20080408

WUH-dah POW

Read a post on Romila's blog: The lesson called life. She talks about college days and how the entire journey was an experience. Well it differs a lot here in the U.S. when we come as students. Instead of writing about the day to day experiences I will write few posts on what are the subtle differences that one experiences here.
Will love to get inputs from some others who are working or studying here.

To start off here is a post on Vada Pau (pronounced as WUH-dah POW - Wikipedia) - one of the most popular fast foods of Bombay. The closest food that one can find here is the Hot Dog.

A play on how Americans like to have their food - here is a take on how a simple snack can take a whole new meaning.

Image courtesy My Creative Ideas

Just for those who are not aware of how it is made - here is a link : (this is a video taken in Ahmedabad)

Now imagine Rangya frying the Vadas and Chandu putting them together - guys from the Bombay Streets - making Vada Pau their whole life were to come here - this is what they will have to face.

This part of the deal takes place in the kitchen behind:

1) Rangya will have to wash his hands from time to time. Everytime he touches anything besides the tools he is supposed to use or uses the bathroom - he will have to abide by the sign put up there "All Employees Must Wash Their Hands"
2) He will have to wear a shower cap made out of sweat absorbing material. This will also ensure that his hair does not fall into the preparation.
3) He will have to make sure that the oil he uses is disposed off every few hours - to maintain the taste and the potato mixture is fresh from the freezer - thawed to the correct temperature.

All of the above takes away the authentic taste that you find in the real Vada Pau.
Extra salt from sweat, the deep fried smell of Palmolive oil and an occasional hair washed with LifeBouy found in the Vadas.


4) Rangya will also have to deal with frying the vadas to have an aesthetic appeal as per the order - ranging from Lightly fried, to Normal to Well done (deep fried and almost brown).
If he does not pay attention to this detail chances are the order can be canceled or a manager (huh) can be called for or it will have to be on the house.

Now if you try telling this to him on a Bombay Street - Rangya will simply whistle and out of nowhere Munnabhai and his cronies will surround you and this will ensue

"Kya re shahane, tereko koi takleef hai kya - sale paisa nahi dega - kaan ke neeche do bajau kya" ( You have a problem paying for what you ordered)
"Aye Rangya, kitna deneka hai tereko - panch rupaya" (How much does he owe you Rangya - 5 bucks)
"Chal harami - pachaas ka pati nikal - khali fokut appna tem waste kiya" (Common cough up 50 bucks - you wasted our time)

Now this I dont see ever happening here - and miss it dearly.

Now over to Chandu who is putting the dish together. This part can happen in from of the customer or behind in the kitchen.

5) He will have to wear disposable gloves at all times when he puts it together.
6) Ask the customer his choice of bread - Regular, Wheat, Low Fat etc etc.
7) Take a knife and cut it precisely or the bread can be rejected.
8) He will have to ask at every step of the preparation:
- chutney? (which can be called relish here): One spoon or two
garlic powder? Sprinkled lightly or the amount till the customer says thats enough
This is to ensure that there are three different spice levels they cater to - Mild, Spicy or Hot
He might also be asked to put none and give it separately in a small container so the person can do it himself.
9) After this he will have to dispose of those gloves and wrap it up asking - For Here or To Go.
10) Finally at the time of billing - Sir/madam will you like to make it a meal plan - add a bag of chips and soda of your choice.
This whole experience can probably be had at Subway in India - have never eaten there so dont know.
The time taken for this exercise to make one dish - is equivalent to making atleast 25 of them.

Besides this here are the following information/instructions that they have to be prepared to answer:
- Kind of ingredients used lest someone has some allergies.
- What is the calorie content of the dish.
- How long before it gets stale - can it be reheated.
- To attract clientele they will have to have Kids menu with mini Vada Pau's and maybe throw in a Munnabhai collectible doll.

They will also have to have license to operate the business, liability insurance, fire extinguishers and handicapped accessible order station - or else they can be sued.

In contrast in Bombay they can get the license paying a small bribe, Munnabhai is the liability insurance, fire - WTF is that? and handicapped accessible is not even an issue.
____________________________________________________________________
Besides this just some other interesting observations or questions I have faced.

- Remember those pyramid thingies that you ordered - can you get me two of them.
They are talking about the Samosas.
- Examining the Samosa - they do understand how it is filled up - since there is a seam on it - but they are quizzed about "How did you manage to get these pototoes inside the outer crusty wrapper (most of the food is not made in full sight of the customer)
- Lastly they are fascinated with the Papadams - most places they are given as complimentary - one firangi dude called the waited and questioned him - the menu said the bread is soft and made in an oven - he confused it with the NAAN he had ordered reading the description on the menu.

Based on your input I will continue or change the upcoming posts.

109 comments:

romila said...

Wow! so much minor detailing to the making of one Hot dog alias Indi-Vada pau. No wonder they taste so "bland" to the Indian tongue (like my Indian friend immigrated to the US)says.

The mystery behind the making of the pyramid thingy:) is too funny.

Mez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mez said...

Haha..Classic observation Ceedy. I had a gud laugh readin it thanks! Well here also rest. are stickler abt cleanlines n stuff but not as picky a the US guys.Imagine 5 mint thing takin 25 mint.lol..whole fun goes away. What do they do wid gol gappas?

aneri_masi said...

SAhhhhhiii!!!! Mast hai :)

But, a BIG ewwwwwww on the "an occasional hair washed with LifeBouy found in the Vadas."

ewwww ewwww ewwwwww :) Am off to bed now, I just hope I don't dream about it! (I have very vivid and creative dreams!)

good night! ewwww ewwww ewwwwww :)

--xh-- said...

ha ha ha.. shai observation hein bhai.. vada paavu kee jai.. yeah, @ subway, we have the sme experience.. and they r bloody costly too ( :( )

m.flowerr said...

Got a good observation! Nice thoughtful blog!!

But a question....which is better? Indian Vada-Pau or the Amreeca version?

anuj said...

hmm .. I guess they can prolly manage that way more for the lack of population :D .. and rangya has to make the most in the day .. so the faster the better for him ..

point:

rangya will have to put his thela at a neat and clean place where you can't smell the sewer nearby .. and you as a customer will have to care that you dont drop a single aloo from the 'sabji' else you will have to pick it up and throw it in the bin ..

Cosmic Joy said...

Very funny comparison .. it does make one stop and think about the pros and cons between the two.

Pavi!!!! said...

Hhahaha! This made such a funny n goooood read! lol yet!

n yeah like cosmic said..it makes u think of pros n cons..
I wld like to blv that back in india too they wash their hands everytime they visit the loo(specially men) and that there is no hair in my food! if not....eeeeuuuuuuuuuu to both of that!
n i dont want to know how many calories my food is or all the other nitty grittys! i don care if they use the same oil again n again or if the food has collected some dust coz its road-side..prefer developing my innuty towards all of that!

I'm craving vada-paav now. Will call my MIL n ask her to parcel some for me;-)

Cinderella. said...

Ha ha ha ha ha...this was amazing !!!!

And I ditto Aneri with the,

"...an occasional hair washed with LifeBouy found in the Vadas.".....

Eeeeewwwwwwwwwwwww.............

Waiting for the next...
The entire description was done with such clarity, that is awesome.
great job.
Will wait for the next rocker...

Neeku said...

you are making me hungry already :P

Anvita said...

Ceedee that was a good one again hehe,just wondering a couple of things
Is green chutney always mint sauce there?
Is Naaaaan Bread and Butter Chicken very famous there eh?

SambY said...

wow....u have compared the two situations so interestingly...sir do continue...and post about more experiences...and comparisons...

gunj said...

well here in delhi even though we dont hav d signature vada pav but we do have its variations...but i still go to subway!!

i guess its all about the grass being greener on d other side!!
a funny post...liked wat d indian will have to endure in d US:P

Joy said...

:) :) But the mention of vada pavs has made me hungry !!

Nalin said...

Being a typical north indian(yeah yeah.....m not scared of u MUMBAI INDIANS...lol), i cant remember if i have ever tasted vada pav, but after reading ur post, if i ever get my hands on it, the picture of rangya's sweat, or hair or dirty hands will surely come in my mind, i may reconsider my choice and order something else :);) .But i believe it wud be same in case of any fast food or road side carts (thela);and surley, these things like samosa and other desi junk foods have their own charm in our lives.For now,i jus hope subway adds vada pav on its menu...... ;)

gud one dude....made me feel hungry :)
p.s.-how do u manage to find such cool and rare videos?

KP! said...

hahaha...now i know how to make indian hot dog with clean and healthy.....lolz.

to taste the authentic wada pav...i must go to bombay...:).

d SINNER!!! said...

Had fun readin it...

applauds for ur observation...

:)

vEENs said...

LOL.. whatta observation :D

well the hair strand lifeboy wasked.. that was.. a no-no :P

Munnabhai and his cronies.. LOL

baaki mast post :D

Abreysham said...

detailed observation = interesting reading.

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

Your college days are wonderful and making VADAPAO or HOTDOG are really nice.

c e e d y said...

@romila - yeah the entire experience is funny. its not like this always on the roadside but most places are almost paranoid...

c e e d y said...

@mez

glad you liked it and it made you laugh - yeah it takes the fun out of everything

and gol gappa is only available at select indian stores where you get the dish laid out separatly without instructions - not like in india where the guy makes each and puts it in our plate

c e e d y said...

@aneri_masi

thanks and I agree ewwww but hey thats a reality - you know how things are on desi streets :)

btw did you dream about it

c e e d y said...

@-xh-

when there is a lot of choice - then things become costly...thanks for the appreciation

c e e d y said...

@m.flowerr

thanks - definately indian vada pau - the biggest difference is in the bread - we dont get "ladi" pau like in india - they use burger breads at most places and they get soggy and are sweet....plus vadas are made to taste as per the restaurant -could be gujarati taste, or south indian or punjabi not the authentic marathi taste

c e e d y said...

@anuj

yeah - patience is really a virtue here....

and as far as I know and have travelled withing US - I have not seen open sewers anywhere - so that is out of question.

c e e d y said...

@cosmic
yeah - just taking a step back - we are lucky to have best of both the worlds as long as we can see that....

c e e d y said...

@pavi

yeah as I said to cosmic - we are lucky to see both the sides and pick the ones that make us happy
the handwashing, hair is just some observation - specially in bombay with the pollution lurking over - how does the guys washing hands even matter......

and the rest of the things you mentioned is very personal - i know ppl who stay here for a year and they are all paranoid about eating back home on the road....so the observations

and please ask your MIL to ship me one too :)

c e e d y said...

@cinderella

thanks - it is really an experience - next one will be on my experiences with coffee - some really funny things have happened.

c e e d y said...

@neeku

i guess everytime i talk about food i hurt you :P
i owe you a big treat anytime - k deal

c e e d y said...

@anvita

yeah they dont understand green chutney - it has to be specified as crushed cilantro (dhaniya) with green chillies and mind leaves - with salt and some indian spices

as far as i know - indian food here still comes under the "exotic" banner so it is a little more expensive - yeah butter chicken and tandoori chicken are very common and famous....

naan for them is a soft fresh bread out of flour baked in an open clay oven - there are places here that have the tandoor that makes boti kababs, naans and rumali rotis behind a glass so that the customers can see it....i guess you find that in some restaurants in india - copper chimney in bombay has that feature

c e e d y said...

@samby

thanks will do so soon next one is coffee

c e e d y said...

@gunj

its just showing what different cultures worry about and enjoy - i prefer to enjoy these subtleties than complain

c e e d y said...

@joy
just go up route 27 you will find a lot of them

c e e d y said...

@nalin
i owe you a treat then - vada pau's on me and they will be clean

yeah i wish subway to adds samosas and vadas here life will be so good.....they have their charm i agree - its our identity

and about the videos i guess i am blessed :P

c e e d y said...

@kp

cool - are come here man - it is close to india - in june i treat you to vada pau

c e e d y said...

@d sinner

thanks - wait for the next one

c e e d y said...

@veens

glad you liked it :)

will write more :)

c e e d y said...

@abreysham

short comment - intense appreciation

c e e d y said...

@raghu

thanks :)

carolinagal said...

At the risk of getting laughed at and made fun of, I will admit that I have never had a vada-pav in my life! And after seeing this video, and reading about the "special ingredients" in this food, I don't think I will ever try it.

Nevertheless, you made a funny story out of it:) Nice comparison of the fast-food joints in both countries.

Prats said...

**oil he uses is disposed off every few hours
Lol....just imagine if our bhiayya were to do that here....the authenticity of his vada-pau would be all in pieces...
the choices are not given...oh oh....we have a long way to go ...but I stick by the lifeboy washed hair and the whistling boy :)


You missing vada pau are you????

c e e d y said...

@carolinagal

why would you be laughed at - this is very specific food from bombay - adapted all over but not as famous as and easily available everywhere

besides there are cleaner places where you can get them....

this was just a comparision :)

c e e d y said...

@prats

yeah and no - i miss the authentic one - do get it here but its not the same - and so is bhel, pani poori and many others snacks :)

SambY said...

well i am in the lab now and i saw the vids now!!

τ ħ€ ĐάЎđяёάmёя said...

it was a wonderful read...
a grt insight for the life of vadapav in US :D
u can write a book named
"vadapav chala US"

I fink egyptian will now have to patent their pyramids before American patent the samosa wid the name of "The pyramid"

lol


"Extra salt from sweat, the deep fried smell of Palmolive oil and an occasional hair washed with LifeBouy found in the Vadas."

the fst thing came in my mind was..
our golgappes and chat ..
I think the above ingredients make them taste awesome and thus famous
lol


now U r bookmarked :)

phoenix said...

OMG!!!! ceedy at his best!
i had forgotten what a genuis you are it just took reading of this post to be reminded why i am a part of the ceedy fan club!you are simply the best!

very enlightening post this is!lol!

Cinderella. said...

The name 'Rangya' reminds of another such name 'Pakya'...lol !!!!

Dunno why though....ha ha ha

c e e d y said...

@samby

cool - i get this from many people in india - they are not able to see the videos :(.....I dunno what to do - hope you enjoyed them

c e e d y said...

@ the daydreamer

welcome to the jungle!!!!

there are many funny stories one can write about food and our cultural differences and the questions and commotion that can arise.

what happens is many people just go on a defensive and "fink" that the other is insulting their culture - but its not always so - and the advantage is even if you dont know why certain things are done you can weave a tale and they think its the RIGHT thing...

welcome and thanks for blogrolling....

c e e d y said...

@phoenix

thanks for the generous words and welcome back to the mad house :)

glad you liked it

c e e d y said...

@cinderella

haha - pakya stands for Prakash - thats the name of mah dad - and I address him like that when I call from here....should have used it....

next time :)

Noushy Syah said...

wow!! You are so observant dude!! But enjoyed reading...vada-pau..sounds like a Chinese word of 'PAU' or 'PAW'
:)

Have a gr8 weekend Ceedy..I've tagged you with this simplest ever tag you could imagine...:) hope you don't mind:)

http://panasians.blogspot.com/2008/04/love-link-tag.html

TC my friend.

puresunshine said...

id settle for hygienic food whatever it maybe. nice music tho.

c e e d y said...

@noushy

thanks for the cninese version ;)

yeah PAW does really sound like that

and I left you a msg on your post

have a gr8 weekend :) dear friend

c e e d y said...

@puresunshine

I guess you skimmed thru the post as I was not talking about eating here - it was more of the difference in attitudes in India n the US towards hygiene and taste

τ ħ€ ĐάЎđяёάmёя said...

very true

may be an american will hav the same tale if he finds about hot dog's reaction from a country man :P

'garam kutta :O
bhaiiya nagaland chale jaoo..wohi milega :D'


and the masala pizza and our thele wala chilly chicken :D italian n chinese may start a war :P

c e e d y said...

@day dreamer

thats a cool observation too :P

yeah a global food war on desi turf - appun sab kuch khata hai par appne ishtlye me kya - garam masala rocks :)

Amit said...

wow..wow...wow..good one..man..!

truly classic observation as Mez said.. i like this post ...

also..things are changing here.. like jomboking and goli are the chain vada pau stores in mumbai...these days.. but i dont think they can even dream of opening a store there..! over n above... i think u almost scared them..lolzzzzz

Cinderella. said...

Really ?! You do ?!!
And he doesnt mind that ?!!

Oh btw, if 'PAkya' comes in the next, i want my share of credits...ok !

Anjuli said...

sahi sahi....

Sutta said...

Kya jhakaas post likhela hai tu bidu.. wah wah!! Issi baat pe chal tu apun ki taraf se aaj ek vada sa pau kha lena. :)

Mez said...

Yup gol gappas are served the same way here. And that real theekhapan is also missin.

:: Clouds :: said...

"an occasional hair washed with LifeBouy found in the Vadas."

makes me wanna puke. :|

but it was a nice foodie post.yesyes!

Ankur said...

u missed one thing... the cost and the bargain...

nowdays the wada pao costs 5/6 rs at places... sowhen the guy says... 5 rs... kya re..itna mehnga.... aisa kya hua... abe tere ko dhandha karne ka hai ki nahi...

kya be.. mirchi par namak nahi hai... laga ke de

hello bhaiya... ek samosa pav... aur teekhi chatni thodi jyada :D

waise all the fun lies in eating the wadas with extra salt as u said ;)

and haan... kya be shaane, tere ko acha banana aata hai na.. le idhar aa .. aur banake de mere ko :P

hehehehe

its so much fun man!!!

c e e d y said...

@amit

yeah man!!! i think I scared them

thanks for your input....

I will check jumboking and goli next time I come home :)

c e e d y said...

@cinderella

you got it....pakya will be here soon :)

c e e d y said...

@anjuli

thanks :)

c e e d y said...

@sutta

kha liya baap - lekin taste me bahut farak tha ;)sala namak hi nahi tha

c e e d y said...

@mex
exactly the "real" taste in anything and everything misses....home sweet home

c e e d y said...

@clouds

hahah but thats sometimes the bitter truth

thanks

c e e d y said...

@ankur

good points - i did miss the pricing and sublime competition between amateurs :)

cool thanks man!!!

authentic street fun and ambiance is something very hard to replicate

Compassion Unlimitted said...

Hmm..What a write up that was !
Tasteless indian food in USA,with the prime ingredients (listed out by you dramatically )missing !!
Some days back I thought of making a visit there ,now I change my plans.Of course till the desi cooks influx happen there and the food tastes are more authentic
Enjoyed the write up man
TC
CU

c e e d y said...

@CU

dont let it deter your trip :)

I can cook really well and its authentic - you are welcome anytime :)

Abreysham said...

btw I had gol-guppas over the weekend and I asked him to make it extra spicy- have ended up with desensitized taste-buds- but it was worth it! :-D

Enigma said...

Zuperb!!!! loved it. have u had vada pavs at indian street at Journal Square ? They killed the spirit of the menu...

and so did for bhel and pani puri!!!

Anjuli said...

By the way, I love the song that's playing on ur page!

and I just saw on the feedjit page.....california arrived from maybeiamaddicted.blogspot.com, kaise?

Enigma said...

so did u get u were looking for ? dint see you online :Z

c e e d y said...

@abreysham

desensitized taste bud ;) and what about smoke from the ears, tears from heaven, scratchy feeling in the throat and head and wet sleeve cleaning your dripping nose.....

yeah man its fun all the way - kya baat hai

c e e d y said...

@enigma

yeah the taste here is americanized....but hey its still some desi flava food so I dont complain

and what did you mean by I got what I want???

c e e d y said...

@anjuli

yeah - thats bambay meri jaan ;)

and left you a comment regarding your second query

m.flowerr said...

Next post pleeezzz...

Enigma said...

a new laptop i mean.

Suma said...

lol...

who said it i seasy to duplicate authenticty overseas?

and enjoyed teh last few observations...:D

Mez said...

U changed my name to Mex..lol

Smartphone said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anvita said...

@ceedeey just out of the blue r u a foodie eh?(just out of curosity) yur descriptions are pretty good eh?

c e e d y said...

@m. flowerr

sometime this week - just caught up with things

c e e d y said...

@enigma

nope - it might not come till next month!!!!

c e e d y said...

@suma

thanks - glad you liked it - its not that bad atleast here in New Jersey - but some parts yes...

c e e d y said...

@mez

oops sorry about that - z and x reside next to each other on the keyboard - x was over for a party

c e e d y said...

@anvita

i only eat half the world - I am eggetarian by choice - and I eat everything under that banner - so am a foodie....

and descriptions - it is kinda here - one has to learn to be explicit about how everything is....my next post will be on a simple cuppa coffee and you will see what happens :)

Cinderella. said...

Update plz !

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Ceedy,
Very nice and eruditely written. You just made a parallel view of how it's done in a first world country and a semi developed country. There will always be cultural differences. You just made a dissertation of some of those differences. The way you do things in India maybe similar to how we do things here in the Philippines minus those cultural differences. Waiters do not ask questions here on how your dish is to be done. You just order it and they will deliver it to you. It's as simple as that. Maybe in the plushiest restaurants here they will ask you how your steak is to be done- medium, rare or well done. And that's just about it. I dislike waiters who are like the common switchboard on a computerized telephone line. For information on your your query press one, etc., etc. Thanks for the humorous post. I really like it. God bless.

c e e d y said...

@cinderella

caught up wid work!!! will update soon

c e e d y said...

@mel

thanks - yeah I guess once you are over careful about anything - it looses its naturalness and becomes predictable and eventually boring

but it has its advantages - where there is a responsibility of every little action someone takes here - nothing is taken for granted

thanks for the real indepth comment.

have a nice day

Satish Bolla said...

arey ceedy bhai, the munnabhai sequence was awesome. i was showing this post to a mumbai colleague of mine and he nearly died(laughing). keep it up.
readers might even believe that this is ur part-time business.... ;)

c e e d y said...

@satish bolla

aye shane - tereko koi problem hai kya mai kaunsa dhanda karu ;)...yeah I loves bombay so much that I miss it everyday...

last time I was there - I kept 5 full days only to myself and walked all the areas I missed....thanks bud and hi to your friend

Anvita said...

oke mine is the 100th comment ;) hmmm thought as much yur a foodie, so am I but the way you describe is perfect man.....heheh so looking fw for yur next post....

Satish Bolla said...

if it took u 163 hours for 100 comments, it would take me a life time to get the same.
and comin to my last comment, sorry to have revealed ur part-time job..... ;) jus kidding.
good that, u've kept 5 full days for urself. i go to india every 6 months or so for a couple of weeks. but i never get time for myself

c e e d y said...

@anvita

thank you for the 100th comment - you are mentioned in my new post

c e e d y said...

@satish

ha kabhi bhai ka kuch kam pada to appun ko bolne ka kya...

yeah dude i can only got there one in a year or two....so I make sure that I keep time for myself - everyone else except my family does not know my real arrival date - for them I am coming next week ;)

Solitaire said...

I had to scroll down to check which post had a 100 comments..sadly, I felt nauseous reading it.

c e e d y said...

@solitaire
proly you are still sick...

*~*Sameera*~* said...

That was such a yummy post!Reminded me of the vada pao I had when I visited Mumbai some years back,nothing like it :)

Pri said...

ahh a mouth watering post...

how cruel!! now i really wanna go to mumbai only to have that 'chabeeldas' vada-pav :(

this post goes in my records for being an 'alltime fav' from ur collection :)

cheers!!

ceedy said...

@sameera

thank you - i am reminded of it in my dreams and nightmares ;)

ceedy said...

@pri

thanku for the tareef ke fool :)

go have an extra one at chabildaas....damn you are making me "nostalgic"

and for the all time fav - i will treat you to all you can eat vada paws....how abt that