|By Rajat R., Mangalore [ Published Date: April 9, 2011 ]|
This coastal city is a gourmet’s delight. It has lured people from all over the world, it has bowled over Americans, British, Australians and from all parts of the world with its delectable local delicacies, but the time has come for the local Mangaloreans to get hooked on to the international cuisine as well.
The latest fad that is moving them is the Arabic cuisine. They are hunting the places that are serving the spicy, wholesome and tasty Arabic food. The city has seen in the recent past a number of eateries have started a counter to cater the Arabic food. The first one was to appear in the city was in 2005 when Pop Tates was opened in the Emjay’s complex in Balmatta, “The Arabic food basically that the Mangaloreans liked included Shawarmas, Rotissrie chicken and spicy Kababs deep fried. People did like them and the demand was so big that my eateries exhausted the stock early night by 9pm which sent many late night diners without having a bite” says Mr. Anwar Manippady the owner of Pop Tates.
But much water flowed beneath the Nethravati bridge since then and Arabic eateries have started popping up everywhere in the city. The giant Shawarmas with Iranian roties stuffed with grilled Chicken shredded and mixed with generous cubes of onions, shredded cabbage, pickled carrots and special Iranian chillies served with a thick layer of mayonnaise and spicy home ground sauces, began to tickle the taste buds of the Mangalorean gourmets day in and day out. Today the city in the night is different with scores of people unraveling the mystic Arabian Shawarmas at throwaway prices like Rs. 35 per roll.
“They are quite sumptuous, they go well with any cola and a piece of rotisserie chicken, my weekends will never be complete without this combination after a couple of beers” said Vivek Mathur a techie who was drooling over his dinner in Chicken Lagoon in Bejai on Saturday. His Girl friend Melanie said before they used to like Chinese and were frequenting Pizza joints but now they both like to gulp down Arabic meal over a Cola and go to their solitude fully contented.
“On a typical weekend nights I sell about 220-250 Shawarmas in my outlet, on a week day nothing less than 175-180 of them. They are quite easy to prepare, the ingredients come ready made. We get the rotis from Kerala where the supplier imports it from Iran. The boneless chicken steaks we prepare ourselves and roast them on our open ovens to the required grade. The onions and other ingredients are locally available, but we need a perennial supply of gas to run the oven” said Mr. Ibrahim who is the Shawarma specialist in one of the joints in Urva.
When it comes to rotisserie chicken the cost is heavy, they come at Rs. 180 for full chicken but it requires two persons to fully consume it, “That way it is so good, it is a full meal in itself, I and my friend Raj almost every weekend take one full Chicken in the night with Two Shawarmas and our bill comes to only Rs. 250” says Neville D’Cunha of Bangalore who is working in one of the European car showrooms in Kankanady.
According to Mangalore City Corporation health department officials, there are atleast 70 outlets that have started serving Arabic food and more licences were on the pipeline.
Rathnakar Shetty - owner of an Arabic eatery in Valencia said “My establishment is brimming with customers throughout the week, I sell more carry home packs than I serve over the table, on Weekends my hands are full and I consider myself lucky if I can get my hands on one of my own Shawarmas for my dinner.” I wonder if there are more dishes of Arabic origin that is presently not being served in Mangalore, I will find out when I go next time to the Gulf" muses Naveed a Shawarma joint owner in the city.