Hyderabad: Hyderabad is a confluence of cultures. From nawabis to poor, from pucca locals to expats of different countries, diversity is only thriving. This is also obviously reflecting on our food palette.
Apart from that, the outbreak of COVID-19 forced Hyderabadis living in the Gulf to move back home — a majority of them because of job losses and salary-cuts. What they also brought together with them is the food culture from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, which is currently becoming a trend in pockets of the city where expats are found.
Saudi snack-ables — milk powder, Indomie instant noodles camel milk, dates — are being extensively sold in several stores in the city due to rising demand. Tolichowki, Barkas and other areas in the old city also have specialized stores.
“I love Indomie! I am glad I am able to purchase it here in Hyderabad,” said a 19-year-old Afifa, who purchased it in a store in Paramount Colony, Tolichowki. She earlier stayed in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
In Barkas, which was an area of military barracks in the erstwhile Nizam’s Hyderabad state, several shops have been selling clothes and cosmetics from Saudi for years now. They have recently started selling eatables, which include tang powder—flavored juice, Indomie Noodles, milk powder, chewing gums, chocolates, dates, and several other snack items.
A customer at Barkaz said, “These stores are a savior. My mother loves dates only from Saudi and now that I am unable to go, I am buying them from here. But, they are slightly expensive.”
Paramount Colony in Tolichowki, which is supposed to be the home for hundreds of Somalians, has a little more to offer the expats; right from the Khabooz (roti), to camel milk, imported cigarettes, Mandi, Almarai milk and other dairy products, ghawa and many others.
Manager of AK Mart Paramount Colony said, “We get everything imported from the Gulf. Due to the pandemic restrictions, things got difficult at least for the first 2 months. But now, with the restrictions being lifted, we stocked things well as the demand is rising.” He also said that not only the Gulf returnees but also Hyderabadis are preferring these Saudi products, especially the chocolates.