30 May 2017 | Last updated 01:20 PM

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Meals on wheels
Amrita Prasad | Thursday, 20 April 2017 AT 09:39 PM IST
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Not only is the number of food trucks growing in Pune, but more and more of them are serving homemade, healthy and hygienic food.

What makes India a gastronomic hub? Undoubtedly its street food, which is not only lip-smacking but also light on the pocket. But when it comes to hygiene, they don’t score high. However, if you are looking for clean street food, try food trucks. In the last two years, despite the craze for fine dining, the urge to eat authentic cuisines and the existence of many iconic restaurants and cafes in Pune, the number of food trucks has grown in different parts of the city. Serving cuisines from around the world, they are revolutionising the concept of street food. 

Most of these food truck owners are young, energetic, know their customers’ palate well, have travelled extensively and a few of them are also professional chefs who have worked at five star hotels, hence what they serve is of good quality and pocket-friendly too. 

The food trucks are mostly designed by the owners as per the equipment needed to cook their menu. Also, after demonetisation, they have started accepting payments through mobile wallets and are willing to accept card payment for the convenience of customers.

What’s on the platter?
One of the best things about food trucks is each one is different from the other, offering a unique menu. Henry’s Gourmet, located in Wanawadi, is famous for its mouthwatering waffles and is the only food truck in Pune dedicated to satisfy your sweet tooth. Henry Mirchandani, owner of the food truck, has been travelling to different countries and has worked earlier in Africa. Their Dark Belgium Chocolate Mousse and Red Velvet Waffle is their speciality.

Similarly, Burgertron Food Truck located in Baner and Wanawadi, is run by three partners Mihir Rajurkar, Sheena Anand and Zubair Nargund. Nargund worked in London and Oberoi Hotel, Dubai, as a chef. Burgertron is famous for their Delicious Crab Burger, Chicken Burger and BBQ. 

As the name suggests, Boston Food Truck in Wakad, owned by Anand Jamdhale, has been inspired by the food trucks of Boston. Jamdhale, who studied at Boston University, even owned a food truck in the USA. The truck serves thin crust Pizza, Pasta and Burgers.

Rashi Majithia and Pratik Shetty, owners of Baner-based L’dorado Food Truck, have worked at Taj Hotels in the past and have now started their own food truck. Majithia’s aspiration was to give junk food a homemade spin. They serve fresh chicken preparations and make their own barbecue sauce and teriyaki sauce. Their exceptional and must-try dish is Disco Fries.

Aundh-based Breaking Bread (popularly known as Kadak) which completed a year, recently received the Best Food Truck award by Burrp! Best known for its Hot Mess — a unique dish inspired from Donor Kebab, has Baked Beans, French Fries, Salsa and Cheese for the vegetarians, and Chicken Mess for those who prefer non-veg. Owned by 20 something youngsters — Niraj and Nishith Shetty, Kaustabh Bhagnure and Niranjan Tilak, the truck serves mouthwatering dishes like Jerk Burger, Peri Peri Chicken Burger, Cottage Cheese and Potato Burgers, etc.

Tasty yet healthy
Food truck owners claim that the process of cooking in food trucks is transparent as the customer can see the preparation of their order. In terms of hygiene, cleaning of the food truck is done every morning and use of hair cap, gloves are mandatory. The raw materials used in cooking are also freshly bought. Most food trucks buy vegetables around 2-3 times a week and make their own sauces and patties.

Niraj from Breaking Bread says that their chefs have worked at hotels like Marriott and Oberoi where food quality and hygiene are given utmost importance. “The chefs know they have to serve the best, keeping health and hygiene in mind. We make the patty for burgers out of healthy items like chicken, vegetables which are prepared from fresh ingredients and served fresh. We do not keep leftovers to serve the next day. If we have some leftover, we give them away to the hungry,” says Niraj.

Although Henry’s Gourmet serves sweet dishes, it makes sure that they are not loaded with sugar. Says Mirchandani, “In waffles, we monitor the amount of sugar used. We also have customers who are on a diet, so we customise their order with less toppings and sprinkle little sugar powder. We get our chocolate from Belgium to ensure that we are not serving any artificial chocolate.”

The owners of Burgertron are into fitness and eat healthy food and they serve healthy food to their customers too. Says Nargund, “Our burgers are really healthy if you break them down. They have a healthy amount of protein, with meat and eggs, good homemade fat, and an adequate amount of carbs from the bread. So contrary to the belief that burgers are junk, they are a healthier options when compared to a lot of other junk food items like Pav Bhaji which is loaded with carbs.”
For Boston Food Truck, hygiene is a huge priority. They serve fresh food which is made in front of the customer and as the whole process is transparent, customers can see how the preparation is done.  Jamdhale claims, “There is no fridge in our food truck, so storing the food and serving it later is not possible. Everything is prepared fresh for the day.”

The author can be followed on Twitter @amu_prasad

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