‘Hot Deals’ on ‘Hot Chillies’! Rs 100 for Kg, includes Price of Dust/Soil
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. 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?
If officials of Health and family Welfare Department or Mangaluru City Corporation Health Department have time to raid and inspect for hygienic conditions at restaurants/hotels/and other eatery places, but they are least bothered in checking for hygienic conditions of food/vegetables/other commodities that are sold by illegal street vendors on the roadside, where lots of dust/soil and other foreign particles are deposited on these food items- and many of these items which people buy, don’t wash them before consuming- with result in food poisoning or other health related sickness.
Yes it’s always nice to buy items from the street vendors which are cheaper than shop prices-but in the same time you need to be careful about the items that you buy which could be adulterated or covered with dust etc. One place where you can find these “Hot Deals” on “Hot Red Chillies” during “Hot Summer Days” 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. A few families all hailing from a little village in and around Bagalkote are making brisk business by selling dry red chillies, way cheaper than the store price, and people are flocking to avail the “Hot and Spicy deals”.
There are two varieties of chillies- one which is more spicier is sold for cheaper at Rs 100 a kg, while the other kind which is medium spicy is sold for Rs 120 kg. The same kind of chillies are sold in Mangaluru market for around Rs 200-220. 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.
Nagamma, one of the chilly seller speaking to Team Mangalorean said ” The business has not been good this year, compare to last time when I was here. I want to sell all my stock as soon as possible, because I am scared of 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. We will be here only for few more days”.
She also said that Byadagi chillies are primarily sold at the Byadagi chilli market, and that she and her relatives buy them at auction prices, for about Rs 70-80 per kg. “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 up-rise 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.” she added.
So all you spice lovers, if you are looking for a cheap price on Dry Red Chillies,( and don’t care for hygiene since these chillies day and night are exposed to dust and what not?) then head on quickly to this spot near KPT/Kadri Police Station, where Nagamma and the rest 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.