Street Foods of Chennai: An Unparalleled Experience
Rayar’s Mess in MylaporeRayar’s mess was one of Appa’s favorites. It is a small, modest place that seats 16 people on a wooden bench but serves one of the best idlis we ever had. I recommend that you read The Rayar’s Feast an article written by Srinivasa Ramanujam published in The Hindu two years ago.What’s interesting: The place is run by one family and their children. The food here is so good that you can find long queues outside as early as 7 am. Unfailingly, they serve fresh, completely homemade food. Nothing commercial about it.
Mylai Karpagambal MessLike Rayar’s mess, this place is a small, modest eatery that serves authentic South Indian fare. Unlike Rayar’s mess though, this place is slightly modern with air-conditioning. Located behind the famous Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, the place serves traditional south Indian food at inexpensive rates. The decoction coffee here is to die for.What’s interesting: The place serves homemade dishes like More Kozhambu ( loosely, a South Indian version of Kadhi) which are otherwise not available in restaurants. Their secret family recipes are unique.
Ratna Cafe, TriplicaneRatna Café is a landmark in Triplicane. The place is delightfully famous for the “two idlis and a bucketful of sambhar”. They serve a generous helping of Sambhar even with just two idlis and add a dollop of ghee on top – mesmerizing taste, that is maintained till today. The taste of Sambhar here is nothing like what you ever get in Delhi or Ahmedabad or anywhere in the world. The aroma of the sambhar is authentic and the taste is just out of this world. Also, their coconut chutney to is to die for. Unlike other restaurants, they don’t add the roasted gram to make their coconut chutney. Its just coconut. Idlis, a bucketful of Sambhar and fresh coconut chutney, and a dollop of ghee on top.. if this is not bliss, I don’t know what is! There is a branch that has been opened in T Nagar, but that is really a franchise. The original Ratna Café is what you see in Mylapore.
Best places to eat in Pondy Bazaar, T NagarThe place I stayed was T Nagar – the heart of Chennai city, and also densely populated. Morning walks had to be on the streets alongside shops. I noticed something very unusual in the first few days I went for those morning walks. To my surprise at around five in the morning, the street-side food stalls used to be buzzing with customers relishing Idli, dosa, vada and filter coffee.
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