I never eat breakfast on early morning red eyed flight to Chennai. This is for good reason. The meetings generally start at around 11am and I have enough time to savour my breakfast at “Murugan Idly”. I have been a fan of Murugan Idly ever since it operated at platform 3 at Madurai station. Then it was a hole in the wall sort of a eatery but always packed to the brim.
At Murugan Idly, it is free seating. This means that you would be sharing your space with strangers. But dont worry, you have not come to this place for a conversion. Before you even look around, a fresh banana leaf would be placed in front of you. You are supposed to sprinkle water from the glass tumbler and you should wash the leaf gently. Better still, sprinkle water around the leaf as well. While you do this, the waiter in a tearing hurry would place steaming hot idlys and some 3-4 different type of chutneys. You need to be a brave man to dig your fingers as the scalding steam burns your fingers. While you are doing this, hot sambhar would be poured over idly and the liquid would dance all over the leaf. Now you need to be a dextrous, but the softness of the idly would blow you away. You haven’t eaten such a masterpiece ever. You dig in more and its awesome.Order a masala dosa and enjoy the heavenly experience.
Lunch is usually reserved at “Karaikudi” opposite Niligiris Nest. They have a sumptuous south Indian thali. If you are a non vegetarian then you must order ” Sora Puttu” ( stir fried pounded shark meat) and “Prawn Veruval” ( prawn dish). The whole experience of mixing Sora Puttu, rice, prawn veruval and variety of daals is nirvana for me. The lunch satisfies the soul and generally the meetings afterwards are a breeze.
Evenings are reserved for “Annalakshmi” which is an upmarket joint where lots of otherwise working professionals do in their bit in cooking and serving and the profits are used for charity. Amazing place.
For something exotic, run for a Korean joint. Yes, there are plenty of Korean joints in Chennai courtesy Hyundia factory. You have a burner in the middle of the table and all the ingredients are carelessly thrown over bubbling broth. Benjorang, a Thai joint is another one of my favourite.
One can also run for Punnuswamy or military mess if you are in an adventurous mood. The food is hot, boiling and spicy. With steam coming out from your ears and nostrils, its a game for the iron stomach guys.
Pack namkeens from Grand Sweets for home and the family wouldn’t mind you spending so much time in Chennai. Their banana chips and Murukku are mind blowing.