Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Sticking to the streets

April 16, 2005

Delhi- Clustering their services in one Connaught Place kiosk are four paan salesmen, each selling a different recipe of this perfumed and intoxicating digestive leaf from the kiosk’s cardinal points.

One very interesting thing we learned from two of the Nomadic Banquet participants, John Vijay Abraham and Sanjeev Shankar’s street food research at the IIT Bombay, is that street food vending is not always a step on the path to restaurantdom. A case in point, they stated is Muchhad Paanwallah, a paan kiosk in Mumbai named after an impressive ear to ear mustache of the owner’s father. The current owner, Jaishankar Tiwari has been immensely successful in his street-side paan business, so much so that his and the families of his four sons all live from it. If you can’t visit his kiosk in Mumbai it’s well worth checking out his website, where you can place orders for paan online.

In the Nomadic Banquet workshop in Delhi, we discovered street food vendors are an integral part of the social fabric and this is likely to be the greatest asset they offer a community. Muchhad Paanwalla is immensely successful and Tiwari chooses to continue selling from his kiosk instead of going upmarket like oh so many smart cigar shops. This is important for us to realise as the perception persists that the street is an undesirable place (for a vendor) - as if the street is merely a stepping stone on the road to ’something better’. The success of Muchhad Paanwallah and others like him prove that exactly the opposite is true.

Muchad Paanwallah

debra at 9:33 | | post to


  1. I love your blog and all its fascinating photos! I will definitely link to it.

    Comment by Suebob — April 17, 2005 @ 7:59

  2. You just made my puny little day!

    Comment by debra — April 20, 2005 @ 18:04

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