Accelerating its street food advocacy campaign, National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) in association with well known voluntary organization Nidan organized an all India Street Food Festival at historic Gandhi Maidan at Patna in Bihar from 22 to 24 March, 2013. This spring street food thunder added additional charm and flavour to the Bihar Diwas Mahotsav which was organized by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation. It was the maiden street food festival which the people of Bihar witnessed.
The event saw thousands thronging to the street food stalls. If footfalls are any indicator of the success of the food bonanza, this festival marking the Bihar Diwas celebration turned out to be a big success. The lips smacking items of 14 states being served at forty stalls, 15 from Bihar and 25 from other states, with 105 street food vendors drew thousands of foodies. The foodies made a beeline to savour the delight of street foods of southern states as well as of Punjab and West Bengal.
The three day event received good media response and attention of state government departments, especially the department of urban development, tourism and labour and welfare. A good number of political leaders, administrators/bureaucrats, intellectuals and journalists along with their family members and friends also turned up, enjoyed and lauded the efforts of organizations like Nidan and NASVI.
The major culinary attractions encompassed tastes, flavours and traditions of several states. The culinary attractions included Amritsari Naan, Paneer, Lassi, Makke ki roti with sarson ka saag and mushroom tikka, rabari, pizza from Punjab, chiken and mutton biryani from Andhra Pradesh, dosa, mysore bonda, pongal, payasam, chiken garlic dry and masala butter, pongula as well as varieties of pakora and pani puri from Karnataka, kappa khichdi and stew, green peas masala, puttu kutti, cheratta puttu and tomato chutney from Kerala, murukku, rawa upma, halwa tur daal from Tamil Nadu, special ginger mutton rice and liitti chokha, mal pua, makhana ka kheer and chhena ki jalebi from Bihar, chiken korma bread, soyabeen malai roll, vegetable kabab, paneer and chole bhature from Delhi, Bengali Fruit Chutney, Palng posto/boiled rice, moong dal aalo bhaja, Bengali Masala muri Ghanto, Jhingri mach/boiled rice, posto mach/boiled rice, Katla Mach, Rui Mach and Chilla, Churmur Chat from West Bengal, Dal Baffle, Moong Bare and Sabudana Khichadi, jarda and bhutte ka khees from Madhya Pradesh.
The chicken 65 from Dharwar in Karnataka served at the stall of street food vendor Narayanswami and Makke ki Roti with Sarson ka Saag and chipped Paneer at Patiala based food vendor Vasudev Saneja were among those items which became hit on all three days of the festival.
The festival again proved that nothing represents the rich tapestry of India’s multi-cultural fabric better than street food. The cuisine of a place speaks volumes about the weather, culture, lifestyle and habits of the people. Like travelling educates us like no book ever could, hundreds of street food with their diverse ingredients and aroma across different states and regions open a window into the world of people and give us a perspective of their lives and mores.
After successful finish, NASVI and Nidan demanded of the state government to create street food corners at all urban and semi-urban centers of the state. NASVI national coordinator and Nidan director Arbind Singh described the event as “a major street food advocacy intervention”, thanked the Bihar Government and its Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation for giving NASVI and Nidan an opportunity to organize such an event and called upon the state government to create food streets in all towns of the state.