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Truck food gets street smart


For a nation famed for its street-food culture, there are surprisingly few food trucks around. Of late, however, ‘meals on wheels’ offering great nosh have become quite the rage in Gurgaon.

Every evening, between 6pm and 11.30pm, a stretch of road in Sector 29, abutting the popular Leisure Valley, bustles to life as families and couples pull up in swank cars for happy helpings of comfort food. The sector’s happening market, famed for its hip eating joints, is next door. But the food trucks on Gurgaon’s ‘snack street’ are more than capable of giving the likes of Wendy’s and Barcelos a run for their buck.

Kuldeep Dagar is an IT engineer, as are his two partners, Amit Dhaka and Vineet Saroha. For this trio, the food truck is a passion to pursue on the side. But that doesn’t mean they take ‘Flavour Hub’ any less seriously. “Our priority is to serve quality food, gourmet fare at reasonable prices,” maintains Dhaka. “So we order every night and get the best, and freshest, ingredients the next after-noon.”

Not that it’s always smooth sailing. “You have cab guys who park around here. and cops sometimes bother us,” admits Dagar. “It’s not easy to set up, to find a place to attract customers where they can sit and eat.”

And things can get hectic for these full-time software engineers. “It’s difficult getting the balance right, but we enjoy doing this.” The ‘Hub’, incidentally, serves honest-to-goodness burgers, sandwiches and waffles— and a butter-chicken wrap to die for.

But there’s more to this foodie strip than just hearty bun or bread preparations (or waffles and wraps). The guys at Drifter’s Café’, for example, rustle up scrumptious Southeast Asian fare, a lot of Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian (with a bit of Chinese and Korean thrown in).

“We wanted to test the cuisine out in the market, and thought a food truck is a good way to get to know the tastes of customers,” says Ankur Gupta, whose has a background in the restaurant trade. Saumitra Suryavanshi, his fellow ‘drifter’, is a chef. And clearly, the Indian palate is ever more willing to sample the quirky. At this ‘cafe’, the Thai fish with raw mango and the Popiah thord (Thai spring rolls) go down a treat.

‘Something Saucy’, meanwhile, is something of a standout among Gurgaon’s food trucks. They don’t serve Coke but Coke masala, the ‘crazy fries’ comes in a Cola BBQ sauce, and the pink lemonade gets its colour from the humble beetroot. Co-founder and chef Rajat Chandna swears by his ‘soya chaap’ While some of these food truck owners run this business on the side, others are trained chefs out to test their food and the market for quirky tastes (“very popular”), and his churros, sweet-tooth delights that are not easily available, even in the gourmand’s heaven that is Gurgaon.

Also doing good business is Jaikishan Yadav of ‘Traffic Stopper’. His keema-mutton parathas and pays are hot sellers. As is the unusual (and traffic-stopping) ‘barfi paratha with rabri’. “People come all the way from Delhi for these,” claims Yaday.

Then there’s Vikrant Misra, who introduces himself as ‘chief eating officer’. Misra runs two trucks on the `strip’, ‘Sushi House Mafia’ and ‘Eggjactly’ (which, despite the name, is more than about eggs). These are the food entrepreneurs, out to prove that grub on-the-go doesn’t have to be break-the-bank expensive. And with this latest hangout spot, Gurgaon can now boast serious street ‘cred’.

Source: TOI

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