The humble appam and egg roast had recently courted controversy when P P Chitharanjan MLA accused a hotel in Alappuzha for overcharging him for the breakfast. Now, the delicious breakfast combo has become the favourite subject for internet trolls too.
A plate of egg roast costs between Rs 20-25 at local eateries and tea shops. The hotels would charge extra Rs 5 if it is duck’s egg. However, air conditioned restaurants would charge up to Rs 50.
Sarala Thangamani, the owner of the New Sangam Hotel in Pampady says that a decent egg roast could be easily made using ingredients like onion, green chilies, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, coconut oil and salt. At some places, coconut milk too is added to make it extra flavoursome. However, the leftover egg roast cannot be stored for a long time if coconut milk is added.
In big hotels, freshly prepared hot egg roast is served as per order. Victor George, the chef at Havana Kitchen in Pallikathode Anchani Mall says that a ‘first class’ egg roast is prepared using onions, green chilies, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, coconut oil, first extract of coconut milk, tomato puree, cashew paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and whole spices like cardamom, cloves, pepper corns, star anise and cinnamon.
Most customers prefer appam that is freshly prepared on order rather than the ones that are already prepared and kept in casseroles. Some hotels add cashew paste to make the gravy creamier and tastier. Besides, the basic facilities at each hotel would be different. The number of employees and the other expenses would be different too. All these factors would influence the price of the dishes. So, the truth is that hotel food cannot be served at a uniform rate.
Here is what an hotel owner has to say
“I have to charge at least Rs 6 for an appam if it is prepared hot after taking the order. An employee has to be specially appointed for this. He has to be paid Rs 900 as remuneration. Besides, the gas costs Rs 2,160 and an egg costs Rs 5.50. The expenses for onion, masala and other ingredients would be above Rs 20. So, two appams and an egg roast would definitely cost more than Rs 35. Even if we charge Rs 50 from the customer, we have to pay the electricity bills and other expenses from the Rs 18 that we get as profit. An hotel spends around Rs 70 to prepare five appams and two egg roasts. If we charge Rs 110, we have to find profit and pay other expenses from just Rs 40”.
In an air conditioned restaurant, besides the regular expenses, there would be additional electricity and service charges. A total of 5% GST is charged for regular hotels and air conditioned restaurants.
Star rated restaurants
A star rated restaurant offers luxurious facilities and other features. The GST for food there is 18%. An ordinary customer cannot afford the food at these high end restaurants as they would be charged for the chef’s salary and other expenses.