Street Vendors offer ‘Hot Deals ‘on’ Hot Stuff ‘on’ Hot Days’!
Mangaluru: Seems like these days one doesn’t have to make a trip to a grocery store or a vegetable/fruit market to buy your commodities, fruits, vegetables etc-because you can find them all on the side of the roads, with businesses set by by the street vendors. From vegetables to fruits to crockery to plants to cane baskets/chairs to pottery to artificial jewelry to helmets etc etc-you name them, you find them all on the side of busy city streets or highways. And now you can even buy your important ingredient to make Indian curry items-that is dry red chillies on the roadside. Not just red dry chillies, even peeled tamarind and garlic at a reasonable price than grocery store price. And just to be on the lighter side of the vein, all these roadside items come with added dust, soil, pieces of tiny rocks, other foreign particles – with no extra charge, all for one price?
Guess where you can find these “Hort Deals” on “Hot Stuff” on the roadside- If you happen to travel in the maddening bustle of traffic near Karnataka Poly-Technic (KPT) Circle , chances are that you may catch the strong aroma of Dry red Chillies – that’s because huge piles of loose dry red chillies and also gunny bags of them are stacked up and for sale at the corner of KPT circle and adjacent to Kadri East police station. Street vendor Hanumanthappa, his wife Girijamma, and his mother Parvathiamma, all from a little village in Bagalkote are making brisk business by selling dry red chillies, including small quantity of garlic and peeled tamarind at a very affordable price, cheaper than the store price, and people are flocking to avail the “Hot and Spicy deals”.
Although these vendors had a hard time listening to my broken Kannada, in the same it was also hard for me to understand the Bagalkote kind of Kannada- but I managed to grab as much information on these chilies. There are two varieties of chillies- one which is more spicier is sold for cheaper at Rs 120 a kg, while the other kind which is medium spicy is sold for Rs 150 kg. When asked why they were selling the best and spicier chillies for less than medium spicier ones, the reply was that the more spicier are slow sellers in Mangaluru, since people here don’t like too spicy chillies, instead they prefer milder ones- so in order to get rid of spicier chillies fast, they were selling it cheaper. These chillies sell for more price at grocery or supermarkets. Since this is the ideal season for a few varieties of chillies to find their way into the market, and even many pickle jars, many people buy these chillies in large quantities when the prices are cheaper with street vendors.
The kind of dry chilli that these vendors sell is Bedgi or Byadagi Menasu/Mirchi/Chilli which is grown extensively in the northern part of Karnataka, these chillies look very similar to Kashmiri Chillies, but are far spicier. They’re apparently named after the town of Byadagi in a district in Karnataka. They’re a crucial ingredient in cooking a variety of South Indian food, and are most often used in tadkas. This spicy chilli is what gives a lot of regional cuisine, including Konkan food, its unique flavour, spicy zing and red colour. Used in the powdered form in fish preparations, assorted gravies and sambhar, this chilli is popularly used by many South Indian communities.
Apart from dry chillies, Hanumanthappa and Co is also selling peeled tamarind for the price of Rs 120 a kg- and that too people are buying in a bulk, in order to avoid spending more on them at Supermarkets or grocery stores. He also sells garlic at Rs 100 a Kg. Speaking to Mangalorean.com, he said” The business has been brisk, and the customers have been very nice since past two days. I want to sell all my stock as soon as possible, because I am scared of unexpected rains, and also about being chased away by cops for setting up my business on city property. God is my only protector and help- I have to feed my family, and bear other expenses. I thank all the people who bought the spices from me”.
He also said that Byadagi chillies are primarily sold at the Byadagi chilli market, and that he buys them at auction prices. “This market attracts traders from all over Karnataka and from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh because of favourable conditions for business like fair price, immediate payment and accurate measurement of the chillis. The recent uprise of sales of low-priced, more-pungent chilli varieties into the market have cause a dent in the price of Byadagi chillies as well. Because of this, the farmers involved in its cultivation may not be able to make the required profits on their yield.” he added.
So all you spice lovers, if you are looking for a cheap price on Dry Red Chillies, Tamarind and Garlic, head on quickly to this spot near KPT/Kadri Police Station, where Hanumanthappa and family will offer you the best prices on these products. And if you are good at bargaining, I bet you will still get a better price. Best of luck.