Street Food Night Out, Mannady, North Chennai

There is a separate world out here. A world where there are traffic jams while on foot! Places packed with shops. A world on its own. Where I can't even give you the address. Just vague directions! Park your car on NSC Bose Road, near Parry's Corner after 6 PM, when there is ample parking and walk on one of the lanes on the opposite side. And just keep walking.

Our first stop was a nameless, address-less place that doles out awesome beef and chicken fries. The best part? You pay for the weight. Rs. 30 for 100g of beef fry and 10 bucks for two pieces of Idiyappam (string hoppers). Yummy, deep fried heart attack on a plate! How do you find this place? Ask for Firdous, a popular sweet shop and this little shack is opposite it. Customer service is limited to the guy not shouting at you while your beef cooks.

Get to Firdous to get a the Fruit Malai to wash down the beef. And move on. Nothing more there, unless you fancy the awesome Makkan-Peda, an Arcot sweet that I didn't know was available in Chennai.

Next stop was Kabab Centre. Sorry, look it up on Google Maps as Kabab Centre, Mannady. No other way to give you directions, but it is in one of these roads. Or if you are on New Beach Road (the Burma Bazar Road), take the road next to Indian Bank Head Quarters and it should be there somewhere on your right. Some body said travel is all about the journey and not the destination, right? Think of it as though it applies to food as well!

What's special here? Kababs served in my favourite way! Why my favourite? Because I believe this is how Kababs must be served. A great kabab will not need chutney or onion, just some carbs to cut through it and just a Rumali or Parota would be great if the Kabab was great. It is all about the meat here. The beef shami kabab, the chicken gravy kabab and the lamb ones are all great! Next time, I want to try the Hariyali. You could do a full meal here, but we wanted to do a couple more of popular places and we moved on.

Bismi Parota Center. Sorry, no address. It is located on a tiny street between two tiny streets. Angappan Naican Street, I think it is, but people will be able to help you find this place because it is quite popular here. Talk about having fun at work! These guys toss around the parotas on the tawa like an art. After 8 PM, they throw it across the road to where you eat. Oh, yes, this 'restaurant' has two parts. The 'factory' on one side of the road exclusive for the parotas and the cashier, kitchen and the dining area on the other. It is quite fun to watch them! The parotas were the classic hand made and hand crushed ones. They are popular for the parotas with the fish gravy, but I avoided the fishes and stuck to their 'house' gravy. Loved it! 30 bucks!

It started raining, but that didn't stop us from trying one more dish - the ATHO! Yay! It has been a while since I had the atho and I was looking forward to it. There will be many atho street carts and you can take your pick. We had all three things on the menu - the atho, the soup and the egg with beja fry. Basic rules. The soup is free if you pour it over atho and it adds a brilliant flavour to atho, but, and especially when it was pouring, the warm soup is simply soul enriching. Besides the egg, this is the only vegetarian stuff of the night. Atho, made popular by the Burma returns (duh, Burma Bazar is next door) is like the street version of an awesome cold salad with an egg and soup element. Wonder if a 5 star chef can recreate a fine dine version of the atho! The eggs were 30 for two, the atho was Rs. 50 and the soup was Rs. 30.

Nope, no dessert as it was pouring. Next time, maybe.

Hygiene? What hygiene?