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One-stop spot for 100 varieties of tasty street food

Chefs are busy in a stall at the ‘Trichy Food Festival’ on Tuesday.M. Srinath

The surroundings may be more sophisticated, but the specialities picked up from the street stalls of Tiruchi and transplanted into the Chembian multi-cuisine restaurant at the Sangam Hotel in an ongoing food festival manage to taste as nice as the original ones.

Billed as the ‘Trichy Street Food Festival’, the ongoing promotion offers over a hundred varieties of dishes inclusive of the regular dinnertime buffet option.

“Most of these items, likeBadam Paal(a milk-based drink made with almonds) and pan-fried liver are not native to our food culture, but still are among the most popular street foods in Tiruchi. Our chefs have been working for several weeks to test these dishes on site, and then reproducing the same taste in our kitchens,” K. Devakumar, Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, Sangam Hotel, toldThe Hindu.

The biggest challenge has been to recreate the taste without resorting to adding artificial flavour enhancers, said J. Mubarak, Executive Chef. “Street food, especially noodles, is full of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG, popularly known by its brand name ‘Ajinomoto’), which is banned in our hotel. So, for the Burmese Atho, we had to work extra hard on creating a spice mix that reflects the MSG taste. We succeeded, but our new spice will have to remain a trade secret,” he smiled.

Served by staff dressed in casual shirts and lungis, the ambience of the Chembian will remind one of (a very hygienic) street stall.

The sample menu started with a peppery mutton soup, followed by vegetarian Burmese Atho Noodles, which came steeped in a banana stem broth and garnished with crunchy ‘baijo’ fried crackers.

The pan-fried liver was moist and served with the just the right amount of spice. Coconut Boli and laddoos rounded off the dinner.

Live stations featuring ethnic cool drinks like Nannari Sharbat, Rose Milk and Jigarthanda, fried fish, chicken tenders, street food staples parotta, dosai, paniyaram, and a dessert serving counter decked up like a ‘malligai’ (grocery) shop add vibrancy to the dinner.

‘Trichy Street Food Festival’ is on from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m..

The festival concludes on October 28.


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