By Anand Sinha:
Last week, I was hanging out with my friends at the heart of Delhi, Chandni Chowk. Rubbing shoulders with the desi Delhiites, we were enjoying the lost aroma of the old city. Suddenly, we spotted a street side biryani stall and, crazy as we are for biryani, were just about to jump to the stall when suddenly a friend (an R K Puram resident) rebelled and warned to leave us if we even tried to touch ‘that’ biryani. Why? Oh God, how can you go eat at a place like that? It’s so filthy.
The place was not at all filthy. It was at a fine spot, miles away from any gutter and yes, that biryani-walahÂ wasn’tÂ even sweating. After an hour, we were at a fine restaurant at Connaught Place, eating the delicious biryani. Yes, it was three times more expensive. But for that friend, it was a delicacy. Oh, you must see, the place is so clean, I must tell you.
This got me wondering about why some people have become so brand conscious even when it comes to food. I fail to understand what matters more to them, quality or name. I surely admit that many street shops are dirty but there are thousands of other street shops which keep the place clean and the food is too delicious to be rejected. But then again, there will always be this category of people who will never go to such joints because it’s too unhygienic for them or it simply goes against their reputation to be at such a place.
There is a method to this madness, I have discovered. Here are a few symptoms to spot such a paranoid friend yourself:
The locality of the shop matters a lot to them. It is against their reputation to go to a low standard place.
*Air conditioning is a pre-requisite. I can’t eat here, it’s so hot.
*If anything is below 50 rupees, the place is not worth a shot. It is cheap in quality if its prices are cheap.
*There is not even a waiter, I won’t stay here a minute.
The paranoid friend only eats at those haute cuisine restaurants and little mall-like parlors in posh localities. It is certainly not wrong to enjoy the top-notch food but despising the street food just because it is inexpensive or it is around the road corner is certainly a silly and elitist consumer habit.
There are many people I have met from even the “elite” group of the city who not only frequent such street shops but love the food there. What matters to them is that super delicious food and nothing else. As long as the place is not actually filthy, they love eating out. Now that is one consumer attitude which is appreciable and must be learnt by out paranoid friends.