Once upon a FoodWalk at Sowcarpet – By Ghumtabhukkad

It all started with my curiosity to know more about Madras, fortunately I land up on a website that mentioned MadrasDay, from 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 had never ever thought that an event like a food walk can happen and that too in Chennai. I wanted to be part of it, later I got to know that this was not the first Food Walk and that many walks were done prior to this one.
Both Me and Sharon reached Mehta brothers Shop No.310, Mint Street the starting point for the event, bang opposite Union Bank. Mint Street is at it chaotic best, for all Mumbaikars they can happily relive their memories.
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We miraculously found a parking spot right in front of Mehta’s, Mr.Vasudevan who was waiting for us guided us to another Mehta bros shop no.325. There we surprisingly saw a group of 30-40 Foodies who had already assembled, a few waiting for the other with their foodie instincts kerbed while some had already begun with the 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, so we let pass. Then later we came to know from Nandini (our friend from food walk) that 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 specialities are Jalebi, Aloo-Paneer Pattice and Badam milk.
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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. The 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. Because we also wanted to keep ourself hungry for the best which was yet to come. As Bhavani (our friend from 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 are moving towards a small stall “Anmol lassi centre”.
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A guy with the huge build was at the other end serving Kesar lassi in a huge glass(we prefer calling it a tumbler), news paperI 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 glass of lassi will cost you 70 Rupees. He would accept the money only after you completed 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.
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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.
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From there we started walking through the narrow lanes of sowcarpet to reach Maya chaat for Pyaaz ki kachori we waited there for few minutes for the hot pyaaz ki kachoris coming out of hot oil specially for us, which they serve with Green chutney.
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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 want 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.
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It was time for group photos and few selfies. The group of people who were crazily discussing food and who were still not satisfied with the food and they had craving for some more food.
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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.
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Finally we six souls who were still on the go and searching for 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 from 4-evening.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 people u meet,
It’s about the stories they have,
It’s about the passion they bring in with them”.

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Cream Center – The Veg Edge

We were on our way on a  very very hungry Sunday afternoon to try some exotic restaurant in Chennai , and on the way we happened to glance at Cream Center in nungambakkam. They didn’t have hordes of people waiting in line which is rare, generally there are long waiting lines on weekends and pronto all plans changed and we immediately parked our vehicles ,got a table as soon as we entered into the restaurant which would have definitely given a high competition to a fish market in terms of the rising decibel 😀 We placed the order asap as we were pretty mesmerized by their Menu and we were all super hungry,our friend who was accompanying us had already had food there a lot many times helped us with the order .We must complement them on bringing all different kinds of cuisines under one banner and giving so much thought to their menu and the mouth watering pictures posted on it. The ambiance though loud is quite spacious and full of light from their huge french windows and pastel hued surroundings.

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We ordered :

Worlds Best Nachos : The nachos tasted good and it gets full points for arriving at our table bathed in pool of creamy cheese 🙂 and as much as we totally devoured the food in seconds , to claim it to be “the worlds best nachos” would definitely require more complimenting flavors, as in a small portion of salsa which is traditionally accompanied with nachos, we sort of missed the acidic sourness in between mouthfuls and also the presentation can be made more attractive. After all it is a fine dining restaurant.

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Paneer Ka Baap : Their menu which has enticing food pictures and short descriptions of the food, mentioned that it is a sinful combination served all in one platter :” original Paneer tikka, lal mirch paneer tikka, hariyali paneer tikka, kali mirch paneer tikka and tandoori salad, surely it is the baap of all tikkas”. But then little did we know that they meant that the baap (father) of paneer tikka is aloo (potato)!! As only one piece each of the above mentioned paneer tikkas were given and the other row (as you can see from the picture ) was big chunky cubes of Aloo, which I have to mention here was not cooked properly as it was very hard to cut with a fork ! Most of us left those Aloos on the plate. The taste of the tikkas was better than most places we have tried tandoori versions of paneer, with the paneer being soft and flavorful here, we liked the hariyali paneer tikka best.

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Italian Baked Sizzler : This truly was the show stopper for us and the best order of the day. You cannot venture to cream center and not have one of their sizzlers as every few minutes a sizzling aromatic sizzler is flown past the table by one of the waiters. Since we were tasting all sorts of cuisines, Mexican, Indian and all,we decided to go for an Italian sizzler and boy were we happy. The whole combination of red sauce spaghetti and cheesy macaroni, parmesan cream baby potatoes and the bits of grilled and steamed veggies was really good. The taste well balanced.

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Penne Arrabiata Double Baked : We ordered this dish owing to it being written in their menu that it is a combination of both herbed italian red tomato sauce and 4 cheese sauce, and also because the picture in the menu looked pretty seductive 😛 The pasta did taste good as the herbs were delicately balanced but we didn’t find any traces of the 4 cheese sauce in it , as the picture below shows there 3 tiny dots of cheese probably used more for presentation than for taste. It tasted very much like a normal arrabiata pasta and we certainly expected more.

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Methi Aloo Parantha : We totally consider it a cardinal sin if parantha does not have a good dollop of butter on top when it comes to the table. Totally unacceptable. We made this order more as an after thought and considering how hungry we were and it seemed like a good small portioned meal combination but honestly the paranthas were lackluster! ( that coming from big fans of piping hot paranthas). The raita was thin in consistency, we prefer it to be a bit thicker and the dal makhani was reasonably good along with it.

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To finish off, this is one of the first restaurants that we have mixed feeling about, usually it being a definitely we are going back for more or nope we are never stepping in but here I think we have to be truly seduced or allured by great company to persuade us to try more. Their food certainly tastes good and there is a huge array of dishes to choose from but certain bits lack detailing which should not be ignored amidst a sea of crowd also.

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Ambiance – 3/5
Service – 3.5/5
Food – 3/5
Price – 400- 600 rupees for two(approx.)

Note : This is not a paid review. It’s based on our experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.

chat on chaat

In a silent Isaphani centre , Nungambakam . On the first floor , beside the CCD outlet and Chat on  Chinese, It’s Chat on Chaat.

Chat on Chaat , as name suggest .It’s a perfect place for long chat with friends and the Chaat to eat. To testify my words ,we 3 people spent more than 2 hours , contiuously eating , or should i say gorging and slurping on the food, declaring every plate arriving on our table to be the last and finishing up and ordering one more . It’s a blessing to find a place in Chennai which serves scrumptious Chaat.

Wow !! That is the word which describes my feeling after eating here and in addition to it, the smiling and welcoming and ready to serve attitude of the staff there, is so pleasing.  The seating is made comfortable there all wooden furniture spread in the table of 4.

We ordered :

Pani puri : The way they make it is the same as you get it at Juhu Chowpatty in Mumbai. With brown chana ,aloo , sprout and cold spicy mint water . I will give this pani puri 100 out of 100 (it is a must try). They have two variant of the puri, they have suji ka puri and the normal atta puri which is the more widely available variety. Price is on higher side but it’s worth paying every rupee. It tasted heavenly superb.

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Chole samosa : With every bite I had , my tongue was thanking me 🙂 It was not like usual what you get here in Chennai. The  Samosa,which had aloo stuffing was served with the chola made with white chana and brown chana mixed with the chutney and served with fresh onions and green chillies.

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Jalebi with rabdi :  When you order the Jalebi, they make it fresh n hot right in front of you. Yes ,They serve it hot and you can suggest them whether you want it crispy , light , too sweet or not or just the way you like it .We ate 3 plates of it and had the first plate with rabdi which went pretty well. The Rabdi was not as per our expectation, it tasted good but there is  space for improvement as it can be made more rich and delicious. but the freshly made jalebis get full points from us 🙂

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Rasmalai : The malai in it was nice and soft and the milk in it was thin and sweet the way we like it and it was served with a garnishing of pistachio and almond flakes. It was fairly good but for the day we were so completely bowled over by the pani puri and the jalebis that we probably could not do it much justice 🙂

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Ambiance – 3.5/5
Service – (self-service)
Food – 4.5/5
Price – 200-300 rupees for two(approx.)

Note: This is not a paid review. It’s based on our experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.

Panipuri in chennai

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For the all the people who are in Chennai from the northern, western part of India , their craving for Panipuri will always be  un-satisfied.

So here is the review for one of the best pani-puri or gol-gappa in Chennai,which I have tasted up till now.

Om madhuri chat in Thiruvanmiyur,  sea ward road, near Singapore super market.

Pani puri here will have flavour of North India.
Puri will always be crispy .
Pani is one of the best I had in Chennai up till now. Pani will have pudina, bundi , chilli with the Aloo stuffing in puri.

Along with Pani-puri They also serve regular Chat like Bhel puri, Dahi puri, Dahi bhalla samosa chole and it was all satisfying.

Ambiance – It’s small shop so No ambiance score
Service  – Depends on the People waiting Generally it’s Quick by a smiling Guy who serve.
Food     – 4.5/5

Note: This is not a paid review. It’s based on my experience of going there.

Masala Kart Street food festival-2013

Imagine a place where you can get food From different states of India like Gujarat, Maharashtra,Andhra,Tamil Nadu ,parathe from paratha gali and Tunde k kebab from Lucknow. yes everything at one place , that too in Chennai .

It’s masala kart Street Food Festival-2013
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we were going there for the second consecutive year , Last year it was in Besant nagar which wasn’t that great as it was in a very small area (I think last year they were not expecting so many people) this time as they were claiming it to be the largest Street food fest in India, They took it to bigger Place Island Garden near Marina beach.

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When we reach there I was happy that they had Good parking arrangements that was a relief. Then the real tough task was of Buying coupon. A huge Queue,Though there were 6 counters but that was not enough for the crowd which they were able to pull this year.
Entry fees were minimal, 50 rupees entry coupon and you have to take 50 rupees food coupon , which is okay.

Once you enter the place it was heaven for a real foodie.Aroma of a food and a happy faces was all around.
I was totally confused from where to start , what to eat first . This year it was better planned than last year because they had  number of stalls which were selling food coupons inside which was not the case last year.

There were 6 different domes. out of which 2 were Non-vegetarian while 4 were Vegetarian.

List of items they were serving were endless , more than 100 cuisines .Prices were at the higher side but that is expected so no complains. A high level of hygiene was ensured.

Few of the food items which I tried was

Pav vada       –  It Was good but very small .
Misal Pav      –  It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting So total disappointment.Even the worst misal pav in Mumbai will be better  than   what was served.

Dabeli
Dabeli         –  It was good , Spicy very spicy. I never had so spicy in Gujarat they would have made it better.
Ragada pattice –  Total disappointment , they call it Ragada but It was Chole.

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punukulu       –  Flashback of my Hyderabad days,It would have been better if it was hot.

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putharekulu    –  A sweet dish from Andhra tasted for the first time and I must say now I am craving for it.

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MLA Pesarattu  –  I must say it was the best item of the day.

Malpua        –  It was as expected served hot.

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Ice Gola       – This stall has the longest  queue , It clearly shows that in Chennai we don’t find Golawala easily.

Additionally there were Dhokla, Chat items and many more to add into this list.

Looking forward to many such food festival in Chennai .
Definitely I will be the first person to be there next year.

Note: This is not a paid review. It’s based on my experience of going there and we paid for our own meal.