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World on the city’s plate

Burma

World on the city’s plate

A large-scale the emigration of Tamils from Burma (now, Myanmar) in the 1960s saw many settle in Chennai, forming a colony close to the beach in the North of the city. One of the many things they brought with them was Burmese cuisine. To this day, there are street stall and restaurants that serve Burmese food; the most popular being atho (athok or thouk in Burma). It is a salad-like dish with grated vegetables and fried onions tossed in garlic oil, chilli powder, salt, masala powder and a lime juice. It is topped with orange noodles and crushed, crispy bejo and coriander. Bejo is another Burmese speciality — a fried snack made of rice flour and groundnuts. Other popular Burmese food served in Chennai are mohingamaida noodles served in a bowl of soup, masala eggs and plantain soup.

Anglo-Indian

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 11/08/2015: Anglo Indian Food displayed at Dakshin, Crowne Plaza, in Chennai on August 11, 2015. Photo: R. Ravindran

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 11/08/2015: Anglo Indian Food displayed at Dakshin, Crowne Plaza, in Chennai on August 11, 2015. Photo: R. Ravindran  

Chennai’s vibrant Anglo-Indian community has ensured that dishes like Pork devil fry, Devil’s Chutney and Chicken Ding Ding continue to tease the locals’ taste buds. The cuisine is typically the Indian version of British food made with local ingredients, spices and cooking techniques. In fact, this could very well be the first fusion food ever in the country’s history.

Chicken Ding Ding is made with sun-dried meat — probably originated when excess meat was sun-dried and preserved for rainy days. Devil’s Chutney is a sharp-tasting paste of onions, salt, sugar, vinegar and a bit of red chilli powder. Peekingkoy — the Anglicised name of the Peerkangai, (ridge gourd) — served with beef; Bobo Curry, an Anglo-Indian version of the chicken curry; Mulligatawny Soup — a rasam and soup hybrid — are some of the popular dishes.

China

TIRUCHI, 21/12/2010: Idly Manchurian displayed at New Khurrinji restaurant at Hotel Guru in Tiruchi. Photo:RM.Rajarathinam

TIRUCHI, 21/12/2010: Idly Manchurian displayed at New Khurrinji restaurant at Hotel Guru in Tiruchi. Photo:RM.Rajarathinam   | Photo Credit: RAJARATHINAM RM

The thriving Chinese community at Kolkata was the first to set up Chinese food stalls over 200 years ago. Eventually, they adapted the food to suit the Indian palate — with the inclusion of Indian vegetables and spices. Thus, the Indo-Chinese cuisine was born in its many versions. And the city of Chennai was only happy to add this cuisine to its multi-cultural culinary offering.

Today, popular dishes like the Manchurian and Schezwan — which bears no resemblance to the dishes from China’s Sichuan Province — are served in every restaurant and street food stall in the city.

With innovations like Schezwan dosa, spring roll dosa and chilli idli, even local dishes have not escaped the Chinese influence.

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The Momo is a Tibetan dish has travelled all the way from the Himalayan region. Typically made with yak meat, the versatile momo is now served with a stuffing of paneer and vegetables, in various combinations.

Thanks to Chennai’s automobile industry that saw the likes of Mitsubishi, Nissan, Hyundai and Yamaha set up factories here, Japanese and Korean cuisines have gained popularity. Several restaurants are run by the expats themselves.

Chennai also has a lot of settlers from Sri Lanka, especially the Tamil community, who bring with them the influences of their local cuisine resulting in variations of the sambar, boli (sweet pancake) and idiyappam (string hoppers).


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:20:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/world-on-the-citys-plate/article35918777.ece

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