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A tasty trip to the Avarekai food festival


Bangalore organized its 18th year of ‘flat bean fare’, most commonly known as Avarekai Mela in this winter season. In association with Sri Vasavi Condiments and the farmers from Magadi taluk have given snack stalls at Sajjan Rao Circle, VV Puram.

For every Banglorean this food street also known as Thindi Bheedi or Chat Street is not new, as VV Puram is the oldest street in Bangalore.
Karnataka’s best traditional cuisine, Chinese, chats and other delicacies out of an array of dishes in which Avarekai is the main element are served in this 300m lane on mobile food carts on both sides of the road.  The place is crowded almost every day of the year after the sunset and is open till the clock strikes midnight, but especially during ‘Avarekai Mela’ the atmosphere is like that of a carnival, there are long queues in front of each and every stall.

Very few people know about Avarekai -are broad beans that are grown only in Karnataka in winter seasons. In english its known as "Hyacinth beans or flat beans “, in Tamil ” Mochai ” , in Gujarati ” Surti Papdi Lilva ” , in Marathi ” Vaal ” Rich in protein and fibre,this nutritious beans festival is to market almost 200 farmers from Magadi, to sell their produced Avarekai directly to the shopkeepers.

The Avarekai festival was launched for the first time with a total of 1000kgs of avarekai bought directly from the farmers. Almost 1000Kgs of Avarekai beans are purchased from these farmers on each day of the food festival to increase the popularity of the food carnival and growing of Avarekai.

Geetha Shivkumar, Proprietor of Vasavi Condiments recipes are followed in the food festival. “In the early years, she would cook herself. But now the demand is so much that we have cooks who follow her recipes. Every year we try and introduce one new item.” says her daughter Swathi. Every year a new item made with Avarekai is prepared in the food festival. Last year a special item was introduced- the avarekai jahangir and Avarekai pickles and this year they introduced Avarekai rings.

Another historical story is there related to the Avarekai beans. It is said that King Vira Ballala II in the 12th century came hunting to a place which is now popularily known as Yalahanka in Bangalore.He lost his way and took shelter in an old woman’s house who offered him boiled beans to eat. He was pleased with the gesture and named the place Bendekaluru (‘the town of boiled beans’) which later became Bengaluru.

The annual Avarekai festival in VV Puram street is where you should try your taste buds in different cooked authentic foods with fresh farm sourced Avarekai beans. The food is wallet friendly, fresh and tasty and most importantly it is prepared in front of you and the hygiene is well maintained. With so many culinary options a few recommendations would be avarekai dosa, aaki roti, honey jelabis, gobi manchurian roll, potato twisters, gulkan kulfi, avarekai nipattu and avarekai pani puri. Going in groups proves to be more beneficial as people get the opportunity to taste more items from the food carnival.
Vaishnavi, a visitor at the food festival on Saturday said

“avarekai is the only element that can enhance the taste of dosa like this without even staggering the taste of the dosa.”

Sujit a regular visitor at the Avarekai food festival said

“we spent almost an hour still couldn’t taste all dishes that are famous, so we packed some of the items to relish the taste at home.”

The prices being so reasonable, an entire family can eat without even digging a big hole in their pocket. The stalls open at 6:00P.M and it is suggested to visit the food fest as early as possible to avoid crowd. Bangalore portrays its finest food culture in this 18-days-long food carnival and it has become an essential part of the city’s socio-cultural part.









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