With Goans polishing off platefuls of hot bhajis during the monsoons, Bhiva P Parab checks out the flourishing business of roadside bhaji stalls
Presently with rains at their peak, residents can be seen enjoying hot bhajis and mirchi especially from the roadside stalls. It is a fact vouched by all foodies that, bhajis taste best when it is from road-side stalls. The preparation right in front of customer and the aroma during frying is so tempting that it can make even the most fastidious customer ditch hygiene and opt for bhajis.
Rainy days are when fresh food items like bhajis, samosa, mirchi, etc are selling like hot cakes. It gives vendors a chance to earn handsome amount during the monsoon season. This business of ‘bhajis’ comes alive with the arrival of monsoon and several people make an unplanned stop at the roadside stalls to eat them.
According to vendors, during the rains people love to eat spicy food which is why bhajis are in heavy demand. The sale for bhajis and other items is almost steady throughout the year, however with the arrival of monsoons, the demand increases along with an accompanying cup of tea.
A vendor went on to say that the number of people visiting the stall to eat ‘bhaji’ and other spicy items varies daily. However there is quite a good spike in business during the monsoon from locals and also tourists. Many customers enjoy the fried food items in the coastal belt especially the Indian tourists who visit the state during rains.
Another vendor said that, men, women and children come to the road-side stalls to enjoy the rains and while watching like to spend time with bhajiis and cup of tea. “It is evident from a dramatic surge in our sale during the rains,” said the vendor.
A plate of bhaji is priced usually around Rs 20 consisting of four medium sized bhajis in hotels, while on ‘gaddas’ and small hotels the number of bhajis increases or at least the price of a plate is cheaper and it is around Rs 10 to 15 a plate consisting of five to eight small bhajis. While a samosa is priced from around Rs 10 to 20 and a plate of mirchi consisting three pieces is priced usually at Rs 20 and a single piece is priced at Rs 10.
It may be noted that this business is a small- time business and needs less investment due to the basic infrastructure. The cost is on vegetables like onion, cabbage, chillies, gram flour and spices. The profits are good and a vendor went on to say, “I do this business throughout the year and it is a profitable business as there is not much investment and the raw material which is needed is from the local markets. We see that we get good quality material as we are equally concerned about serving hygienic to our clients many of who are locals and come regularly. Even tourists who come to eat at our stalls.”
When asked a customer said that, during the rainy season she loves to eat bhajis along the roadside stalls. Another customer said, “I work from 10 am to 5 pm. In evening while coming home I need something to satisfy my hunger and having chai and bhaj. It is the best option and it is not very heavy for belly as well as pocket.
It may be noted that the street-food joints are perfect for tasty food and gossip and the young and old alike flock these places in search of fun in the evening. Another customer went on to say that especially the bhajis are rooted in our sense and if you eat any plate of bhaji you will understand that it isn’t just another food item, but the centre piece for everything from conversations to celebrations.
Monsoon is the season when several Goans eat mouth-watering bhajis. During visit to various markets one can observe number of people enjoying the weather with the food items. It is learnt from the sources that the number of customers differ daily and sometimes there is rush of the consumers giving stall owners good business.
Stall owners said that, thanks to awareness drives by the FDA they are conscious on hygine and use quality