Unlock Delhi monsoon: Is your favourite pakoda joint cooking?
Experiencing the humid air, we can safely say that monsoon has arrived in the Capital, and so has the craving for pakodas (fritters)! Delhi’s favourite go-to monsoon eateries have been getting phone calls from pakoda lovers, asking when are the shops planning to resume operations. Prateek Dhingra, owner of Sarojini Nagar’s Khandani Pakodewala, says, “As soon as it starts drizzling, our phones start ringing with customers calling to demand pakodas. We are getting calls from morning to evening! Par abhi medically halat itni achchi nahi ki hum kaam dobara shuru karein. I have to think about my staff’s health who have been with us for 30 years.”
Dhingra says they did open in unlock 1.0, but decided to halt business because people coming in to collect orders weren’t following government guidelines. “The problem is that when we tried to open post lockdown, customers couldn’t maintain social distancing, which we feel is very important for everyone’s health at this point. Therefore, we decided to re-strategise, and hopefully we will soon reopen again.”
Another staple joint for pakoda maniacs is Sitaram Pakodewala in Lajpat Nagar. “Monsoon is the peak season for our business. Last year we had 30 delivery riders waiting to collect orders at any given point while we attended walk-in customers at the store. Every other day I receive so many enquiries on when will we restart functioning,” says Vikas Pawar, owner of the joint, adding, “We had planned to wait till mid-July before resuming operations. Sabse pehle to delivery open karenge taki hum customer aur apni, dono ki safety ensure kar sakein. Jo ladke delivery ke liye khana leke jate hain, unke temperature bhi check honge. Koi laparwahi nahi sahi jayegi.”
And then there are some popular eateries who have restarted business. Take for instance Ganesh Restaurant in Karol Bagh, which is famous for its fish pakoras! “We use a variety of fishes for our pakoras, according to the season. Day by day our sale is increasing. Monsoon ho aur dilliwale pakora na mange aisa to ho hi nahi sakta! Customers keep calling us to place orders, and the demand for non-veg pakoras, specifically for our speciality, fish pakora, is very high,” says Deepak Kumar, owner of the shop, adding, “We are not taking any chance so we keep sanitising our premises, and are maintaining all hygiene standards. We have even separated our kitchen, and do regular temperature checks of our staff.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha