This Chettinad food festival in Bengaluru is the perfect place for some authentic culinary experience

The menu includes Meen Varuval, Chicken Kuzhambu, Uppu Kari and lots more
In frame: The veg thali at the Chettinad food festival
In frame: The veg thali at the Chettinad food festival

Chettinad cuisine is one of the most celebrated cuisines in the Tamil Nadu repertoire. The dishes are cooked using a variety of spices and are made with fresh ground masalas. To celebrate its rich culinary history, The Park Bangalore is hosting the Chettinad Food Trails whose menu has been curated by chef Vishalla Vairavan. We made our way to The Park Bangalore and were escorted to Aqua, one of the restaurants in the hotel, where the festival was taking place.

We quickly struck up a conversation with Vishalla and she was only too happy to share the idea behind the food festival. "I have made some alterations to the dishes as per the crowd here. There is this yam curry that is part of the menu, which is not available here. What is served nowadays in the name of Chettinad is not the authentic one. Even in the Chettinad region, you will not come across restaurants serving authentic Chettinad cuisine. So, I wanted to provide an experience of what the Chettinad cuisine involves."

<strong><em>Mutton Kola Urundai Fried</em></strong>
Mutton Kola Urundai Fried

While continuing our conversation with Vishalla, we were served a couple of starters: Valaiopoo Vadai and Eraal Masala. A couple of bites into the vadai and we were told that it was made using banana flower. The taste was exactly like that of a masala vada. The Eraal Masala (prawn masala) was cooked to perfection and the flavour was on point. Then we were served another round of starters and this time we had Sanaikilangu Varuval and Mutton Kola Urundai Fried. The Sanaikilangu Varuval were small yam pieces, fried and tossed with fried cashews and sugar crystals. The mutton balls on the other hand were fried to perfection and the minced mutton inside was delicious too.

<strong><em>Eraal Masala</em></strong>
Eraal Masala

We then made our way to the dining table where the remainder of the dinner was served. First arrived the Kozhi Rasam or simply you can put it as a spicy chicken soup. With the flavours on point and the chicken pieces being succulent, it gave us the perfect start before the main course arrived. Next up arrived the non-veg thali we had ordered. It included an appalam, Meen Varuval (fish fry), Avicha Muttai Masala (steamed egg masala), Chicken Kuzhambu (chicken curry), Uppu Kari (mutton dry with red chillies), Pudalangai Thuvatal (sauteed snake gourd), Masala Peratal (carrot, peas and potato masala), White Pumpkin More Kuzhambu (yoghurt based pumpkin curry), Drumstick Sambar, Tomato Pepper Rasam, Coconut Rice and steamed rice.  

We tried all the dishes along with the steamed rice and coconut rice and it was a burst of flavours with each bite. We especially loved it when we mixed the fish fry along with the rasam and steamed rice. Our dinner ended with a bowl of Kavuni Arisi, which was sweet black rice pudding. This sticky dessert is a healthier option because of the usage of jaggery.

<strong><em>Kavuni Arisi</em></strong>
Kavuni Arisi

Vegetarians, don't worry. There is an option of veg thali too, which includes delicacies like Palakai Kola Urundai (baby jackfruit koftas), Vendakai Mochai Mandi (akra in a tangy sauce), Chow Chow Kootu (chow chow with lentils) and more.

The veg thali is priced at INR 1,450 while the non-veg thali is priced at INR 1,950. On till January 21. At The Park Bangalore, MG Road.

X: @al_ben_so

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