area twice or thrice a week, so when I saw my favourite vendor back, I could not stop myself from ordering.”
Another customer Harpreet Singh added, “I am asking every street food vendor about the precautions they are taking and if I am convinced, I eat. I guess between my logic and craving, win every time.”
Training in safety precautions
Over 10 lakh street vendors across the country are associated with the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), which had been training vendors on how to get back to business. Arbind Singh, National Coordinator, NASVI, said, “We’ve completed virtual FOSTAC training of FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) with vendors from across the country. They were trained in how to keep food safe and how to have customer interaction in the pandemic. We are also planning to put plastic screens on the carts so there’s no direct contact.”