Raining hot 'n' cold!

Monsoon Food

Erstwhile: A view of the old India Coffee House.

The connection between the rain and hot spicy food is well-known.The craving for specific spices and particular dishes is intense during the monsoon. Some pick on good old favourites like bajjis and adrak chai, others binge on more curious creations.

In nippy, damp weather, everybody craves for the comfort of the familiar. Metrolife spoke to some Bangaloreans to discover what’s got the City salivating this monsoon. This season makes theatre person Sudarshan Rajagopal nostalgic. “Pakoras and chai is a must for the monsoon. The whole family used to sit together and play cards sipping on chai and eating pakoras.” Advertising professional Vivek Chandrashekar, another pakora enthusiast adds a condition, “It has to be from a nookadwala, not some fancy place.”

For young entrepreneur Rakesh Samtani, the rains mean one thing –– snacking through the day. “The monsoons make you eat more. So you keep munching on something or the other. You should eat chaat during the monsoon. You should eat it even if you don’t like chaat. That chatpatta taste is a must. There is this place called Shankar Bhel House that I like to go to. It’s very unhygienic but the chaats are really good. Other than that, I like to sip on hot chocolate and munch on kebabs.”  

While these are the favourite flavours of the season, one of the most preferred locations is the old Coffee House on MG Road. Chandrashekar loves to sip hot coffee here. “I love sitting by the big French windows at home and reading a book. If I’m not doing that, then I like the old coffee house.” Adding to this vote of approval is Prathima Subramaniam, an  HR consultant, “I love the veg cutlets and coffee at the Coffee House. I used to sit there for hours, on the first floor, when it rained and read. I’ll really miss it this monsoon.”

While these are the more popular options, there are plenty of offbeat yearnings. Agnel Banken, a self-confessed foodie, has a whole list of these. “I like the Paya soup at this place called Naidu's Hotel in Kalasipalyam. It's especially good if you have had a long drinking night because it knocks you dead sober. It helps you lose the sniffles. He opens at 6 am and you can even get freshly made biriyani that early in the morning. The other hot favourite is Rum and Pandi fry, he reads off his list. Samtani confesses to indulging in ice-cream at Corner House in the rain, “something cold in the cold weather”.

Good food and the rains make even the most unromantic reminisce about times gone by.

Rajagopal elaborates, “I grew up in a village. Every time it rains, it smells of the earth and I’m reminded of those times. Food has the power to bring back memories. It takes you back to good times”. 

Samtani demonstrates this behaviour when he says, “My family and I used to go on long drives in the rain. I used to even do this with friends. We’d make a pit stop and grab a cup of chai and bread omelette from small carts”.

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