Yen ree? Tiffin-giffin Aitha?

Vaishnavi, an ardent Bangalorean left for New Jersey last December. In a beautiful post in her blog before leaving she wrote:
“The sort of pangs that hit you when you have to leave 25 years of your life behind (and try and pack a bit of it into 2 suitcases) are really difficult to handle.”

If ever there was one person who was proud of Bangalore and loved every bit of Bangalore,it is Vaishnavi and so I asked her to write about what she was missing most about bangalore in her new life. And she sent me a delicious mail in her inimitable style which I am posting here.
What follows are Vaishnavi’s words:

“Yen Ree? Tiffin-Giffin Aitha?” by Vaishnavi Tekumalla.
A compilation of 10 of my many favourite snacks in Bangalore.

I miss Bangalore every single day. It’s not just the people or the streets or the languages that I miss, it’s the feel of the city. Just the comfortable feeling I took for granted when I walked around knowing that every lane was home to me. Every street corner, every pretty park was ours. Always Namma Bengalooru.

I am a complete foodie, always have been and always will be. Come 4pm and I find myself day-dreaming about the delicious snacks Bangalore has to offer. Here are my top ten snacks from Bangalore in no particular order. Little meals that made many an evening special. And no, it’s not going to rain. That’s just my tummy you hear rumbling away.

One : The Super Savory Special Sev Puri in Sukh Sagar (followed by Chickoo Milkshake)!
Sukh Sagar in Jayanagar 4th block is one of my favourite hang-outs. Unfortunately, they renovated it and I just can’t relate to its new look, but the old Sukh Sagar with the white tables and green cushioned seats, marble walls with neatly arranged pineapples and other fruit in the window is always what springs to mind. This is a place I went to often with family and with my friends. I spent many an evening sitting in the car with my mom outside Sukh Sagar talking about all and sundry and enjoying the delicious Special Sev Puri. Most people come here for the Ragda Pattis or the Pav Bhaji (both Sukh Sagar specialities), but I have always been a Sev Puri fan. The Sev Puri, which was my initial favourite, was eventually replaced by the special version, which is Special Sev Puri that has freshly grated coconut sprinkled on top. Beats me how this can make such a significant difference, but it does. In fact, it makes a tremendous difference. I always finished my meals with a by-two Chickoo Milkshake – which is still my absolute favourite drink ever. In the summer, the Mango Milkshake is fantastic too!
Note: If you’re North Indian and you’re expecting North Indian Sev Puri, you should keep in mind that the Bangalorean Sev Puri has its very own taste and making comparisons is not a good idea, really!

Two : Kabab Corner Chicken Rolls
The next time you are driving on St.Mark’s road, stop at Kabab Corner and order a quick round of chicken rolls. I don’t have any good things to say about the rolls at Fanoos, but I sure can vouch for the chicken rolls at Kabab Corner. They are extremely appetizing! The rotis are thin and fresh and the filling, which consists of shredded chicken and onion cooked in a spicy masala is stuffed into it generously, so you’re not left with a whole lot of roti and no filling at the end. The rolls are obviously, very filling. And don’t forget to dip into the tangy green chutney that comes along with it. The fresh onions and succulent chicken pieces come together beautifully with the chutney in one bite.

Three : The Wobbly Eggs at India Coffee House
India Coffee House is located on M.G.Road and is one of my favourite little places in Bengalooru. I love everything from the coffee-ad frames on the wall, to the endearing old waiters, dressed royally. Please go and order yourself a “Scrambled Eggs with Toast”. For years, it was a complete mystery how these people could make the most perfectly wobbly eggs – but apparently the secret is to throw a giant slab of butter in at just the right moment. In any case, I know absolutely no one who can prepare the wobbly eggs so perfectly. Add plenty of pepper and prepare to get addicted for life. You might’ve eaten a lot of eggs in your life cooked in a variety of styles, but honestly, absolutely nothing compares. This is as eggcelent as eggs can get! (Not Eggzagerating!).

Four: The Jelly with Cream at Lake View
When you walk out of India Coffee House, make a sharp left and head up M. G. Road. Keep walking until you see a sign that says “Lake View” on your left. The ice-cream here is very good and the egg sandwiches are SO amazing. I love their chicken sandwiches too. You must try them sometime. But no matter what, I simply have to have the Jelly with Cream here. Just a bowl full of yummy red jelly topped with a large helping of the softest, fluffiest, sweetest, richest cream ever. Sheer Heaven in your mouth.

Five: The Kababs at Samarkand
Have you ever been to a restaurant, just ordered loads of appetizers and ended your meal there. Let me tell you the BEST way to do it. Go to Samarkhand in Gem Plaza on infantry road. Order only one thing. One plate of the Chandni Kabab. People. Believe me. This has to be the most soft, succulent mouth-watering chicken I have EVER eaten. I went there with my friend JB once, and we just couldn’t get over it. We devoured a plate of Chandni Kabab each and went home, incredibly happy.

Six: Assam Tea with honey at coffee day, apple pie
This is more than just a random drink. It holds a lot much special significance in my life. This is the drink that helped me through many tough days at work, the drink that I shared some really great conversations over, the drink that kept me awake late at night, that helped me make new friends and gave my throat great relief. I also got great comfort from walking to Coffee Day and getting myself a cup of Assam Tea with honey. The tea is simply delicious and adding sugar just doesn’t cut it. You simply must order it with honey and you’ll know what I mean when you taste it. If you’re hungry, try a slice of Coffee Day’s yummy apple pie. The apple is soft and the crust is thick and soft at the same time. And ooh, when a raisin suddenly appears in your mouth! VERY delectable!

Seven: Cake Fudge at Corner House
I’m sure you’ve heard of Corner House’s infamous DBC. The Death by Chocolate is no simple dessert. For Bangaloreans, it’s a phenomenon. I love the DBC, but personally, I find it too hard to finish an entire DBC all by myself. I prefer the smaller cousin of the DBC, the Cake Fudge. The Cake Fudge is a brilliant piece of art that is put together with several soft, fluffy pieces of chocolate cake that are placed around a mountain of vanilla ice-cream. These delectable items are then engulfed in a sea of hot, smooth chocolate fudge which I suspect comes straight from Willy Wonka’s personal chocolate reserve. I almost always have to ask for an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream to battle the fudge deluge. If you’ve got the room, try the litchis with ice cream too. Delish!!

Eight: The Idli-Vada-Sambar at the SLVs.
Please don’t even get me started on this. Every single day, I crave for fresh, hot Idli Vada Sambar at my favourite SLV. How come all of Bangalore’s SLVs are so great? The one close to my place has the best vadas ever. They are really crisp on the outside and super soft on the inside. I know for a fact that people come here from really far away just for the scrumptious vadas. I love the chutney too, it’s fresh and has just the right consistency. If you want to experience the exquisite taste of Bangalore, try a plate with two steaming white idlis, a crisp vada, a bowl of hot sambar and a bowl of fresh coconut chutney. Hold that thought. I have to go. I need to book my tickets. NOW.

Nine: Pavlova, Cheesecake and Walnut Meringue
Picture: Pavlova!

These three rare, distinct forms of dessert are proof that you do not need a harp and feathery wings to experience heaven.
Picture: Sangeeta Damani’s Fruit Gateau

My loyalties have always been with good Caramel Custard but I would gladly offer you an arm for a slice of Pavlova. Available at Herbs n Spice in Indiranagar, a bite of this delightful piece will make you close your eyes and drown in your bliss before you take another bite. The picture (shot by Madman of Shiok) says it all.
If you have not tasted any of Sangeeta Damani’s cakes, you should do so immediately with absolutely no further ado. Life is too short, people. And taste and quality is something her cakes are not short of. They are so well prepared that I am truly amazed at how consistently good they are. The Mixed Fruit Gateaux I had for my birthday was so palatable that it disappeared in a matter of minutes! My favourite one so far has been the Blueberry Cheesecake. I invite you to please come and share a slice with me. You have got to see my face when I take a bite.
What can be better than dessert? Dessert that is crunchy. Again, available at Herbs n Spice in Indiranagar, the walnut meringue is a gratifying combination of crunchiness and supremely soft, sweet cream. These three desserts are absolutely amazing and eating one slice each makes for the perfect dessert snack.

Picture: Sangeeta Damani’s Blueberry Cheesecake

Ten: Khara Bun at Iyengar Bakery and Litchi Cake at Sweet Chariot
I love going to 4th block Jayanagar by myself and loafing around in chappals without a care in the world. I did this very often, especially in Bangalore’s glorious evening weather. One of the most enjoyable experiences was a snack that meant going to two places, across the street from each other. First you go to the Iyengar Bakery next to Janatha Bazaar (in between Bombay Dyeing and RAN stores). Here you order yourself a Khara Bun. Sigh. The distinctive taste of Bangalore’s piquant Khara Buns is something you can truly relish. Bite after bite of soft, fluffly, tangy goodness will win you over, especially when random, crunchy onion bits appear from out of nowhere. If you’ve got a big appetite, you must try an Alu Bun, a Sweet Bun, a piece of Sponge Cake and some Butter Biscuits too. Next, we complement this Khara meal with something sweet. In any case, I am incapable of walking past Sweet Chariot without getting myself a pastry. I am a big Black Forest, Pineapple Pastry fan. However, I have lost my heart to the most tempting cuboid of them all. Purely peachy looking pieces with the shiny, sweet, gelatinous layer lying gently on top, adoring a piece of Litchi. Oh, the Litchi pastry.

If you are in Bangalore, and would like a taste of the choicest local delicacies. Pick one, any one. Bangalore weather has always been good. They don’t call it well-seasoned for nothing!

9 Comments so far

  1. silkboard (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 9:12 am

    Oh yes, food is a big part of that ‘home feel’.

    Incidentally, as someone who went west and returned home, I wrote a similar “feels like home” bit last week.

  2. Mehak (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    I misssssssssssssssss Bangalore :(

  3. Poorna (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 10:22 am

    Usha and Vee,
    This is such an amazing post! :) c’est super! full drooool happening.

  4. Shruthi (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 11:54 am

    Lovely post! I discovered lots of goodies I Did not know existed, but point number Ten sounds like I wrote it! :))
    The Khara Bun of Iyengar Bun is my regular evening snack – I bring it to office everyday to fight the 5 pm hunger pangs! :)

  5. Arun (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 12:39 pm

    Looks like missing Bangalore = missing food :)

  6. Mytri (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

    Sigh!! numbers 1 and 10 are our favorites. I take the children everytime we are in Bangalore which is about once a year. Have never tried the Jelly at Lakeview. Shall print out the list for “future reference”

    thank you for starting off my day in such a fantastic fashion.

  7. Kishor Cariappa (unregistered) on September 11th, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

    Sweet Chariot has been my favourite too, and they had the best cakes in town. Tiger Trail at Hotel Harsha has an array of mouth-watering kebabs. Worth giving it a try…

  8. Beej (unregistered) on September 16th, 2006 @ 11:07 am


    What a nice surprise to see Bengalooru in vivid colour.


  9. Aqua (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 3:36 pm

    grrooan! now my tummy’s rumbling Vaish! and thanks usha for posting this. i’ve passed by india coffee house so many times but didn’t know that such gastronomic pleasures lay within. same goes for kabab corner!
    and yes…i love starters and mostly end up making a meal outta them.

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