It all started with my curiosity to know more about Madras, fortunately I landed up on a website that mentioned MadrasDay, where I found out about the event – “Food Walk at Sowcarpet”. I was sure this event will have something for the Gujju foodie in me. I never had a thought that an event like a food walk can happen in Chennai. I wanted to be part of it, later I got to know that this was not the first Food Walk and many such walks were done prior to this one.
Both Me and Sharon reached at Mehta brothers Shop No.310, Mint Street the starting point for the event, bang opposite Union Bank. Mint Street was at its chaotic best, for all Mumbaikars they can happily relive their memories.
We miraculously found a parking spot right in front of Mehta’s, Mr.Vasudevan who was waiting for us, he guided us to another Mehta bros shop no.325. There we surprisingly saw a group of 30-40 Foodies who had already assembled, we started our journey with munching of Vada-pav, We both had gobbled up enough food for lunch at Annalakshmi, another awesome place for South Indian Food. Since both of us have lived in Mumbai so we didn’t have an exciting taste bud for the Vada Pav. later Nandini (our friend from a food walk)told us that she felt it was close to Bombaiyya Wada-pav. From there we started walking through the chaos, noise and amid racing vehicles to reach Kakda Ramprasad. It is a 2-3 storey building with Air-conditioned dining facility. We were told that their specialties are Jalebi, Aloo-Paneer Pattice and Badam milk.
We couldn’t hold any longer and took our token for the food after a hard-fought struggle with other hardcore foodies who were waiting for their turn. Jalebi was better than any other place we had tried in Chennai till date. Aloo-paneer Pattice was good, had a lot of panneer in it and badam milk we left it for next time, we wanted to keep ourselves hungry for the best which was yet to come. As Bhavani (our friend from a food walk) said throughout the walk “The best place will be the last place”.We were clicking and remembering Crawford market and chaats from Mumbai.
We saw people moving towards a small stall “Anmol lassi centre”.
A guy with the huge build was at the other end serving Kesar lassi in a huge glass(we prefer calling it a tumbler), I bet u cannot finish one full glass. Stall has a lot of paper cuttings and articles which are published in various newspapers Don’t ask him many questions he was a wrestler prior to this. Half a glass of lassi will cost you 70 Rupees. He would accept the money only after you complete your glass of Lassi.
From there we went to chotu motu nothing particular about the place, They have sweets and savouries. Sandwich shop outside the chotu motu was similar to the shops you generally find in markets of Mumbai and sugarcane juice stall, they serve juice with lemon and ginger.
From there we kept walking, burning all our calories which we accumulated, we reached Ajab Ajnabi mithai Bhandar they are famous for their bhel puri and all other Gujarati snacks like Fafda, Gathiya.
From there we started walking through the narrow lanes of sowcarpet to reach Maya chaat for Pyaaz ki kachori we waited there for a few minutes for the hot pyaaz ki kachoris coming out of hot oil specially for us, which they serve with Green chutney.
We spent nearly 30 minutes eating and talking, making new friends sharing our stories and listening to theirs. We enjoyed our talks with Rajith and his wife Purabee.
As it was nearly 7 o’Clock and it was getting dark people were not sure that they wanted to cover another two places (many were Tired and few already had their quota of calories). As we are in democratic country, we had a voting there for Agarwal Sweets and seena bhai Tiffin centre, We were unaware of this development as we were busy eating ,Fortunately we joined the group of people who were heading towards Agarwal Sweets and after 15 -20 minutes of struggle with cows, vehicles and cow dung. We reached Agarwal Bhojnalaya on our way, we crossed a lane dedicated to Dry fruits wholesaler, another lane for Electrical appliances.
On reaching Agarwal Sweets, it’s a Bhojnalaya in the actual real sense. Thali was being served amidst all the chaos. We were so full that we would not have had that Thali even if we got paid for it. They also serve Good samosas which people can vouch for. We added it to our list of go to go places and will tell you all how it is.
It was time for group photos and a few selfies. The group of people who were crazily discussing food and who were still not satisfied with the food and they had a craving for some more food.
After a small discussion we all headed towards the Seena bhai to have one of the best onion uttapam and ghee idly.
By the time we were going to seena bhai mint street was less chaotic, shops were closing down and Cows were resting. We ordered onion uttapam and Ghee idly, evening .trust me this is the place to go. Once we had our idly and uttapam , few of them were getting late and they left.
Finally we six souls who were still on the go and searching for a cup of tea.
As gujjus say after having oily food have some tea to get rid of excess cholesterol.
We went to Novelty Tea and to our disappointment they serve tea only till evening 4 PM. On enquiring, they guided us to some place called MRP, on reaching there we pulled our chairs and ordered masala chai, had our cups of tea with lots and lots of stories.
Stories were from the Himalayas to Cochin, water rafting to food streets, Royal Enfield rides to paranormal walks. Finally, we said Goodbye to each other with the promise of meeting each other soon.
At the end of the tour I was left with the thought,
“It’s not always about food,
It’s about the people u meet,
It’s about the stories they have,
It’s about the passion they bring in with them”.
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