October 4, 2005

The Way to an NRI’s Wallet

I reckon our Mysore cooks, from Ramya’s (butter masala), Mahesh Prasad (vada-sambar) or Vidyaranyapuram GTR (set-dosa), can make a killing, if only they can relocate themselves in the US. Where Indian food joints are a thriving business. In California Bay Area you find the Udipi, the Woodlands, the Bhimas, and the Saravanaa Bhavan. I am told Sri Krishna Sweets have joined the bandwagon.
During my current US trip we took a drive to Sunnyvale the other evening for an eat-out at Saravanaa Bhavan. It was a good 40-minute, on the freeway, at 60 mph, from my place, San Ramon. We had to wait for over 30 minutes for a table for four. A ‘dosa’ and ‘vada’ each, some sweet and two-by-three coffee (ordered two glasses to be shared among three) set us back by $50 plus. Which goes to show the lengths to which NRIs go for ‘desi’ food.
I don’t know about the way to his heart, but the way to an NRI’s wallet is through his stomach. They may be dime a dozen in Mysore, but cooks who can turn out a tasty meal are hard to come by in the ‘land of opportunities’. An enterprising ‘mami’ can find self-employment, if she has a way with the dishes. She can build up a client base of 10 or 15 working NRI couples.
The hired cook takes over the kitchen of each client for an evening every week, to cook food needed by the NRI couple for the entire week. The ‘mami’s’ sambar, palia and vattha kozhambu can be held in deep freeze. Cooking for other people’s deep-freeze can be developed as cottage industry.

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