Onions so Valuable in India They Cause Restaurant Brawl

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
December 11, 2013

Photo credit: Flickr

Soaring onion prices in India have become such a prickly issue that customers and waiters got into an allium altercation in Mumbai last weekend. NDTV reports that a group of customers, dissatisfied with only having one plate of onions to accompany an entire meal, was refused a second gratis serving. Reportedly a waiter grumbled “about the increased prices of onion” and involved his manager; a fight broke out shortly, with waiters blocking all the exits of the diner and asking all other customers to depart. (They happily obliged.)

“The Great Indian Tearjerker” is what one Indian newspaper has named the sudden spike in the cost of the vegetable, a culinary staple in that nation. Experts and public officials cite causes as diverse as the weather—a recent drought was followed by a daunting monsoon season—and the head honchos of major vegetable markets, who some claim have been squirreling away onions until prices rise. (The amusing name for these villains? Onionnaires.) The impact, reports The Washington Post, has been felt across the breadth of the economic spectrum, including ill-paid farm workers whose daily meal includes a raw onion.

Given onion’s status in America as a garnish many folks tend to pluck off their burgers, the story certainly gives new meaning to the notion of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.

We wonder, too, what might cause such a brawl here in the States. Now that we’ve started paying up to $8 for bread and butter, limiting free condiments like ketchup might not be far off. (Oh, wait, we already do that… in good old New York City). 

[via Grub Street]