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No jokes, just biryani

Stand-up comedian Hindravel Chandrabose talks about survival

25 Feb 2021 / 11:39 H.

TRYING times call for adaptive measures to survive. Since early last year when the pandemic first struck, many tried their hand at new things to stay afloat. For stand-up comedian Hindravel Chandrabose, this is not something new.

Although stand-up comedy is his passion, Hindravel had a day job at Golden Peacock Travel & Tours, a family business started by his father 17 years ago.

However, the business and his stand-up comedy act came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic.

“When (Covid-19) came, both ‘kena kantoi’. Because the airport had to be closed, we had no inbound tours. No income was coming in,” he said.

“We depended on the tour company for our income. When it closed, we had to divert our plan to something else.”

Hindravel said his family looked for a solution. Eventually, they decided to start a food business selling biryani. The business was named Mr Bose Biryani, after his father.

“We started as a home delivery business. Since we were involved in the tour business, we had a tour bus at our disposal to make our deliveries,” Hindravel explained, adding that his family used to run a restaurant back in the 90s.

When the first movement control order (MCO) ended last year, his family had to change their plans again.

“The MCO restrictions caused our delivery service to be affected. That’s when we looked into the food truck concept.”

A needed change

Since then, Hindravel and his family have been operating the Mr Bose Biryani business using a food truck, offering food cooked using family recipes.

Hindravel said every family member plays a part in running the business.

In the morning, Hindravel and his sister would help their parents do the cooking. Once ready, he and his wife would be at the truck selling the food.

“We are at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya on weekdays and on weekends, we would be in Brickfields. If we are allowed to operate late at night, we would go to Bangsar,” he said, adding that their food is halal as they buy the meat from a Malay wholesaler.

When asked why the Klang-based family chose those locations, he said: “Klang got too much Indian food lar, bro.”

“When we started the food truck business, we tried different locations. We tried to operate in Bukit Tinggi, Klang as the location is known for food truck fare.

‘When we went there, there were three to four different trucks offering biryani.”

Thriving against all odds

Hindravel said despite having to follow the standard operating procedures and going through the different phases of the MCO, their business is doing quite well, with the food being sold out almost every day. They are not as affected as restaurants because Mr Bose Biryani only does takeaways and deliveries.

Hindravel has several recommendations for spicy and non-spicy eaters.

“If you want something that is not so spicy, go for the Bose Chicken Biryani, where the chicken is cooked inside the rice and mixed with various spices. It’s like steamed chicken. The other choice is Bose Chicken Salna, which is a type of curry that comes with the biryani. The curry itself is special as it is my dad’s recipe,” he said.

“For something spicy, try the Chicken Varuval. Another best seller is the Bose Mutton Chukka. You can also get the Bose Sardine Sambal Biryani. It is like how ‘amma’ (mother) makes it at home.”

“Our prices are pretty reasonable, too.”

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