My love for food, eating, cooking begins and ends at home. Mostly with paati’s (grandmom) and amma’s (mother) samayal.
But, if I am allowed to explain further about my gourmet skills, I would like to give some context. We as a family moved our base to Chennai in 1994 and I moved in and out of Madras aka Chennai for various reasons in the past.
Currently, I am a happy resident here – pursuing music and working at a tech-based company. Chennai is home and became an integral part of me for two key reasons – music and food – necessarily in that order.
Rewind 20 years back, I was sent to classes to learn Carnatic vocal and violin. As a kid, every time I identified a raga, I got rewarded with some mouth-watering food. It didn’t stop with just raga identification. In a four-walled room, my gurus became compelling narrators and this gave birth to fascinating stories. As a pampered student in many ways, my gurus, while weaving stories, made me relish a few home-made delicacies. Some include thenkuzhal, javarasi payasam, vazhaipoo vadai, kandathippili rasam, rava kesari, panankalkandu pal, rava idlis, puliyodarai, adai-aviyal, so on and so forth. These experiences enriched my taste – music as well as food.
However, the epicure in me grew because of appa. He is a connoisseur of food and loves to experiment. Together, we embraced places like – the Woodlands drive-in, Rathna Cafe, Rayar’s Mess, Jannal kadai near Kapali koil, Mami Kadai, Karpagambal Mess, all the bhavans (especially in and around Mint/ Broadway area), Gnanambika Mess during December season to name a few.
Today, times have changed, I have changed too. Thanks to my friends and exposure to many a place outside Madras, I enjoy eating / cooking, anything and everything vegetarian. And, this translated into exploration for vast variety of food options in Chennai – Namma Cafe, Orchards, Dewberrys, Ox & Tomato, Food point, Kolkata Chat Corner, ID at Sathyam Cinemas, Fruitshop on Greams Road, Wonton, Kobe Sizzlers, Kryptos, Little Italy, Pind, Rajdhani, Lloyd’s Tea House.
WTF: Where’s the food?