The RK Beach Road in Vizag has seen a lot of changes over the years. From cafes sprouting up in clusters to several smart features finding place everywhere, the area has witnessed quite a transformation. However, one of the few constants we have been seeing is the quaint WagonR with its owner selling haleem and biryani from its trunk. Afroz Khan in a conversation with Dhanya Kanth of Yo! Vizag gets candid on how Zaykaa Haleem got set up in Vizag.
Like most of the youngsters in the country, Afroz says he had fallen prey to the corporate life to serve his family. After working for about 17 years in a marketing firm, Afroz decided to serve home cooked haleem, made of chicken, after his work hours. “Haleem, being rich in protein, gives instant energy, making it a staple during Ramadan. That’s how I thought of providing good quality, healthy haleem to the general public”, informs Afroz, recalling the initial days of his business. About 4 years into this part-time venture, he took the bold step of resigning his day job and get into his monopoly business full time. Mentioning his wife, Safiya Khan, Afroz says, “ My wife is the main force behind Zaykaa Haleem. Without her support and efforts, I wouldn’t have realised this dream of mine.”
With over a decade of setting up shop at RK Beach road, Afroz serves chicken and mutton haleem along with tasty biryani at Zaykaa Haleem. As the cooking process of haleem takes upto 8 hours, one can get their hands on this delicacy from 6 pm to 10 pm at the Beach Road in Vizag. Open throughout the year, barring Eid and Bakrid, Afroz swears by his haleem to be healthy and delicious, as he hand picks all the ingredients. “Anyone visiting Vizag must come and try our family’s haleem, I’ll be here at the same spot every day, except when there’s a cyclone. I remember the day after Hudhud, I sold 40 packs of haleem. It felt like I set up shop in the middle of the desert with all the sand that came onto the road!” chuckles Afroz.
If famous tourist spots of Kailasagiri, Araku, and serene beaches are the crown jewels of Vizag, people like Afroz are the ones that make up for Vizag’s soul.