Many destinations are written as “Foodies Paradise.” And many places are, however let us define what makes paradise. Excellent top quality food and a wide choice of foods are a must. But what really makes a great food destination is that it has food that is not only good for you but your soul as well.
Pondicherry is one such place. The variety of cuisine choices are many, French, Chettinad, local Brahmin, vegetarian and seafood. Love continental…this is the place to have authentic French fare. Love dosas…welcome to dosa kingdom. And for those who like variety, and for those who like to experiment Pondicherry is the perfect place. Unless you have come for a long stay like most people time is short and there are only so many meals you can have. Here are five places and a few foods to experience:
Satsanaga—An odd name for an authentic French restaurant, this establishment has now opened a second
restaurant serving only pizzas. The thin crust pizza is among the best pizza I have had in India. Excellent sauce, cheese and a great selection of toppings. The grilled tiger prawns and crepes are a must in the original Satsanga. The menu has a wide selection of seafood, meats and vegetarian dishes. Rs. 900/- for two
Aurobindo Ashram –The Ashram feeds 2500 people a day. The food is simple, wholesome and most of the ingredients are cultivated by the Ashram itself. Our meal consisted of generous portions of khichadi(a rice dish), sambhar(liquid South Indian curry), curds(yogurt), chutney, and soft home baked bread. The wheat bread was soft and just out of the oven. Eating this hot food is a welcome change from eating regular restaurant food and gently warms the heart. Rs. 10/- per person
Satguru’s—This family eatery is where the locals go to eat vegetarian snacks and traditional thalis(large dishes with the entire Indian meal). The long menu can be daunting for a non-South Indian. Local delicacies known as idiyappams are delicious. Idiyappams look like thin sticky spaghetti. Made with rice flour and coconut it absorbs the accompanying vegetable stew and lightly sweetened coconut juice. Tandoori idli was tasty but the sensation after eating deep fried food will stay with you longer than anticipated. Yes, this tandoori dish is deep fried and not tandoored. Rs. 200/- for dinner for two.
FUN(Food U Need) Restaurant – Part of the Dune Eco Resort this restaurant serves food that is “hypotoxic.” Hypo is Greek for without and hypotoxic foods are those without toxins. Toxic is defined as organic and without chemicals. Most of the produce and dairy products are organically grown on the premises. The concept was originated by Jean Siegnalet, a French doctor and pioneer in the transplants, particularly renal
transplants. An eminent physician, Dr. Siegnalet successfully carried out tests with his diet on hundreds of his patients. Patients that were on his diet plan became much healthier. The diet follows a basic idea: some modern foods are modified from “ancestral” ones, whereas our digestive system has not modified. In short the philosophy of the diet involves eating non-modified foods that are easily digested.
Chef Raman is enthusiastic and is in the process of making the entire menu hypotoxic. I stayed at the Dune and had many meals there; everything was exceptionally good. I recommend the Thai curry, squid with vegetables and for the sweet tooth, buckwheat pancakes topped with a beautiful mixture of bananas, honey and coconut. Be prepared to wait as non toxic food takes time, nothing comes out of a can and is made fresh on site. Dinner for two is approximately Rs. 800/-
Appachi Restaurant –No foodie’s trip to Tamil Nadu is complete without eating chettinad cuisine. This is a treat for hard core non-vegetarians. The mutton dishes with the local masalas open the taste buds to enjoy different flavours. The place gets full fast so an grab a table early. Dinner for two is approximately Rs.500/-
All the prices are without alcohol and include dessert.