On a kulfi trail

Ahamed Jalal of Kulfiwala PHOTO: R. RAVINDRAN  

From being an alien dessert around two decades ago, to a sudden profusion of stalls... kulfis are the hot favourites in town. With the temperatures almost always on the higher side of 30 degrees, they are a great way to keep cool. A delicacy from the kitchens of the Mughals, these now come in exotic and innovative flavours and combinations — from blueberry to gulkhand.

Here’s our pick of five kulfi outlets in Chennai.


This one is like the Kate Middleton of the kulfi world. It’s prim and proper, minus the grime of the little kulfi kiosks, and smells heavenly. Situated above the K.C. Das outlet on Moores Road, Kulfiwala features a variety of flavours made by three generations of kulfi makers from Bombay. There are 30 flavours and they keep adding new flavours every month.

“We started last month. I was never really happy with the kulfis I tried here. They didn’t feel authentic. After I tried these in Bombay, I just had to bring them here,” says Ahamed Jalal, the proprietor. They are transported by rail... around 120 kg are delivered to the store every week. “We easily sell about 200-250 kulfis a day,” he adds.

Meetha pan, malai, choco chip, seetaphal, roasted almond, apricot and butterscotch are the most popular flavours. The current favourite is the guava kulfi in a beautiful shade of baby pink with little chunks of the fruit. And, it’s sprinkled with salt and chilli powder to give you the taste of delicious guava chaat.

Price: Rs. 75

Tel: 2821 2232

Timing: Noon to midnight

Address: No. 20, Moores Rd, Thousand Lights West

Tewary’s Kulfi

This brand has been around since 1979, much before the city got its many kulfi outlets. “Back then, people knew of ice cream but not kulfi. When we started, they were curious,” says R.K. Tewary, proprietor, and a former cinematographer. He wanted to start his own business and thus began Tripti’s Kitchen Rich (in Egmore), which served chaats and kulfis. Handling both the restaurant and films was getting hard, so he gave up the restaurant. However, the kulfis stayed, and he set up a store in Lake Area in 1982, where the little outlet still stands.

While clients queue up outside with their share of this dessert, Tewary says 80 per cent of the orders are takeaways. The kulfis are made in-house; behind the store is a production unit that churns out generous proportions in 23 flavours, every day. Malai and kesar are among the most popular. The new inclusions in the menu are coffee and blueberry. The kulfis here are creamy, but not cloyingly sweet. The coffee-flavoured one, with its crunchy texture and the mild essence of the beverage, is like joy on a plate.

Price: Rs. 50

Tel: 93840 55557

Timing: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Address: Corporation

Market Building, 4th Cross St, Lake Area, Nungambakkam

Kulfi Zone

Overwhelmed by its clientèle, this small kiosk moved to a bigger space three months ago, and now operates out of a 150-sq-ft outlet on bustling Radhakrishnan Salai. What is it that draws clients? “It’s the fresh flavours with real fruit in them,” says the person at the counter. “Or, it could be the creaminess. We boil 25 litres of milk till it’s down to 15 litres, and then start making kulfis,” he adds. The store has matka and stick varieties, of which the sticks are more popular.

The staff makes kulfis in two to three batches every day — each batch churns up 90 pieces of stick and 50 matkas. In a day, around 100 people come here for their dessert fix. Kulfi Zone has been around for 10 years, and, over the years, it has introduced new flavours. Among the bestsellers are chiku (overtly sweet but with the delicious fragrance and flavour of the fruit), gulkandh, mango and the recently-launched three-in-ones.

Price: Rs. 40

Tel: 95661 88853

Timing: 11 a.m. to midnight

Address: No 84, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Kaaraikudi Complex

Bombay Kulfi

Started in Coimbatore, the kulfi brand made its way to Chennai in February this year, with a branch in Adyar. Thanks to the fast-growing popularity, it soon set up its second outlet in Anna Nagar two months ago. There’s not a single evening when the place isn’t packed with kulfi enthusiasts.

The store has stick kulfi, slice and matka kulfi in various flavours. There’s blueberry, malai, pista badam, kesar, guava with chilli and salt sprinkled on top, and even chocolate and coffee.

The outlet also has quirkily-named variants Rangeela and Sholay, that seem to be winners with those frequenting the place. According to Hitesh Khanna, franchise owner of the city’s outlets, the tender coconut variant is most popular. “We’ve also introduced faloodas in the Anna Nagar branch last week, and plans are afoot to launch them in Adyar too,” he says, adding that Bombay Kulfi also stocks sugar-free variants. And while you’re at it, do try the malai kulfi — a decadent delight. Finally, a place that gets its malai kulfi right.

Price: Rs. 30 to 70

Tel: 77088 59752

Timing: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Address: A C5, Ground Floor, Second Avenue, Anna Nagar East

Dojo Kulfis

Set up seven years ago by the husband-wife duo Lakshmi and Jayachandran, Dojo is an extension of their love for the dessert. According to Lakshmi, the couple would eagerly wait till 11 p.m. each night for the local kulfi vendor to pass by to indulge their sweet tooth. “But, we noticed that most of the kulfi in the city was sold on pushcarts. We decided to set up a store where families could come and sit down and enjoy the dessert and also place bulk orders,” says Lakshmi, adding that the majority of their sales is from restaurants and party orders.

Dojo has a factory in Ennore (and also a store), where the kulfis are made fresh and sent to Mylapore. While the store started off with traditional flavours such as malai, pista badam and kesar, it has also introduced flavours such as chocolate and strawberry over time.

One of the highlights is the FIRADA (fig, raisin and dates) kulfi, which is made from palm sugar and has a distinct flavour. “This one can be enjoyed by diabetics without guilt,” says Lakshmi.

Price: Rs. 25 to Rs. 60

Tel: 99620 22850

Timing: 10 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Address: 42, Mundakanni Amman Koil St, Madhavaperumalpuram, Mylapore

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:23:58 AM |

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