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Jan 29 2016 : The Times of India (Kolkata)


Zinia Sen

Sitting with a friend at an adda, Indra Deb Chatterjee spotted a milk van and had a
brainwave.What did the van do all day? Its job began and ended in the morning.That got me thinking
and that's how I designed a food van, the first of its kind in Kolkata, 11 years back, he said. Indra
Deb is not alone: a handful of youngsters -armed with the knowledge of world cuisine and the
necessary restaurant licence and other clearances -has popularized the concept in the city, which
rejoices in all things culinary . Each food truck has a different story. Here goes:


RASHBEHARI AVENUE TIMING: 3 pm to 10 pm (winter); 12.30 pm to 10 pm (summer) POCKET

PINCH: `250 (for two) MUST HAVE: Rice-noodle combos served with prawn chips

After completing his post graduation from Calcutta Business School, Mayank Jhurani, 27, decided
to come up with an eatery. That wasn't easy and his friends from Bangalore suggested him the next
best option -a food truck. Since Kolkatans are a little iffy about experimenting with food, I started out
with their all-time fave: street food. My family supported my decision of getting into the food business
but they were worried that it may not run! Though there were some doubts on my mind, I started
Hungry Hands last September, said Mayank. His food truck offers everything from Kolkata rolls,
momos, chicken lollipop, pastas, sandwiches and Chinese food.I am all for concept cuisine but will
take one step at a time. Only recently, I came up with rice-noodle combos served with prawn
chips.There are regular customers, but newer ones will take to come.My aim is to open an eatery
where I stay camped up for six months, he said.


GARIAHAT Near Ekdalia Evergreen Club TIMING: Noon to 9 pm POCKET PINCH: `200 (for two)
MUST HAVE: Kabiraji burger

Babumani Sardar, 32, who was the business manager of a Kolkata-based pharmaceuticals
company, gave up his job to embrace what interested him the most -fusion food. His wife was a chef
and brother-in-law lived in the US for some time. In New York, there are many food trucks. Seeing
my interest in food, he suggested that we come up with our own. The concept was new when we
started one in Kolkata last July. We wanted to change the perception of Kolkata street food, which had
the popular perception of being unhygienic, he said. While Babumani manages the business, his wife
takes care of the food. The yummy picks include Hyderabadi biryani served Hyderabadi biryani served
in Bengali style with a big potato chunk and an egg, Meiwei Chinese (spaghetti cooked in Chinese
style), burrito wrap the Indian way, grilled Russian sandwich, fish and chips. But the hottest selling
item is the kabiraji burger. We cater to all age groups. There are many young frequenters and for
office-goers, we have combo meals like biryani, risotto rice and jumbo combo, he said. The fact that
they have opened a takeaway in Haridevpur and about to open one in Golf Green, is a pointer to the
fact that the truck is on the right trail.


SOUTHERN AVENUE TIMING: 5 am to 10 pm (except Mondays) POCKET PINCH: `200 (for two)
MUST HAVE: Wine-marinated grilled chicken

They gave up their high-flying jobs to do what they wanted to. And the effect is there for all to
see. Suparno Roy, 32, an HR expert who worked in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chennai and even Orlando,
USA, came back to open a food truck with friends Karan Arora, 32 and Alok Mishra, 34. I travelled
across the country and was settled abroad for a while before deciding to come back to take care of my
ageing parents. Also, I would feel homesick. While abroad, I had seen a lot of food trucks, but the
concept was totally new in Kolkata, he said. Thank God It's Fresh started operating in September last
year, but Suparno said it took three of them at least a year to put the project together. Since the truck

is stationed mostly outside the Rabindra Sarovar Lake, the menu served is in keeping with the walkers'
needs. In the mornings, they serve all kinds of juices like pomegranate, orange, watermelon, among
others. There's something called a rabbit juice; it's made with carrot, orange and ginger. It's a big hit
with morning walkers. Also, there are stuffed omelettes in plenty. The food palette changes during the
course of the day and in the evening, we sell grilled items and sandwiches. The food is not oily and
those who come to breathe in fresh air gorge on fresh food, Suparno said. On offer is wine-marinated
grilled chicken, marinated for two days. The interesting bit is that there is no fire needed for the
cooking, which happens on an electronically operated set-up.


SECTOR V, SALT LAKE TIMING: 11.30 am -7.30 pm POCKET PINCH: (for two): `150-200 MUST
HAVE: Herb rice-teekha chicken aving completed his masters from NIFT, Kolkata H boy Bhavik
Singhania, 28, plunged headlong into the restaurant business. Foodie Roadie is his second venture and
the youngster explained, I wanted to bring hygienic and healthy meals to the streets. If I'm renting a
place, it's bound to burn a deeper hole in my pocket.

But here, since I have no recurring cost, I can offer products at a cheaper cost, he said. Foodie
Roadie came up in December and more trucks are waiting to be launched in February. We have a
base kitchen in Salt Lake, from where the food is brought to the truck, he said. During lunch hours,
the menu primarily comprises north Indian food, including herb rice, pulao, rajma, paneer makhani,
teekha chicken and chicken 65. The most popu lar instruction that comes to my kitchen is `no oil',
`no ghee'. Over the years, Kolkatans have become extremely health conscious and we keep this in
mind while developing the menu, he said. Post 4.30 pm, the menu offers snacking options like
burritos, falafel, nachos, tacos, sandwiches, and burgers. We use panko breading as the burger
coating in place of bread crumbs. It soaks in less oil, he said.


SN BANERJEE ROADCHOWRINGHEE CROSSING TIMING: 2 pm to 10.45 pm (winter); 4 pm to 11

pm (summer) POCKET PINCH: (for two): `100 MUST HAVE: Kathi rolls is is the first privatelyH owned

food truck in Kolkata and Indra Deb Chatterjee, 43, can't stop grinning from ear to ear. He was the
branch head of a home appliances company and would look into the business in Bengal, Sikkim,
Bhutan and Andamans.I had interest in food and introduced a whole new concept to Kolkata, he
said. The menu at the food truck offers everything from momos, kathi rolls, chicken lollipop, fish chop,
fish finger, fish batter fry, chicken spring roll and Chinese food, apart from parantha and kebabs. For
the past 11 years, I have developed a huge customer base.There are repeat customers, office-goers
and even those who place orders before heading to an IPL match. They pick up food on their way
home, he said. Indra, who is thinking of starting a new section for health freaks, said space is an
issue. In my 60 ft truck, 30 ft is the cooking area. I have been planning to introduce sandwiches, but
I'm yet to do it, he said. Indra has yet another passion -motorcycling. He has a Guinness record for
highest altitude achieved on a two-wheeler. I reached 20,488 ft and 9 inches on my motorcycle. My
food truck is born of a similar need to do something new, he said.