Such pee-licious food! - Rachna cooks
Such pee-licious food!

Such pee-licious food!

Those yummy panipuris; hot, sizzling tikkis; bhuna bhuttas smeared with butter; buttery pav bhaji, yummy chinese fare and so many others are enticing enough to make our stomachs grumble and taste buds tickle. For all those who swear by the great street food, we seem to have finally uncovered the reason for their taste. It is pee! I mean apart from the dirty, unwashed hands; unhygienic utensils; sometimes nose droppings; flies etc., this seems to be an additive of choice of the roadside panipuriwala, juice fellow, or bhel khopcha. Read these incidents about a juice stall owner who was found peeing in the jar in which he made juice for his customers. When questioned he claimed that he was a diabetic, had no access to a toilet so had no qualms of peeing in the same container in which he prepared juice for his customers. The older incident is of a Thane bhel puriwala who was caught on tape peeing in the utensil in which he mixed his bhel.

As much as these incidents disgust us, we need to understand that with no sanitation facilities available to most of our population, many of them work under “excruciating pressures” of a different kind. They are forced to relieve themselves in unconventional ways. It applies to kirana store owners or just about anyone whose livelihood takes them on the roads where they hardly have access to toilet. What I fail to understand is why do it in the very vessel that is the source of your livelihood? Can’t you use something else to do your business in and then wash your hands well. Oh but there is a lack of water, so you can be pretty certain that most of them don’t wash their hands or maintain any level of hygiene and then use these same hands to prepare your yummy goodies.


I wonder what the condition is in most restaurants that we eat out in. Is there anything known as FDA inspection? Are we strengthening our digestive systems or making ourselves vulnerable to diseases by eating out? We don’t know if the cooks and handlers do maintain any hygiene at all because the kitchen areas are normally out of bounds. At any eatery, do visit the rest room, if it is filthy, scoot. Also, most men who are waiters just are not in the habit of washing their hands after using the loo for peeing. So, even when the water and loo facilities are there, they must be just doing the same and then serving you the food with a smile.


A relative of mine had a horrifying experience when she ate at the most renowned Biryani place in Hyderabad. She found a cockroach in her chicken wings. Luckily, she was vigilant enough. This is a hugely reputed place in Hyderabad! The staff was not even too apologetic about it. They offered to replace it. Right, that is exactly what she wanted, some more of the coated insects!


When you eat out, ignorance is bliss! Close your eyes and shoo away the images of pee and poop. Bon Appétit!

Pic courtesy:

109 thoughts on “Such pee-licious food!

  1. You are horrible, Rachna!!! I love street food–I love panipuris..I love everything street. Now…I will not forget your article..bawlllll.Oh what do I do now?

    1. Well, now you know what adds the extra flavor :). And,that was my intent that you be careful when you eat out. Panipuri is yummier when made at home. I make it regularly. Ping me and I will send you the recipe :).

    2. Pattu, you are laughing??? Madam Rachna, I have no time to make pani puris and mine can never taste as good as others…:(:( Maybe I can think it is pee therapy like Moraji Desai! LOLBut I got the point Rachna. Thanks for sharing it with us so brutally!

  2. eegh..feel like puking..true ignorance is bliss..I had heard about people kneading the flour with their feets and all that, but this takes the cake and bakery too..

  3. Mani’s hotel @ Matunga ,very near to Ruia & Poddar colleges in Matunga,Mumbai has an open kitchen.Come to think of it -but for these people, we would not have gained so much immunity ! Hence,we must look for the positive side always !After reading this ,many people would swear off street & outside food -that is for sure !

    1. Thank you for visiting my space, Vasu! You know even the Udupi outlets in Bangalore like Adiga’s etc. are very clean. They have open kitchens where you can see how they cook or handle their food. This is about ethics and personal values too. I believe that the person who feeds must be even more cautious about hygiene. I cook regularly and I am paranoid about cleanliness. Looks like most people in the hospitality industry don’t care! They need to be ostracized. I am not saying swear off. Watch the outlets, be aware of the facts and then use your good judgment :).

  4. yuckkkk….When I firs saw the title, I wondered what could it be? when I saw the picture, my mouth was watering and I was about to comment without reading it. Somehow, my sixth sense said, why hurry? read it. And goosebumps all over my body. God, how I love panipuris? Especially those made on the streets. Now, whack…seriously. Ignorance is bliss…Is there a way I can forget that I read this post? unbelievable. How can people do that? I know how it is for them. Even though the govt. is setting up public restrooms, they are not there everywhere and quite far from their locations. I want to shun the idea of eating out..good eye opener..:)

    1. Good, you did not comment before reading the post! It would have made for a hilarious comment then ;-). Well, as sick as it is, this is happening. Be aware and bring such people to book. Besides be demanding in what you expect from others who feed you.

  5. Rachna, good that you highlight FDA. Maybe, in US they do their job sincerely. But our version of FDA does exist and is a vibrant body. The only problem is that it thrives on bribes. Any shutting down of eatery is done “after” lapses are exposed. In India imposing regulations mean that you are opening new gates for corruption.

    1. In US, they seem to be doing their job reasonably well. Of course, food inspector are few and very prone to getting bribed here :). Very valid point! Any legislation seems to be adding one more step in the ladder of bribes.

  6. i was prepared for this as i clicked through. what does one do, with everything from street food to high end eateries liable to such compromise… bring the experience of eating out home. whether it be fine dining or junk food, it can be made at home, and to give it the eating out experience, turn it into an occasion, host such an event for your friends so that the idea catches on. you can even prepare the stuff and meet up somewhere outside to give it the eating out feel. and as for fine dining, it is an opportunity to learn, try out new ingredients, techniques and introduce presentation skills into your kitchen. my brother spent his early career in high end food and beverages and the stories he had to tell about five star kitchens in india are not very different from your post. why pay for being abused by the lack of ethics and sensitivity of others. appropriate punctuation and capitalization being sent separately in another comment. smiley.

    1. You are right, Subhorup! I feel the same despair that you do. Frankly, I love cooking, and I enjoy cooking for friends and family too. I showcase it through my posts and pics. And, I hope that more people catch my passion for food or at least get it cooked at home through a hired help. But, once in a while, we want to eat out or entertain outside the house. But, these kind of incidents make my stomach churn. I never ate street food even earlier. My mom made all the chaats at home,and I do the same at my place. But, like you pointed out, a snazzy place is no assurance that the food is cooked and served hygienically :(. I have decided that I won’t eat in places where the kitchen is out of bounds. I will at least try. And, street food, no chance in hell! About, the punctuation, no problem, I’ve mentally done the changes :).

  7. 🙂 Truth is stranger than everything else. The guys behind the counter don’t even bother to hide what they’re doing. Not the pee-ing part – but the other non-hygiene things like picking the nose (and probably dropping boogers in the specialty of the day)and so on and so forth. Ugh.

    1. Thank you for visiting my space, Vidya! Exactly, you are right! They don’t bother hiding their dirty tricks. Yet, we turn a blind eye, why? Can’t we pull him up or be more demanding? Why have we become comfortable with filth being put in our food?

  8. I am not having those paanipuris and juices from outside now… oh! what a picture you have painted. True that they don’t have public toilets and water to their access but what about the proper restaurants? Does FDA even inspect?

    1. FDA only wakes up when people make a hue and cry. Otherwise, they cry about shortage of staff. The real picture is that bribe will go a long way in easing things. I would say that really you must be careful in eating from roadside thelas. I did not even go into juice glasses not being washed or flies getting blended in the fruit.

  9. peeing in that same utensils…….believe me next time whenever i have to pass by these thelas on road side, that scene certainly will be in front of my eyes…OMG…HORRIBLE….

  10. It is best to cook at home ….. Apart from the unhygienic conditions, Indian weather conditions are a spoiler too….In my kitchen the food goes rancid if not kept in the refrigerator. The temp here is above forty…..winters are much safe. But what to do sometimes you do give in to the cravings……

    1. You can get a hired help to cook if you don’t like cooking. That way you can monitor. Yes, I understand the cravings part. I eat out too, but I have reduced that and no street food at all for me.

  11. The moment i read the heading i knew what was coming.This news is really horrifying,how can people be so inconsiderate?Beats me.Thankfully i shall forget this after a period of time & when my maid does not turn up & my better half suggests we eat out i will accept it thankfully-benefits of a poor memory!

  12. Oh My God Rachna, You have opened everyone’s eyes WIDE. So wide that they will not let roadside hawkers anywhere near into the sight of the bearer. Dont think will ever forget this post! And its going to come running in my mind whenever I buy anything at the roadside. Oh My God! 🙂

    1. Jayashree, I hope you are more vigilant now. Be very careful of the thelas ;-). Horrible things are meant to be shared so that each of us is wiser by it.

    2. It so true that many busy streets do not have sanitation facilities.This incident happened when an “eminent” public representative visited a street. The sales girls of a shop gave him a representation to build a toilet in the streets.And his response was: Toilet?? All those ladies who worked all these years did not pee or what? If they can find some way out, why cnt u? We cant WASTE our fund like this.Gosh!! Now what?

  13. Yucky-yucks….!! And you know, they wouldn’t even have replaced the chicken, they would’ve just picked out the cockroach and brought the same thing back!My brother once found a WASP in some butter chicken he had ordered.

  14. Sucks…And true, it happens. We don’t have a way out, but better, avoid eating out. Even top end restaurants serve roach biryani and worm sambar…so why worry? All is well when eaten at home:)

  15. EEEEEEEKKKKKKKSSSSS!! This is so very disgusting!! How could their conscience allow them to do such a terrible thing to people!!I dont eat any street food, from the streets!! No food from the train, railway station… Never!

    1. Absolutely! Shilpa I’ve also decided never to eat anything in the trains. I once saw a clip where the tea/coffee walas were filling water in their steel vessel from the public toilet. Yuck! I was thinking the same thing. How can their conscience allow them to behave this way?

  16. Rachana,I laughed out when I read this, and also felt uncomfortable.Once we start perceiving these things, we avoid eating in all these outlets. Over the years, I have avoid these places.:-)Lots of people eat, and do not get ill at all:-)

    1. It could be hilarious in a perverse way, I guess :). I do the same. I am slowly ticking off places in my list where I will not eat. People might not get ill but I wonder how many will appreciate their food being mangled or handled this way. Yuck!

  17. Another thing: the sanitation inspectors, and the municipal officials, need to rot in h…,(wherever), when they have all shunned their duty and give certificate to these guys to run hotels.It is better to eat , hot , food , while eating outside. Rest is full of ..eeeks.. only.:-)I do not include street food here. They are not expected to be perfect with sanitation.We can see how they maintain their stuff. so we avoid.

    1. Yes, these people need to be fed worm-infested, pee-sprinkled food themselves. I feel at least the germs will be killed if the food is hot but now I am keeping my eyes open to eat only in those places where I can see the kitchen. The places that hide their kitchens might have something to hide :). I do agree that roadside stuff has been off my list since ages. I always wonder how people crowd around such places muttering oohs and aahs when one look at the hands of the person serving is enough to give me shivers up my spine!

  18. I avoid eating street food although they are really tempting.I have to just think of hands, what they must have done with it to stop me on my tracks. It is really disgusting, even with gloves on one cannot be sure for wearing the gloves itself they will be merrily going about their business. Many times i have seen Hot Chips fellows digging their nose.It is everywhere in all countries street food must be avoided at all costs, it is just not only India. You must have read an ice cream parlour owner was caught in tape pissing in the vessel they made ice creams in Goa.

    1. Yes, street food I’ve been avoiding diligently. But, I give in to Hot Chips (yuck). Yep, I talked about that story here with the link :).

  19. I’ve recently read an article on the same about a pani puri wala in Thane who got arrested and the police made him pay the fine of Rs.1500…but gosh who takes the guarantee that he’ll not repeat it again…that is so gross..these people would be sick!Any way, on a is something for you Rach :)

    1. Yep Scribby, this is the same pani puri guy whose link I’ve shared in the article. Well, as long as he has no other place to pee and no conscience, he will shift his khopcha elsewhere and merrily do the same thing again. Thanks for the award dear :).

  20. The title and the photo being so contrasting made me read this post! I love pani puri, chaats, etc and wait to get to India to try it. But over time, street food has just got reduced and with this article I guess I will never go back to it.

    1. Street food is really risky. Try nicer places where you can see what and how things are being cooked in the kitchen. Thanks for visiting my space, chattywren!

  21. You present a very scary and nauseating picture of roadside eateries and even restaurents.There was a news item that some idli and dosa flour ready for preparation sold in bags when tested were found to contain remanats of feacal matter.But these days no one has the time to grind.We continue to eat dosa and idly made out of ready made stuff of well known brands and when we remember the news item we stop eating out of disgust.True one has to be careful in the choice of eateries and hotels but it is well nigh impossible to avoid eating out.Where will all the bachelors eat?You have highlighted a problem to warn against eating everywhere but this should not be carried to extremes,I think

    1. Ugh fecal matter in dosa and idle dough. How do we trust any food items that we buy? I agree, I eat out too. And, I am surely not saying don’t eat out. But understand the perils and at least one can avoid the road side stalls. Try and eat in cleaner places. I feel sorry for the bachelors and hostelites. I am just giving information. It is up to each one of us how to use it.

  22. Rachna, you have literally raked up the shit in this post. Thank you for one more reminder of how great a civilisation we are, and how wondrously pee-licious and delishitous our delicacies are! And hey, I loved that title!

    1. Delishitous — now I like this one :). I was repulsed while writing and hope others are repulsed by reading it. Thanks for liking the title — coming from a wordsmith like you, it is a lofty compliment!

  23. Rachna,BAHAR KHAANE KAA SAARAA MAZAA KIRKARAA KAR DIYAA. But factual post. One really needs to be careful while enjoying yummmy dishes outside. And you rightly said top places included.Take care

  24. it’s a case of lack of consideration for others. who cares what we serve them, we are not going to see them again soon. and is replacing food the solution? it’s the same food they will serve making sure that the cockroach is not there this time.

    1. Absolutely, like Umashankar mentioned, it says something about our civilization. Replacing food is not an option. Never going back to that place is, and if you are a blogger, let some shit hit the ceiling by talking about that outlet.

  25. I used to love street food like anything, infact my lust for rediwalllah food was inevitable.But what the hell….You just effed my taste buds. Why you need to be that horrible.anyways, thanks for killing my appetite.And great post though.

    1. Thank you for your visit, Almost Engineer! Buddy, I am not horrible. Horrible are the people who are doing this. I am just making you aware so that you are aware and more vigilant when you eat out. Sorry about killing your appetite :).

  26. I remember reading this news. I almost threw up!One of the reasons I stopped being an adventurous foodie. And when I do, I make sure he’s wearing gloves! But there are times I give in and put my reasoning in the deep freeze:D

  27. Me too, Purba! I almost threw up as well. I know, I give in and eat out too, but I must confess that I no longer have the stomach for roadside food.

  28. yikessssssssssssss how am i going to eat all that food .. now i am thinking all that i have always eaten when i land in india .. NOW you have to invite me and make some for me , mujhe nahin pata .. I am going ot gate crash into ur house and demand eating all this 🙂 he he hee Bikram’s

  29. A quarter century ago, I had written an article about street food carts in Nariman Point. I had called it ‘A spoonful of filth.’ I used to work on Sundays and that was the day these vendors washed their clothes and cleaned their stuff. I had gagged when I saw one guy blowing his nose into the vessel he cooked rice in during the week and another one washing his underwear in another. That was nothing compared to peeing in the pot 😛 Unless one is looking for budget fare, we can always eat outlets like Haldirams.

    1. Aha, can you share the link of that article? Uggh, what you saw but yeah less gross than pee or poop in your cooking or serving utensils. I guess this whole thing of serving clean and hygienically cooked food is now only confined to homes or businesses run by close family units.

  30. Remember the scene from Delly Belly 😛 Yuck! I avoid street food but some of them are hygienic and good. I agree there are no regulations in India. While spotting a rat can get a restaurant to shut the door permanently in europe and usa, here its not

  31. this is wht I heard before too ..from one of my cousins in india she had seen ..a dough made with feet a small restaurant .. she had literally seen guys doin behind the kitchen in backyard …making a dough with feet jumping n kicking it ..same dough was used to make bahture n kachori stuff!!I despise that stuff ever since!!its always safe to make stuff at home n eat in peace!

  32. OMG Rachna. Panipoori will never be the same again for me! Not that I was totally unaware of the hygiene (or the lack of it) aspects of roadside food and even at restaurants, but this post takes the aversion a notch higher. The incident you narrated by itself makes it a very potent post that would make anyone think thousand times before going to one of those shops with mouthwatering chats. A very important post though as you bring out a very serious issue both about regulation as well as self awareness and sensitivity in the case of the restaurant staff. The least they can do is keep their hands clean and make sure that they cook food in a clean place. And only provide chicken and other meat asked for and not add their own varieties of animals in!

    1. Yes Raj, all of us feel okay thoda ganda hai but tasty hai. But, imagine people peeing in your food deliberately. What the hell is this? I just hope more people are really aware of what they are putting in their mouths. I must tell you that my kids don’t eat roadside khana but restaurant food, that is something that will require educating them further.

  33. i normally avoid street food and discourage my kids as well . I read it out to couple of kids and going by their reaction, it seems they won’t be going for street food ever again !

    1. Thank you TTT! That was exactly my intention on writing this nauseous post. My children have never eaten roadside food! But, restaurants will require coaxing of another kind.

  34. hygiene is so important. I am very fastidious when cooking at home. Thankfully, eating street food has come down a lot after I moved out from Mumbai. I never found them as good as the Mumbai street chaat :-))) so good for me in a way ;-)But am now worried about restaurants too. I hope the ones that seem clean are really so. This post will be in my mind always. Another thing that comes to my mind is the marriage hall hygiene and food that is served there. I get nauseated when I see poorly maintained halls and their rooms…eeeewwwwwwwwwww..:-(

    1. Uma, you are in Bangalore too! The darshinis are normally pretty clean but you can’t find Mumbai chaat here. Yep, marriage halls too :(.

  35. Bang on. The reason that I don’t eat street food, no matter how tempting it looks. I love paani puris but taste it only once a year at Delhi’s Nathus where they use gloves.Rachna, you must have noticed that this kind food is now very popular in weddings and birthdays as well, it is very common to see gali ka golgappewala in a padosi ki shaadi.

  36. And you are doing good. I stay away from such stuff even in shaadis and also salads and cut fruits. Pata nahin how many flies have partaken it before it was brought out for others!

  37. Rachna, just spoke with my son on the phone. He said, amma I ate your most fav food. I ask, what is that? He says: panipuri. Dang!! What else can I remember other than your post. He continues, it’s so tasty amma, it’s so yummy. I told, pls don’t eat on the roadside, they do some gross things. He says, how come I don’t see the gross things? I said, you dont know. Then he asked, then where else can I eat? My reply: hotel. He says: no, the roadside one is really really tasty. I like it so muchhhh….:( finally, I told my mom the episode and warned her…:)

  38. Interesting. Reminds me of an incident where I and my friend found a housefly in the coffee. The waiter took it away and came back with a replacement so fast. The glass was also looking exactly like the old one. We feared he just took the same glass in, took the fly out and brought it back.

  39. Not fair! Am angry too! But you’re right. Much needed post. I remember watching the bhel puri guy’s video and I had given up eating chat at unknown places. I love my pani puri too much to give it up for ever and I like having chat at a trustworthy place within our colony – probably the only place I go to for chat. Like you said not having the facilities in the vicinities is just one thing, but to use it and be clean and hygienic for everyone’s good – that is something that needs to be ingrained into everyone’s mind. That, like a lot of other things, needs to be taught at home while growing up. Once they are adults, very difficult to make them learn something – be it the reading habit or washing hands habit!

  40. cockroach hotel must be paradise or get half-cooked chicken and their kitchens are as dirty as slums.their restaurants are so dim with zero bulbs,you dunno what you are eating in the dark.guess what,they use dissolved animal fat instead oil to make biryani tasty.ewwwwwwwwwwww,indian hotels with vat,service taxes and charges that loots you don’t have minimum ethics to provide hygienic food.this shows how indians are so selfish and they are least bothered about their fellow indians health.most of restaurants use dalda aka vanaspati or palmolein oil to make more profits,which will result in diabetes and coronary heart diseases.some hotels serve stale food,some star hotels too are part of this stale food service.since most of indians dunno what science and hygiene is,we can’t make them understand these things.

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