The beautiful Pondicherry is also known as Puducherry, is one of the most vibrant places we have been to. This place is an amalgamation of a number of cultures owing to the different colonial rulers. Pondicherry has been under the control of the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch as well as the British, which is what makes this state distinct. Some of the most popular foods in the region are in fact French or Portuguese.
Keeping all things in mind, we began our journey in Pondicherry along with our lovely host Haksheta Rajasekar, at Baker Street. We tried the classic croissant with a twist of Tandoori Chicken and the perfect breakfast combination of eggs, ham and cheese in a quiche. The flavours may not be too scintillating to the Indian palate that is used to a hefty dose of spices but nonetheless, these dishes were mouth-wateringly delicious!
Our next stop was the Murugan Cafe where we tasted a unique uthappam with an even more unique accompaniment. The cashew uthappam is made with a lot of ghee and cashews giving it a very nutty texture, and served along with is a Vadacurry. The cashew uthappam was crispy yet super fluffy and we learnt that like all good things in life, the vadacurry was made by accident when the cook mixed a few leftover vadas with stew.
Then for a pick-me-up, we visited the Sri Sai Ram Coffee Bar for some Filter Coffee. Like we always say- ‘a trip to South India is incomplete without a cup of Filter Coffee.’ The Filter Coffee here is super strong and is the perfect way to awaken your senses.
Later we reached J A Arcot Biryani Hotel for some out-of-this-world Biryani. The chicken biryani here is made with long grain basmati rice, unlike the short-grain rice which is popular in the region. The biryani has a strong flavour from the ginger and garlic and is absolutely delicious. This biryani style is popular in Arcot, which is a small district in Vellore. From here we went on to explore the famous Gourbet market. The market is named after the first Chief Minister of Pondicherry, Édouard Gourbet. The market is filled with varieties of colourful flowers, vegetables and spices. Here we discovered the different types of Banana leaves and their different uses, and Mor Milagai which is chillies soaked in buttermilk that makes it salty and then sun dried. To beat the heat we tried the Neer Mor, which is just what you need on a hot summer’s day. We even visited the Fish market where you get some of the freshest variety of seafood.
Then, we moved on to a place called Irfan Restaurant. This is located in a Muslim dominant region, which is to say the food is absolutely divine. Here we tried the Nei Parotta, Nei means Ghee in Tamil, which simply means the Parotta is fried in desi ghee. It is served with Mutton Saalna or curry, and we also got the Naati Khozi Fry/ Desi Chicken Fry. The combination of these three things is to die for! You can get this same combination even early in the morning for breakfast or you can go for the slightly healthier option and try the mutton saalna with idiyappam.
Finally, our lovely food tour came to an end with some rocking Sherbet. R K Juice Centre is known for serving the Paal Sherbet that is made from condensed milk, milk, nannari sarbath, sabja seeds and almond gum. This drink is served completely chilled, it is healthy and super refreshing! So if ever you're in Pondicherry and hoping to find more local food options, don’t forget to visit these places. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.