When you are travelling, you get tastiest food at unexpected places. Today we experienced that at two places on our travel to Salem (Tamil Nadu) and surrounding region. Outside the cities it is safe and wise to always eat the local cuisine and to avoid eateries where you don’t find any locals but only tourists.
Breakfast in Tiruchengode town, Tamil Nadu
Today early morning after our darshan at Namakkal temple, we were on our way to Tiruchengode temple when we were looking for a good enough restaurant for our breakfast. There were many bakeries along the Attur-Rasipuram-Erode highway (Tamil Nadu State Highway 76) but cakes, puff (stuffed spicy pastry) and breads are not our preference for a morning breakfast. There were a few tiny and run-down eateries, but none appeared hygienic. As we entered Tiruchengode town we noticed this small vegetarian restaurant, MKG Hotel and we went in. The waiter was courteous, suggested we try their fresh Puri (deep-fried unleavened bread) with Potato Masala (spicy gravy) and Podi Dosai (red chili powder sprinkled on top of pancake made with fermented batter) with Chutney and Sambar (Curry) – after a few minutes he brought the dishes, and they were well-made and delicious.
Fresh Parotta for Lunch
Today as we (me and a friend) were travelling from Tiruchengode temple to Sankagiri fort (Tamil Nadu) in the afternoon, we stopped at Sri Saranava Bhavan, Padaiveedu for lunch. The restaurant is on the Salem to Kochi Highway (National Highway 544) and is part of a local chain of restaurants in the region and has no relation to the famous HSB restaurants from Chennai. Highway restaurants don’t serve tasty food, but this one defied it.
As we sat down and wondered about ordering Parotta or Chapati, I asked a pointless question to the waiter, “Are the parottas in your restaurant good or will it be chapatis“, for which he replied courteously that “Sorry, here staff are not allowed to eat the food made in our kitchen, so I have no idea which is better, let me get you freshly made parottas and you be the judge“. After a ten-minute wait, we were served delicious and spongy parottas (layered version of Indian flatbread made with refined wheat) piping hot along with vegetarian kurma (spicy gravy) and onion raita (yogurt dip) – the parottas served were certainly not the reheated ones you get in popular restaurants.
Cakes at a local bakery
Yesterday too, when we were travelling from Gingee to Ulundurpet, we kept seeing many bakeries, by the evening we got tempted and stopped at one for a few pieces of cake – a caramel and a strawberry, both were good at this small bakery called Sri Mahalakshmi Iyengar Bakery, Nemur in Gingee-Villupuram Road (Tamil Nadu State Highway 4).
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