On Sunday noon, as the Capital woke up to a chilly holiday, Constitution Club had thousands of Delhiites waiting impatiently with anticipation and an appetite.As the gates opened after an hour's wait for the third and final time for the street food festival, organised by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), people rushed in and made a beeline in front of the stalls of the delicacies they were waiting for which was available here for a nominal price.
"The wait was worth it. I've already had litti-chokha and am now running to get myself coupons before the fish dishes in the West Bengal stall are sold out. Then we'll think what else to eat," Neha Singh, a college student who was accompanied by her boyfriend, said.
More than 100 recipes from 45 stalls catered to the street food cravings of the everyday connoisseurs in the perfect backdrop of Delhi winter. Pratibha Das, a vendor from Sundergarh in Odisha, recounted how all her pithas and sweets were "finished" in an hour on Saturday. "Today, I've not taken any chances and increased the quantity so that everyone who comes to my stall gets to taste these authentic Odiya delicacies," Das said.
The pizzas from the oven of Ludhiana-based Tirath Singh were lapped up as soon as they came out. So were the fish dishes in the Bengal stalls. Shankar Das and Sujit Banerjee — both manning separate stalls but offering fish — couldn't even take a breather. Irshad Ahmed, whose stall representing Uttar Pradesh was selling delicious kormas, stay put as people thronged for a piece of gastronomic bliss. Volunteers, too, were seen frazzled by the rush for coupons.
"Street food advocacy is gaining momentum in many countries. India should not lag behind. It is an attempt to provide quality food at affordable prices, which the vendors have been doing for years. The response this year has inspired us to organise it better and bigger next year," said NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh.