Covid-19 Has Brought Out the Best in Some of Us: Delhi’s Shyam Rasoi Offers ₹1 Thalis to Thousands

Social Commentary

Covid-19 Has Brought Out the Best in Some of Us: Delhi’s Shyam Rasoi Offers ₹1 Thalis to Thousands

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Eating out in Indian cities can often be an expensive habit. Going to a restaurant or an eatery for a meal is usually accompanied by a large bill, often costing hundreds or even thousands of rupees. Against this backdrop, Delhi’s Nangloi’s Shyam Rasoi is a standout, offering hearty thali meals to paying customers. The key difference is that diners at Shyam Rasoi pay a bill of just one rupee.

Pravin Kumar Goyal set up the rasoi in Delhi’s Bhooton Wali Gali two months ago, and has been generously feeding all diners at such low rates that it crosses territory from being a bargain to an act of charity.

“Daily we feed 1,000 to 1,100 people here and also provide parcel in nearby areas such as Inderlok, Sai Mandir, via three e-rickshaws. Altogether around 2,000 Delhiites eat here from Shyam ki Rasoi,” said the 51-year-old Goyal while talking to ANI. The thali platter at Shyam Rasoi is a sumptuous spread, and customers can enjoy rice, roti, soya pulao, paneer, soybean, and halwa. Goyal also said that the menu changes every day.

When Goyal opened the kitchen, he was initially selling the meals at a cost of ₹10. However, it was reduced to ₹1 in a bid to attract more people, a decision which has paid off as hundreds of people flock to the rasoi every afternoon between 11 am and 1 pm for lunch. Set up in a vacant factory, Shyam Rasoi runs on donations from well-wishers, both in the form of digital payments as well as contributions in the form of rations and foodstuff. The kitchen also operates in the morning, selling tea and snacks at the same price of ₹1.

As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free meal.” But the next best thing is certainly a one-rupee thali at Nangloi’s Shyam Rasoi.