A rainy day or a soppy mood, nothing to eat or too lazy to cook, famished or fatigued, Maggi has been a quick-fix for many of us. Not just a kitchen shelf staple, the instant noodle brand has over the years emerged as a sumptuous street food novelty in the city. Cooked in front of you on a makeshift stove on a table in a sector market, this ‘gourmet recipe’ was a far cry from its two-minute dunk into hot water with the ready mix version. Instead you had a smorgasbord of veggies going in, peppered with garam masala, corn, and on special request, cheese too. It was hard to miss a Maggi stall in the neighbourhood, especially in sectors such as 35, 36, 41 and 44 where street food finds patronage among students, paying guests and youngsters eager to devour a quick snack after a long tuition session. But today as you make your way to these popular haunts, the Maggi stalls are conspicuous by their absence.
As we go looking for the Maggi-wala who would rustle up a delicious plate in Sector 35 just outside the popular patty and burger shop, a young boy serving up momos at a nearby table spoke up, “Panga ho gaya hai na. He’s not making Maggi these days. Do you want momos?” Clearly, word about the ‘dubious’ ingredients has spread. Although samples from Chandigarh have passed the test and there’s no ban in place, either in Mohali or Panchkula, Maggi it seems has lost flavour and favour for the time being.
“There used to be a stall here till a few days ago,” said Akanksha Sharma, a student of Panjab University when Newsline met her along with her roommates in the Sector 15 market on Thursday. It’s a popular hub for all kinds of street food —one can spot momo stalls, spring rolls sizzling in a wok, a grilled cheese sandwich station alongside another selling boiled eggs and toast. But there’s no Maggi pan in sight here either.
In Sector 41, too, the noodle brand is no longer on the menu at Naresh Kumar’s work station housed in a street just behind the main shops.
“I have not been offering it for a long time,” said a nervous Kumar. Most departmental stores in the city have also moved the Maggi merchandise out of visibility. “People are still buying it. I think the old stock will sell but I won’t be ordering for more,” said a shopkeeper in Sector 38.
Not just the streets, Maggi is off the menu at restaurants too. At Public Café in Sector 5, Panchkula, the popular Maggi meal with options of chicken and vegetables and the Maggi cutlet is no longer on offer. “While we wait for any food safety decision regarding Maggi, for the time being we will not be serving Maggi or Maggi-derived products such as the cutlets in the best interest and health of our customers,” said Sonia Mohindra, food consultant for the café.
Maggi samples collected
A day after the Haryana Government Lab in the city gave a clean chit to Maggi noodles samples seized from the city 10 days ago, the UT Food Safety Cell officials on Thursday took fresh samples from five locations in the city. Samples will be tested for the presence of added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead.
The locations from where samples were taken are Sector 9, 44, 46, 38 and Manimajra.
On Wednesday also, samples of maggi were taken from three different locations -Industrial Area, Phase I, and Sector 35.
The samples will be sent to a government laboratory and reports are expected in two week’s time. The samples of Maggi noodles seized from three different distributors in the city 10 days ago have met the standards of the Food Safety Act, according to a report issued by the Haryana Government lab in the city today. The first raid was conducted by the UT Food Safety Cell on May 22. During the raid, samples were seized from three units of distributors of Maggi in the city—Industrial Area Phase I and II, and Daria village.