Nostalgia and food tend to go together. And with Eid today, bidding goodbye to pots of haleem after we got to savour it for so short a time seems hardly fair. So when the opportunity came along to soak in all the rich flavours that come with the season on one evening, courtesy a Ramadan Food Walk organised by The Park — let’s just say we were beyond excited.
And rightly so, you scoop up spoonfuls of mutton topped with caramelised onions, with an assortment of spices and cooked for over eight hours! This haleem came from Fisherman’s Fare, an always reliable bet for the speciality, year after year. Fasting or not, if you haven’t made it a point to dig into to a bowlful of haleem recently, you are quite frankly, mad!
However, as the trail weaved on into more unfamiliar territory — like eating steaming plastic cups of traditional kanji outside the Amirunissa Begum Sahiba’s mosque, things start to get less predictable. The kanji, a gruel with a mix of lentils and a light hit of spice, taste 10 times better than its humble appearance. Give us this on a feverish day, anytime of the year!
The light spell of rain that one of the mosques on our set path gave us shelter from, also added to the experience. Trudging through muck is no fun on a busy market stretch like Zam Bazaar in Triplicane. But drinking piping hot badam milk from a streetside stall with the earthy scent of wet mud in the air certainly is. Short of adding a smiley to the end of that sentence, let’s move on to our favourites of the evening.
And no, biryani was not one of them.
For a foodie who has never been drawn to the sticky repulsion that is halwa, the gorgeous Anda Halwa at the M R Sons Bakery had us flabbergasted. With similarities to the paal gova we all grew up on with a crisp top layer and a balance of sweetness that meant you could enjoy a whole piece (as opposed to one bite) without a saturated palate — we were in love. Fall for a sweet over a sweet man any day, we say. It doesn’t judge and you can choose as many as you want, right?
Our next dessert stop, post a biryani session at the Amirunissa Biryani Shop was the Basha Halwa Wala shop. Here, we tried a gorgeous Dum ka Root — a piece of golden heaven we never would have ordered on our own if not for the know-how of our hosts from The Park, chefs Santhosh and Saravanan.
Washing it all down with frothy, light lassi served in a beer mug at the Zam Bazaar Lassi Shop, the evening wound down with goodbyes and good digestion. Here’s raising a glass to flavour experiments that take one from 0 to 90 on the happiness scale, and to think all you need to do is open your mouth.