Traders anticipating higher demand

Ready for more buyers: Ahead of Deepavali, Jahir expects vegetable sales to quadruple at his stall in Chowrasta Market, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: With Deepavali less than 10 days away, plans are in full swing now for many as they prepare special dishes and Indian sweets for the festivities.

Vegetarian and meat dishes, along with sweet and savoury snacks, are a must to kick-start the celebration, and shops are stocking up on essentials to meet the anticipated rise in demand.

Vegetable seller Jahir Hussain, 34, said during the Deepavali week, he would bring in four times the amount of vegetables that he usually sells, adding that they always sell out.

“Tomatoes, chillies, potatoes, onions, ginger, carrots and cucumbers are hugely popular during the Deepavali week. They are essentials for the usual dishes made during the celebration.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, I am sure that there will be a need for vegetables.

“We offer delivery services now to make it easier for those who do not want to leave their homes,” he said.

Another trader, Lai Kean Seng, 50, who sells chicken at the same market, has regular customers who buy chicken from him for Deepavali.

“It is still early but I know they will need to buy chicken. Business has dropped by 60% in the past few months but I’m sure they still need to cook for the festivities,” he said.

P. Adaikalaraja, a sundry shop owner who imports vegetables only found in India, usually does not order extra for Deepavali, as he gets a weekly shipment.

“Shipping prices have almost doubled as there are now fewer flights from India.

“But we are ready for Deepavali as we have brought in things that are usually required for cooking.

“We brought in a wooden ‘murukku ural’ (hand press for making murukku) from India, which is popular. It is different from the stainless steel ones that we get here,” he said.

Adaikalaraja added that he typically brings in 400kg of items, from spices to sundries, every week.

“We always have enough supply on hand, regardless of the festivities,” he said.

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deepavali , penang , shopping , sundries


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