19 October, 2020

Chennai Diary

In Outlook this week, a journalist's diary from Chennai.

Illustration by Saahil
Chennai Diary
Intel Inside

Food is uppermost on my mind whenever I go to Mad­ras—as I still call Chennai because Madras is the emo­tion I’ve known since 1969 when I first set sight on India’s “intellectual capital”, as Nehru called it. And, Madras never disappoints the food-loving Madrasi, often cal­led Sappatturaman by older folks who cannot bear to see hearty eaters. There’s always something new to tickle the taste buds.

Going Bananas

On this visit, I discovered vazhaipoo vadai—banana blossom vadai. It’s the tastiest vadai I’ve ever had and I had it daily during my recent 10-day stay in Valasaravakkam, Chennai. Soft inside, the outer layer is a crisp brown crust. It is the King of Vadais on Chennai’s snack scene. The other vadais—medhu, thavalai, keerai, cabbage, parippu, thattu, Maddur—are very much there, but not on top of anyone’s list. The vanilla...



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