Roadside eateries gaining popularity here despite risks

Kathmandu, October 7 :

No one disagrees with the risks of consuming fast food but people do not seem to stop themselves from tempting food being served along roads these days.

“I never miss a chance to drink a glass of soda water at Ranjana gully (alley) and munch momos at Makkhan gully, whenever I come to New Road” says Shruti Shrestha, a photojournalist with Reuters. She gulped the last piece of momo from her tapari (leaves woven to a plate). Along with her a number of people savouring their ‘favourite cuisine’ in front of the Suraj Arcade at Makkhan hampering traffic flow. “It does taste good, try it once,” she says.

Peddlers’ eateries along the road these days offer quite a long menu of cuisines particularly in the alleys of New Road — Khichapokhari, Rajana and Makkhan alleys. Burgers, MoMos, chowmin, chops, panipuri, chat, pakoda, samosa and the list goes on and on which one can relish on the road standing.

Gopal Shah’s eatery, adjacent to the parking lot of Suraj Arcade, is known for delicious panipuri. “It has already been nine years since I started selling panipuri right here,” he says. He claimed to have taken safe measures while preparing panipuri. He says he uses filtered water and he keeps curry covered in a pot.

However, the place is not free from the smoke that vehicles emit from a nearby parking lot and the dust produced by walking of people on the road. “What is the wrong with such roadside restaurants?” says Durga Chhetri, a schoolteacher. He said that there is no guarantee that fast food restaurants serve healthy and hygienic food. “Just because the restaurants serve their food inside a room does not mean the food is hygienic,” he argues.

However, he asserted that the foods sold along the road are ‘not completely safe’ to consume from health point of view. “It is popular as it is relatively cheap, easy to purchase and convenient to consume too,” he says and takes a big bite of his burger at Khichapokhari. “I

don’t mind standing a few minutes while eating,

I do have to stand up almost all day long in school,” he says jovially.

All of a sudden, Raju Shrestha, actor/director of popular Newari tele serial ‘Khota Baji’, appears amidst gourmands of munching MoMo. “It tastes different from that of restaurants,” he says. In his opinion, people have already acknowledged it as a normal practice. “No one is going to remark badly about any star if he/she is caught eating here, but I cannot say the food here is completely safe and hygienic,” he added.

Eating all standing along the road could be fun, a change to taste bud for someone and for

the some others it could make a square meal. According to Shah, such peddlers can earn well above Rs 2,000 a day.