The Flavours & Aromas of Sowcarpet
Updated: Apr 12
Tucked away in North Chennai is an area that got its name from the migrant traders or sahukars who chose to settle there. The narrow, winding lanes are home to the wafting flavours and aroma
s that these migrants from Rajasthan, brought with them. So whether you are a die-hard foodie, a gourmand, a culinary enthusiast, or a tourist, here’s a must-do food walk for you!
Tickle your taste buds with this food explosion…
· Start on a sweet note with Heerji’s Kaju and badaam katli, known for its’ melt-in-the-mouth concoction of this sweet delicacy. They also serve crunchy mixtures, farsan and sev.
· Stop by at one of the street stalls selling freshly fried, hot and crisp fritters. Bread bajji is a chutney sandwich rolled in seasoned gram flour, fried to perfection in piping hot oil. It makes for the perfect snack with its spongy texture, as you take a short break.
· If you are on the go, then Chinappa sandwich stall beckons! Their chutney and fresh vegetable-infused sandwiches make for a wholesome yet quick bite.
· What happened when America descended on Indian streets? What happened when crisps met the sandwich? Murali has the answers! Enjoy a unique experience of crunchy and surprising goodness with the softest bread ever, complemented by the tangy chutney, only at Lay’s Sandwich.
· Flavours of Mumbai pervade Mehta’s vada pav, an irresistible combination of crisp potato vadas dusted with spices and salted green chilies, tucked into slit halves of soft pav bread, served warm.
· Shree Vada Pavis another option for lovers of this Mumbai staple. Crunchy potato dumplings are placed in slit pav and seasoned with their in-house sweet, piquant and garlic chutneys, generously dusted with spices and green chilies.
· One of the oldest food joints is Chotu Motu, where till date the owner takes pride in lending his magic touch to all the delicacies on the menu. If ravenous, try their giant club sandwich or tickle your taste buds with the delectable dahipuri.
· Mansukh specializes in Mumbai bhel: puffed rice tossed with peanuts and raw mango, smothered with coriander and tamarind chutney, topped and served with sev and fresh coriander.
· Novelty’s pav bhaji is sheer temptation! Seasonal vegetables lovingly cooked with dollops of butter, lemon juice and special masalas, served topped with fresh coriander and chopped onions. The baby soft pav served alongside, generously smeared with melted butter completes the picture of sheer indulgence.
· Go right ahead and indulge your sweet tooth! If you crave hot gulab-jamuns, syrupy jalebis, or spongy rasgullas, this could well be your one-stop-shop! If savoury is more your style, then take your pick from sukhibhel or geelibhel at Ajab Mithai Ghar.
· True to its name, Kickass Chaat dishes out a variety of chaats bursting with flavour and spice! Take your pick from tangy aloo, papdi-sonth, samosa-kadhi or mixed fruit chaat, ragda patties, dahivada etc. They offer a wide variety to please the palate.
· If you cannot resist mouthfuls of soojigolgappas, puchka or pani poori stuffed with a pinch of seasoned potatoes and dunked in teekha jeera paani, then Rajendra’s is where you should head to.
· Aggarwal Sweetsis better known for its hot, crisp samosas and kachoris washed down with flavourful badaam milk or chilled lassi. Other favourites include dahi-papdichaat, sevpuri, chana samosa etc.
· Nothing quenches the thirst better than a tall glass of chilled lassi on a hot, sultry day. The king of lassi is Lassiwala,churning fresh yogurt with traditional hand paddles in an earthen pot, pouring out frothy sweet or salt lassi. A treat to watch and taste.
· One of the most renowned dairy product retailers in the city is Gopal Dairy, with the distinction of selling out their fresh products within two hours! Freshly baked buns jostle for space with fruity jams and freshly churned, velvet-textured butter.
· If the rice-lover in you is alive, then savour Shiv Sagar’s amazing and delectable tawa pulao: a duet of rice with crunchy vegetables, Szechwan style with a hot sauce or veg fried rice. The exhaustive menu also offers Jain pizza, pav bhaji, sandwiches etc. Their anjeer or black current milk shakes are irresistible!
· If you prefer the local, authentic South Indian fare and tiffin, Krishnaprasad is the perfect pit-stop. Try their keeraivada, idli, sambar rice, potato masala, and dosa. Wash it all down with a steel tumbler of frothy and aromatic filter coffee.
· When you see fluffy utthapams sizzling on a hot tawa and baby idlis smothered in molagapodi(gun powder) you know you are at Seena Bhai. Take your pick of mouth-watering snacks from their exhaustive menu
· The magical concoction of crisp kachoris smashed to perfection, smothered with pudina chutney and dahiwada, dusted with crisp cornflakes is synonymous with the 40 years old Jantar Mantar, poised near Kakada Ramprasad. So, if you were to say “pack 2 Jantar Mantars for me” you would be well understood!
· If you think spice is nice, stop by Maya Chaat for some delicious and spicy snacks. Known for their crisp fried samosas, mouth-watering panipuri andmirchivadas, but it’s their typically Rajasthani pyaazki kachori which wins hands down! Their secret mix of onions, potatoes, green chillies and pounded masalas distinguish these kachoris from any other!
· If you prefer the less messy type of food, perhaps Raj Snacks & Chats is the place for you! Their vegetable sandwiches come in different tiers, some laced with mint chutney or tomato ketchup, with sliced cucumber, carrot and tomatoes peeping from between. The open garlic toast is a crunchy treat of toasted bread slices smeared with dollops of butter and minced garlic, seasoned with their secret ingredients.
· Now on a hot summer day, what could be better than a tall glass of a chilled thirst-quencher infused with the nutrition and goodness of dry fruit? Kakada Ramprasaddishes out the best badaam milk shake in town. Thick milk, laced with strands of saffron and blended with a generous helping of slivered almonds, spells sheer temptation!
· If you are looking for an instant energy booster, packed with health benefits and essential nutrients to beat the scorching heat and cool you down, look no further! Ganesh Cool Bar offers this pale green magic potion, the very best you can get: a tall glass of freshly ground sugarcane juice with a hint of mint, ginger and citric lemon, packed with a volley of crushed ice.
· An array of shelves heaving with fresh fruit greets you at Juice Point on Mint Street. Melons, watermelons, papaya and chikoo jostle for space with plums, grapes, strawberries, guavas and apples. They create an innovative range of fresh juices from the tempting and delicious mix of fruits. Take your pick from their range of natural goodness poured in a tall, chilled glass.
· How about some local fare? Elbow your way through the crowds near Mahashakti hotel, invariably for the hot, crisp dosas, deftly rustled up, at Vegetable Dosa Corner. The wafting aroma of freshly made, aromatic sambar and finely ground coconut chutney are the perfect accompaniments to the five varieties of dosas served here, filled with a variety of delicious vegetable filling.
· When it comes to local street food nothing beats the Idli-Dosa Mandi strategically placed outside Chotu Motu’s! Satin smooth chutneys and coarsely crushed chillies complement the piping hot sambar simmered to perfection. Take your pick from crisp dosas smeared with a dash of ghee or bite into the freshly steamed, baby soft idlis. Tickle your palate with wholesome South Indian delicacies.
· How can you think of ending a food walk without tucking into Kakada Ramprasad’s delicious hot jalebis infused with gooey sweetness? Making this saffron coloured Indian dessert is an art form and a study in perfection.The batter is squeezed in perfect concentric circles and fried in hot ghee, exuding an irresistible aroma, and then soaked in sugar syrup. A t-to-be-missed treat!
· What about a bit of indulgence for your sweet tooth? Step into Maharaja Ice Cream for a chilling experience and try their in-house ice creams, creamy and irresistible with an infinite choice of flavours. Move over vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, here is a selection of mouth-watering ice creams in chikoo, custard apple, orange and kesarpista,but Mahraja is best knownfor its divine anjeer-gulkand ice cream.
· Every Indian foodie would love to end the meal with a paan: the traditional Indian digestive of betel leaves filled with areca nut, elaichi, kattha,slaked lime paste, saunf, gulkand etc. Stop by at Kalu Paan Shop or Raju Paan House for a mindboggling variety in paan: from plain saada and meetha to Maghai, Calcutta or Benarasipaan. Try their specialties like chocolate, tutti-frutti, mint, coffee and even black forest paan, glistening in the sunlight, rolled in silver foil.
Food walks are not just about the delectable fare you can savour, they are the art of storytelling through food. Apart from lip-smacking food, they are also about interesting insights and anecdotes that you gather along the way. You imbibe the local culture through the sights, sounds, flavours, aromas, and the food you eat on these walks: a great way to spice up your holiday experience!