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Chandigarh: Every evening, things change at the inner market in Chandigarh’s upscale Sector 8. The regular shops wind up business around 8 p.m. and the shoppers are gone. But the whole place lights up to a different world as the eating shops go full steam and the foodies literally come in hordes to satisfy their taste buds and hunger pangs.
For over a quarter of a century now, the Sector 8 inner market has firmly established itself as the drive-in or take-away evening food street in Chandigarh.
The swankiest of cars, the fashionistas and common people and lovers of the rich and hot (spicy) Punjabi food as well as popular bakery items line up here in good numbers to be part of the daily food activity that holds sway from 8 p.m. till past midnight.
The market, which was never planned by the local authorities to be a place for food joints, has evolved to be one on its own.
“This market is unique and amazing. You get a variety of Indian fast food here – from the tandoori, tikka and Chinese types to doughnuts to bakery products. The entire experience of coming here and having food while sitting in the comfort of your car is something special. You don’t even have to dress up in your best clothes to be here since you are most likely not even going to step out of your car,” food enthusiast Ramanjit Singh told IANS, as he enjoyed tandoori chicken and doner kebab wraps with his friends in a swanky BMW.
While the oldest and the most popular eating joints in the market are Goldie’s Roost and Pick n Move, new ones like Tikka Freaks, Lava and others have sprung up by the dozen in the past one decade and seem to be doing good business. The market has nearly 30 eating joints, including leading outlets like ‘Subway’, Cafe Coffee Day and popular bakery shops like Monica’s, Sweet Nothings, Cakes and Stuff and others like a juice bar.
“It’s been a long time when we started here. I think it was around 1981. Our Goldie’s Roost and Pick n Move opened at almost the same time. Our Punjabi food is quite popular as is the Chinese and other varieties. Most people who come want to order food sitting in their cars or come for take-away. The food in this market has been popular for a number of years and the clientele seems to be growing,” Harbans Singh Sethi, who owns Goldie’s Roost, and was the first one to set up shop here, told IANS.
Goldie’s Roost, which started from just one booth in early 1980s, is now spread across five booths. It has a dining area too which can accommodate 25-30 people.
Police in the area have to keep a strict watch to ensure that people, sitting in their cars and ordering food, do not consume liquor on the sly.
“We have never encouraged people who are drinking in their cars to order food from our outlet. But sometimes, others do allow this kind of activity,” Sethi said.
The market and its food have surely built up their own space in the hearts, minds and stomachs of food lovers.
By Jaideep Sarin