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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    And now the highly spicy veg option at Sowcarpet

    Years ago, we would group together for what we then called "group study". The question papers in sociology and allied subjects needed sharp and to the point answers and the MSW degree was no joke at the prestigious Loyola College, Chennai. We would run up what we then jokingly called the "Nambiar steps" in an apparent reference to the steep steps that we could see in some MGR Tamil movies.MGR would run up several such steps to save his lady love from Nambiar the villain and would bash up thirty bad men.

    Decades later, after patiently climbing thirty-odd Nambiar steps I reached the AC hall of the famous National Lodge, a famous hotel at Sowcarpet, Chennai. Go to Govinda Street at Sowcarpet and ask anyone where is National Lodge. At Rs140/- the air-conditioned comfort would give you a very spicy Andhra Meal. Each dish is spicy. The generous ghee over hot rice followed by very tasty fall powder ( called Paruppu Podi) can be mixed with the tomato chutney to give your tongue the yummy taste. Onion and garlic are there in every dish. The ambiance is ok. The meal is served on the traditional banana leaf.

    This meal was very tasty and the rice and the side dishes are. Unlimited too. The Andhra feel is very much there. However, one needs to do a bit of gymnastics to walk along the narrow road and when you feel hungry after managing the horrible traffic on the road, the tasty and yummy food is worth the money.

    Try this place for a change.
  • #679991
    Andhra food is very famous. You will get spicy food as well as normal food also. You go to any small hotel in Vijayawada, the food will be very tasty. They will serve both spicy and nonspicy food also. Tiffins will be very good in that city. Guntur is very famous for spicy food. But Godavari Districts are famous for normal food.

    Pappula Podi is a famous dish in Andhra. If you mix ghee or oil in that and take it with idly, the tasty will be very good and much better than Sambar Idli. Many of us will use this Podi as a side dish at lunch and dinner. If we have an onion with this powder the taste will be good.

    I am not for spicy food. So I may not be able to enjoy this food. But my sons may enjoy. Anyhow, next time when we come to Chennai, we will try to taste in both the places you have mentioned two threads. On this day world food day many threads on food. Very timely thread by the author.

    always confident

  • #679994
    I was closely following the author's post on various food joints in Chennai which are giving an authentic taste of food and at an affordable rate. Andhra meals are normally spicy and if the hotel serves the Guntur style thali, then the food should be spicier as Guntur Michi is hotter than any other Mirchi powder. But that kind of spicy food will not be suitable for the Chennai residents and they may not like it. Nevertheless, good food availability across the Chennai is being updated by the author and we the members who are noting every post would surely try them when we visit Chennai sooner or later.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #680004
    Andhra food generally brings spicy hot food image in our minds. Though it might not be the exact picture as normal or spicy both types will be available in such lodge type hotel. As I avoid strong spices and chillies I did not venture for Andhra food but have heard about its deliciousness from my Andhra friends. I have taken normal Andhra meals in my friends house where he used to give us items like various types of rice, dosa, rasam, idli and vada. We used to offer them Puri Bhaji, chaat, pakoda etc. It is good to know about the Andhra meals available in National Lodge in Sowcarpet area in Chennai.
    Knowledge is power.

  • #680006
    There is no much difference between the meals of Tamilnadu, Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. Tamils add mirchi and salt reasonably. Andhrites add little more spices to their dishes. Kannadikas add little more sweet to their dishes. Keralites remain neutral between all the three states.

  • #680032
    The koottu is a dish that is actually done by boiling vegetables. At almost 80 percent places, it is not spicy. But the one I had at National Lodge was too spicy. The curry vegetable was potato. It was also spicy. The karakuzhambu which is the normal spicy version of sambar, or nearly veththakuzhambu in some hotels, was spicy too.

    Actually, the two differ in the way it is done. The veththakuzhambu can be done even without garlic. The karakuzhambu cannot be done like that. If Members can follow Tamil, I urge them to watch YouTube videos on the two different recipes. However, even here, Modern Lodge is positively spicy. However, the taste was very good and is a total contrast to the Thaligai experience. The Brahminical touch was totally missing.

    The experience was different. And life is just that. When one has different experiences, it becomes interesting.

  • #680041
    Here is the direction to get to this particular hotel, which is worth the try. Please do not walk it down from the Central Station side as the distance is more. From wherever you are, please board any bus going towards Broadway. This is so easy as there are thousands of buses to Broadway from so many points in the city. For example, from Besant Nagar, one can catch bus no. 23C, alight at Saidapet and then board any bus going to Broadway. Alight at the final stop. Cross over to the other side. Be prepared to do some gymnastics, as you will compulsorily rub shoulders with hundreds of people who would walk on the street. Ask for Govindappa Naich Street. This is called Sowcarpet, where Hindi is so widely spoken. From the Main road, the hotel is around forty shops ahead and it is a very famous destination. You have to go to the first floor to get the coupon. The non AC Version of the food is available for Rs.110 but the AC is better, as the environment is very good here.

    The AC meal costs Rs.140/-, and it is worth the money. However, you need to climb at least thirty odd Nambiar steps, as described above. Here is the full address.

  • #680046
    If I remember correctly broadway is Parys area and there is an imported goods market also in that surroundings. We never went there for food or eating. Once my relatives came and we took them to that imported market and they were very happy to get those goodies in a reasonable price. It is a good news that there is such a nice Andhra food restaurant in that area which the author has mentioned as Sowcarpet locality.
    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #680052
    Yes it is called the Parry s corner. It was a British company but now under the famous Murugappa Group. One can see the four storied imposing structure of the Murugappa Group on the left hand side at the end of NSC Bose Road. If one takes a turn to the left, he or she can reach the famous Beach station. From here one can take any train up to a distant town called Chengelpet, which will soon be part of Chennai itself. It is nearly 70 kms from Beach Station. The Company Parry s manufacturers sugar and a range of chocolates today. The flagship company is called EID Parry. At this Parry s Corner one can buy anything and everything. There is a joke that except for one's parents, everything else can be purchased here!!!

  • #680053
    When it comes to South Indian cuisine, nothing compares to Andhra food. I love the traditional vegetarian meals prepared in this part of the country. The sharp flavours tickle the tastebuds, like no other. I lived in Visakhapatnam for over eight years, which is when I began understanding and appreciating the subtle difference between different southern cuisines.

    Andhra dishes, both veg and non-veg, are delicious. The other southern regions that can be likened to Andhra cuisine are Kerala, especially the meat dishes and Konkan for the same reason. Tamil Nadu cuisine is comparatively bland. Although Chettinad cuisine is hot and spicy, I find the spices overpower the main ingredients.

    For years, I lived on the Marina Beach, very close to Parrys Corner, and routinely entered Govindappa Naickan St., where I bought dry fruits. It is the old part of the city, collectively called George Town. It is a maze really, with narrow streets, crowded by humans, cycle rickshaws, two-wheelers, moving handcarts, bullock carts and roadside stalls, especially at the mouth. Although I have been to the place umpteen times, I never noticed the National Lodge.

    However, we have bought food (biryani) at the YMCA hostel, opposite the High Court and of course Dindigul Thallakapatti, when it opened shop in Parrys. Another place in that vicinity that served reasonably priced, tasty food was the MLA Hostel dining hall. The site was torn down to make way for the new secretariat, but we were told that they would be back in business once the secretariat was inaugurated. I don't know if they ever came back.

  • #680054

    The imported goods market that you mention is called Burma Bazaar. It is a street market, with kiosks, set up on the pavement.

    The iconic building on Parrys Corner is striking. This part of Chennai has many famous buildings. The High Court premises has a lot of history. A plaque on the Flower Bazaar end, marks the spot where the German's had bombarded it. Inside the premises is a defunct lighthouse, which not many know about.

    On Armenian St., right next to Parrys Corner, are two very old Churches. The NSC Bose Rd. was formerly called China Bazaar Rd. The Reserve Bank bldg, and the General Post Office are also in the vicinity. Tour operators conduct walking tours, which I have heard are quite impressive.

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