Thursday, June 05, 2008
Don't Always Dare to be different..
Welcome to Chennai. Land of Idly,Chutney, Sambar, Vada, dosa, and Filter coffee, and yea how can I forget the long list of rice items which run into pages on each Menu card be it a road side hotel or the star restaurants.
Well I remember reading and forwarding a number of funny mails regarding some of the funny facets of the food habits of Chennaites, like
- Even dogs in Chennai feed on curd rice;
- Paani Puri or the Gol gappas are dipped in Sambar ;) and what not.
but then I was surprised to note that they are actually not just over dose of exaggeration as I excepted them to be, but then now I believe that there does exist a certain element of truth in this.
Daily at work I find my colleagues, having either curd rice or other colourful rice items or as a change dosas for lunch. The only thing that varies everyday is the colour of the chutneys and pickles that they carry alongside.
But the most memorable moment was when I and a colleague tried to be different and ended up paying the price for it. On the streets of T Nagar, we found of a number of eateries. I couldn't control my laughter when I noticed a stall named "kolkatta chats" selling items like "bhav pagii"(pav bhaji ..i suppose), "channa masala", "channa samosa","beel puri" and I couldn't scroll down....and the hotels who had got the spellings right always claimed that the junk that i prefer were over and hence not available
Looking at the list my colleague insisted on having Pav Bhaji, I promised her that I would try it out only under one condition provided we find a place which atleast spells the items right. Then we ended at a pretty posh looking sweet shop, with a decent sized snacks corner. It was here that I had my first Pav Bhaji at Chennai. My colleague was very happy to note that a plate of Pav Bhaji at Rs 25, almost half the price at Mumbai. So we ordered a Pav Bhaji each and had it full. Then we wished to try something more, we ordered a plate of Bhel Puri and Cutlet Channa. This is where we went a little overboard and expected them to good. It proved to be a costly mistake; the Cutlet Channa hardly had any piece of cutlet and the Channa was barely boiled. We felt like eating a half cooked dish and put it aside. Then we looked on to the other delicacy waiting for us, Bhel puri. Filled with a thick layer of Sev we expected the Bhel to be really tasty put it required just one spoon to get the real taste of it. Then we required was a stare and we silently walked off.
It didn't end there, after a bus journey to home here am I shuttling between my bedroom and bathroom; and i also recieved a call from the same colleague who accompanied in this endeavour, that she is down with fever.
So the lesson learnt: When at Chennai, be a Chennaite;eat Idly, Dosa and rice and drink filter Kaapi(coffee).