12:00 AM, February 21, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 21, 2013

Shahbagh brings boon for street food vendors

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Anja Burri

A mobile street shop selling beef rolls and fried spicy items to the crowd of Shahbagh movement. Inset, another vendor making toasts with eggs. The photos were taken recently.Photo: STAR

A man balances a huge plastic bag filled with dough shells on his head. He hardly can make it through the crowd on Projonmo Chattar. Md Shahab Uddin, a seller of bhelpuri, is waiting desperately for that man. He has run out of the shells to make the popular snack in the middle of the day.
“I have never sold more bhelpuris than here,” Shahab Uddin told The Daily Star recently. In spite of a huge competition, the sales are on a record high at the protest scene.
Compared to ordinary days, Shahab Uddin's sales have grown from Tk 2,000-Tk 3,000 to Tk 4,000-Tk 5,000 per day. The seller wants to spend some of the extra money for new food, but also for some furniture, he said.
Normally, one has to go to the New Market or some particular spots in the city to get bhelpuri. But since the food salesmen have installed themselves on Projonmo Chattar, this variation of fuchka is available next to other street food like fried lobster heads, shrimp pakora, mixed chola, guava and star fruit with mustard or puri.
Every salesman approached by The Daily Star appeared happy with the business. They profit not only by the crowds on Projonmo Chattar, but also by the visitors of the ongoing one-month book fair on the nearby Bangla Academy premises.
Md Nipob Hossain, a seller of spicy puffed rice, has almost doubled his sales. Normally, the light snack brings in about Tk 800 per day. But on the protest square his sales are around Tk 1,500 daily.
Next to the fried, spicy and salty specialties, healthier options like beautifully carved carrots, hog plums or cucumbers are also popular. Shaheen Rassel raised his carrot sales from Tk 1,000 to Tk 2,000 per day, he said.
For sweet lovers, Projonmo Chattar offers a wide range of savories--rice pudding, soan papri, candy floss or dried mango beside different types of candies.

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