Why eating Bhutta, India’s favourite monsoon snack, off the road, may be a bad idea!

monsoons, monsoon diseases, corn on the cob, bhutta, India, rainy season, hygiene, cleanliness, roadside vendors
This monsoon, take care of your palate; try seasonal alternatives

Monsoons without the hot piping Bhutta or corn on the cob, is an incomplete picture. Rains, lazy dark clouds and people thronging roadside vendors, is a popular sight in India. Everyone loves the bhutta, the flavours of the charcoaled, lemon and masala squeezed snack, can bring water in anyone’s mouth.


A roasted or boiled bhutta is, no doubt, a healthy snack. Yet, the manner in which it is roasted on the roadside is not such a great idea after all.

The menace of flies
Flies on food during monsoons is a formidable sight. These buzzing creatures contain numerous pathogens which can cause grave diseases. Most roadside vendors sit near walls which are dirty, have puddles around them or are used for urination. Flies will be a common thing here. The rest is a logical conclusion!

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Dirty utensils
Cleanliness on the roads can be a question worth pondering about. The makeshift griddle they use may not be washed. Even if it is, the water used may not be hygienic at all. If the bhutta is covered in coal or has marks on it, it is not a good sign.

Cleanliness and hygiene
On one hand, we are very particular about washing our hands before eating, not touching unhygienic stuff etc…yet when it comes to the roadside corn, all our logic goes flying out of the window. Are the hands of the vendor washed? What water is he using? Wouldn’t the water they wash hands with, contain contaminated macrobacteria.

The ‘chatpata’ lemon could be the worst
Most times, we ask the vendor to squeeze dollops of lemon with the local masala. After all, that makes the bhutta eating experience even more amazing. Really? The eye opener here is that these are old, reused and may contain bacteria which is extremely harmful.
The masala is not of the highest quality. A perfect combination for a bad stomach infection.

Pollution and dirt particles
The contamination because of the air particles is very high when the items in question are lying open by the road. The bhuttas are no exception.

So, what can one do to ensure we not only enjoy the monsoon treat but can enjoy it within the hygiene framework.

• Roast at home. Yes, it may not provide the exact taste but then the important deal here is health. The decision is ours!
• Eat it hot. Even if you do indulge in the roadside corn, ensure its hot, done there and then and not re-roasted.
• Ask the vendor to use fresh lemon, cut in front of you. Tell him to wash his hands with water provided by you or best, give him a sanitizer.
• Ensure the location you pick it up from is the cleanliest you can find in the given circumstances.

A corn is monsoon’s favourite friend. Befriend it well!

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