Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Short Chennai Foodie Trail

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Just came back from a 4 day trip to Chennai. It was a good escape from the severe cold wave in Delhi. 30 degrees temperature during day was a welcome change for the entire family. Though it was to celebrate the 60th Brithday celebrations of my father-in-law, I took the time out to check some of the foodie scene out in Chennai. Any foodie going to Chennai has atleast one agenda on the mind - Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of the Nattukottai Chettiar community from the chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. The Chettinad is the region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu with Karaikudi as it's capital. The nattukottai chettiars are principally a trading community. The best places to sample Chettinad cuisine in Chennai are as follows (in no particular order):
- Karaikudi
- Ponnusami
- Anjappar
All the 3 mentioned above are chains of restaurants spread across the city and you can find one of these in your vicinity. We did not get to go to Ponnusami as the word was that the food is very spicy there. Maybe when I'm down next time, I'll give it a try. Karaikudi and Anjappar were good restaurants with plenty of North Indian option like Butter Chicken and Tikkas on their menu. The surprise item was that both had an extensive Chettinad menu featuring Rabbit and Turkey among an exhaustive seafood list. The prices are also very cheap. Despite ordering 10-12 items our bill did not go above Rs. 850 (inclusive of all taxes and service charge), and yes our orders did include Crab also. The Crab Masala and Ceylon Parotta in Anjappar is a must try.
Apart from Chettinad cuisine, it is a must for all travellers to go try the Tiffin at the Saravana Bhavan. Though now you have Saravana Bhavan branches all across the country, and I have been to the one in Delhi, the real enjoyment is had having the tiffin at Saravana Bhavan in Chennai. The Paper roast masala dosa and Medu Vada are a must try.
If you wish to indulge in other cusiines apart from Indian food, Chennai some amazing restaurants, one of which is Benjarong, offering authentic Thai Cuisine. Now Thai cuisine is my favorite cuisine apart from Japanese when I go dining out, and this restaurant served some of the best Thai that I have eaten in a very long time. The only drawback in this fine dining establishment is that they do not serve alcohol.
Burmese cuisine too finds it's place with eateries like Mingala, on Flowers road. The Mohinga out there was decent, though the menu is very limited.
Since this was a very short trip and made even shorter by the religous engagements, I may have missed out on quite a few foodie mecca's of Chennai. You may want to drop in a line, if you feel there are some that I missed out on, and I promise to visit them on my next visit, which may be a little sooner in the near future


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