A food street which comes to life after 6 PM every evening, right in front of the Alankar movie theatre in Mapusa, it is almost as if the place shifts gears as dusk starts falling. Vendors spring into action, pre-preparing food – putting marinated whole chicken into an earthen oven, deep-frying the gobi manchurian, arranging the range of local breads on offer. Helpers start arranging make-shift plastic furniture – tables and chair – on the road. The entire street takes on a festive, hangout vibe and foodies start flowing in.
There is a magic to eating in the open and while many countries in Asia have a culture of food streets every evening, the Alankar food street was our first experience of one. It started with a gentleman called Sridhar Hazare who opened a juice stall and then expanded to include a Chinese counter and a tandoori stall. Today there are 6-8 stalls that offer Chinese, tandoori and Goan food along with fresh juices and milkshakes. The portion sizes are large-hearted and locals often packs food from here for dinner.
The center of operations is a youthful boy, also called Sridhar Hazare, the founder’s grandson. He is part of a committee that helps regulate business and manage government requirements. “There is trouble sometimes, when people drink and create a nuisance. But that is rare. Hygiene is a concern and the government keeps us on our toes regarding that,” he says when I ask him if there are any challenges to running this food street.
- Chinese fare (noodles and fried rice) costs Rs. 100 for a pack that could feed 4 easily.
- Butter Chicken is Rs. 220 for a full plate.
- Chicken lollipops cost Rs. 100 for 6 pieces.