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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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.