BRANDING BIHAR THROUGH FOOD
By Uday Sahay
For over 30 years, as a non-resident Bihari in Delhi, I yearned for a regular supply of cuisines from my state; I dreamt of a food joint which is heigenic, reasonably priced, authentic and of all not just Litti-Chokha; I wish I could brand my state on the strength of its music, painting and food. Took years before my dream could turn into a reality.
The politics of Delhi changed with its changing demographic profile in the last 3 decades – Biharis’ migrant population reportedly swelled over 60% – but market food supply chain never caught up until some enterprising very small timers started selling Litti-Chokha on Thelas and Khokhas In Laxmi Nagar and Malviya Nagar. But these joints could not move up beyond Litti Chokha in the cuisine ladder and also could not address the issue of heigine satisfactorily. Then came up an upmarket ‘Pot Belly’ patronised by Bihar Bhavan in Chanakya Puri. It was hygienic and high aesthetic joint, yet cost was an issue. So was the low quantity supplied for high cost. It got caught up in cream da la cream whirlpool of Biharis of Lutyen’s Delhi. Therefore the best was yet to arrive.
Bihar-ki-Rasoi – run by an all women cooperative society of 6 states – in INA’s Dilli Haat came as an answer to the spirit of the time in the capital last year. Imagine, till last year Dilli Haat housed permanent stalls from all major States, but none for a state from where 60% of city’s population hail.
Front-led by its dynamic President, Archana Singh, an alumnus of Patna Women’s College, the joint today has become the rightful claimant of high quality, reasonable cost and a high hygiene standard of its multiple cuisines on sale. Said Archana, “surprisingly a lot of non-Biharis are repeat visitors to Bihar-Ki-Rasoi today and very soon, we are planning to start the home delivery as well.”
Set up in 1999 as a not-for-profit society meant for women resource development, the cooperative has come a long way. “We provide training, raw material, credit linkage, designing and packaging support to the marginalised women who help create handicraft, handloom and food products, Archana Singh beams.”
A must-visit food joint for mouth watering pick of Litti-Chokha Special, Daal Pittha, Patna Market Chaat, Bihari Thaali and hoarders of seasonal home made pickles among more than 5 dozen other Bihari cuisines and food products.
Seated left, Archana enjoyed interacting with SAUV’s team – Sharanya, Kuldeep, and Pallavi Prasad – to narrate her success story. And soon it dawned on us that it is not just her story, but a story of empowerment of more than 5000 women from Bihar.
Bihar-Ki-Rasoi is permanently located in Delhi Haat, opposite INA market or INA Metro station
Photo: UDAY SAHAY
Courtesy: Uday Sahay FB Post