Business of `home` food thrives
Kolkata: Rice, dal, brinjal fry, vegetables, fish or mutton curry, with some chutney thrown in...sounds just like home food? That`s what Kolkatans are loving about the many new services that promise healthy, homely and reasonably priced food.
Working couples, the elderly, bachelors - basically anybody unable or unwilling to spend time in the kitchen and at the same time loathe to eating out because of rich and oily food - are part of this new trend in Kolkata. A few people like it so much that they have practically shut down their kitchens!
Some of the most popular services providing home-cooked food are Bordi`s Rasoi, Aahar, Dui Burir Hessel, Born Bong and Aap ki Passand.
"It is not possible for working couples to eat out at restaurants regularly because that could affect their health. We even have customers who have been availing themselves of our service for the last three years for 365 days round the year," said Captain Robin Roy of Bordi`s Rasoi, a home delivery service agency.
Rama Sarkar, 70, is one such customer.
"We have closed our kitchen for the last one year except for tea and coffee and simply avail of two square meals from home delivery services. As the food is home cooked, it suits our appetite too," said Sarkar.
Many old people opt for it as their children are abroad and they don`t have anyone to help them cook.
Serving traditional Indian food, these services give anything on demand - from Chinese to Mughlai cuisine - to suit the taste buds of their varied clientele.
A fish meal from a home delivery service costs Rs 30-45. An average meal consists of rice, dal, potato fry/brinjal fry, vegetarian curry, fish curry and chutney.
The vegetarian meal comes home at Rs 25-45. The meal consists of rice, dal, potato fry/brinjal fry, two kinds of vegetarian curries and chutney. Sometimes curd is also served with vegetarian meals.
The chicken/mutton meal from a home delivery service costs about Rs 55-70.
Special dishes such as hilsa bhapa (hilsa curry), chingri macher malai curry (lobster curry) cost Rs 60-100 per plate.
Pressed for time or simply bored of cooking, many Kolkatans are exercising the option of ordering these meals.
"My husband and I work in MNCs. So we hardly get time to cook our own food, and instead depend on home delivery services because the food is home cooked, rich in nutrients and prepared in hygienic conditions. And they give you all kinds of homemade dishes," said Gargi Adhikary, a working woman.
They also provide lunch boxes to offices across the city just like the dabbawallas in Mumbai do.
"Our customers are mostly nuclear families and elderly couples. Most of the families comprise three to four members and both husband and wife are working," said Shreya Dasgupta of Aahar home delivery service.