THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The rows of bottled delicacies will take you on a trip down memory lane. The salted mango, gooseberry, lovi-lovi and wax apple in the glass jars are more than enough to tempt any passer-by to take a break and taste the items offered.
At Pallitherivu, on the bypass road towards Thiruvallam, you will find a makeshift tent where Syed Ali has been selling these tangy delicacies for a while now.
Sitting under the shade of a beach umbrella the man is always busy attending to his customers with salted fruits and his special buttermilk.
His buyers are mostly travellers, children and pregnant ladies, who prefer this non-preservative eat. The stall, which functions between 10 am and 7 pm, is placed at a shady spot with plenty of parking space for the travellers.
Most of the customers are regulars as they drop into the stall very often. They ask either for salted fruits or a glass of buttermilk or sarbath. The special buttermilk is prepared by adding salted cut mango pieces and its water to the spicy buttermilk. A number of glass bottles containing salted fruits like ‘Nellikka’ (Gooseberry), ‘Champakka’ (Wax apple), ‘Sheemanellikka’, ‘Karakka’, ‘Pulingikka’, semi-ripened ‘Lololi’, and raw mangoes are spread across the wooden table.
The rates keep changing with the season. “The price of salted cut mangoes will go down as the mango season begins,” he says. If you are visiting the place for the first time, Syed will give you small pieces to taste. After tasting most of the customers ask for a bottle, or a loose pack which will cost you just Rs 5 or 10.
“For a bottle of cut mango, I charge Rs 40, it’s Rs 50 for a jar of Lovi-lovi and ‘Karakka’, the most expensive fruit in the stall, is priced at Rs 60,” says Syed.
In a day he makes a profit of around Rs 200.
He started the stall around two years back taking after his father who has been into this business for the past twelve years. In the early days the father and son used to do the business together. Now they have their own separate stalls within a distance of one kilometre.