Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celebrating Madras (present day CHennai)

While the date is considered controversial, it is popularly quoted that Chennai was founded on Aug 22 1639. The erstwhile East India Company (Francis Day, Beri Thimmappa and Andrew Cogan) transacted a piece of land, with the local rulers. It is where Fort St.George stands today as a testament to history. (Source: Wiki)

The concept of Madras Day was put together by Vincent D'Souza (of Adyar/Mylapore TImes fame), Sashi Nair (renowed journalist) and S.Muthiah (the famous historian) to celebrate the city's journey through time. It eventually became a week long celebration turning into Madras Week

I participated in the Sowcarpet Food Walk organized as part of the Food Walk events. It was a sultry day and on a whim, I stepped into the bus and took off to the venue. I had heard so much about Sowcarpet and the adjoining Flower Bazaar, so it was curiosity more than anything else that motivated me to take this trip. Once I alighted, I asked passers-by for directions and was pleasantly surprised when one of them offered to guide me since the gentleman was headed for the same event. By the time we reached the venue, the group had already started exploring the famous joints, run by generations and savoured by the local community.

At the famous Mehta Bros, we tasted a lip smacking Vada Paav, a famous street food in Maharashtra. We also tried their mirchi-bhaaji (fried spicy fritter), which is guaranteed to make your ears smoke! The price was slightly on the higher side, but worth the trip.





Next haunt was at Kakada Ramprasad for their hot delicious thin jalebis and the aloo-tikki chat (potato cutlet with spices and other add-ons) which simply knocked it out of the park. It was INR 100 together, expensive again, but tasty. 

They don't allow you to photograph whilst making the recipe, so food bloggers, take note. However, the humid weather and the chaos added to the confusion. The orders were getting piled up and the staff was overwhelmed. Everyone made a dash for their order, screamed above the rest and the staff screamed back when the order was ready! 

By this time, I was feeling full and decided I could not take anymore. But Anmol Lassiwala changed my mind one last time. Dinesh Soni, a former wrestler from Patiala started this business to beat the Chennai heat. This is an absolute must-try on your foodie list. He was great to talk to and even complimented me on my silky tresses. I tried the kesar lassi which was divine. He serves them in huge glasses which is like a dinner full-course meal. But dont get scared, he offers a smaller glass for a different price. 

I could not walk another step after this. I was officially done. I did not want any other food distraction messing with my lassi taste on my palate. I walked back to the bus station with happy memories.

However, next time around it is bound to get twice as crazy and the organizers should be better organized to handle that volume of response. It will certainly make for a better experience.

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