These pictures are from Wednesday night in Ahmedabad:
Non-vegetarian and eggitarian food delicacies are still being served on Gujarat streets.
Although there is still no official word whether there was a drive or a decision to do away with non-vegetarian food away from public view on Gujarat roads, the ‘experiment’ evoked national response and could be why Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Gujarat State BJP President C R Paatil have made it a point to publicly emphasise that people in Gujarat have the right to eat whatever they want.
The drive at present is against encroachment and not non-vegetarian food, they said.
At least four five star hotels in Gujarat also say that most people who come to enjoy their non-vegetarian delicacies are Gujaratis.
Gujarat consumes more non-veg than Punjab, contrary to popular belief, data shows. The consumption ratio of meat in Gujarat is 39.5% in comparison to 33.23% in Punjab. The ratio speaks for itself.
With numbers on their side, then why is the issue not being spoken about or questioned? Team VOI surveyed a few top cafes and restaurants in the city to understand the ground reality.
Harshal Patel, manager of Subway (IIM road) has been serving the food chain for 10 years now and knows his customers and the demographic. According to Patel, the joint never faces any issue in the order intake. “The ratio ( of non-veg and veg food) is 50-50, we do not face any issues.”
According to Khuman Singh, manager at Mirch masala, the demand is balanced. “Non-veg and veg menus, both have equal demand. Very rarely do vegetarian customers create an issue regarding veg food being cooked with non-veg food. Those who eat non-veg sometimes lie about their food preferences. The point is those who want to eat will eat and those who don’t want to will not.”
“This difference shouldn’t be there, it happens as people who don’t eat make the non-veg eater feel guilty. The speciality of Mirch masala is balti chicken, chicken desi style etc, ” Singh added.
Pramod Pant, manager of The Upper Crust Cafe wanted to call out the hypocrisy. “This situation is just like a family going on a trip to Goa, where the parents may allow their children to consume alcohol even when they don’t consume it in their homes and this hypocrisy needs to change.”
This popular cafe initially began as a non-vegetarian joint. However, interestingly, it changed its menu to pure vegetarian as it wasn’t able to pull in enough business with the previous menu. According to Sanjay Chetri, manager, Turquoise Villa, “Most Jain people and youngsters here do eat non-veg but secretly. They don’t let anyone know if they are eating or enjoying the food. For non-veg, we have to take special permission from the society or municipal corporation so that there’s no objection or dispute. There have been instances when youngsters are eating non-veg and their parents enter, so they run and hide in a corner.” He also added that a lot of residential societies are extremely strict regarding non-veg food being cooked or served in their premises.