Travel Tuesday: Cafeteria in Mahabalipuram

June 07, 2016
I was in India for work in a small but popular town on the coast of the Indian Ocean, about a 3 hours drive from Chennai (formerly Madras). We made a day trip on a weekend up to the town of Mahabalipuram to see their stone relief sand temples.

The Shore Temple
For lunch we stopped in a non-tourist-oriented cafeteria style cafe. Everyone was given the same food, as there was no menu. The only two options were one serving for 65 rupees (1.05USD, 0.92Euro at the time) or the slightly more expensive unlimited servings. My coworker chickened out of partaking in this particular meal, but those of us who did were given a big portion of rice with various chutneys and gravies all served on a banana leaf.  The food itself was a lot blander than the Northern Indian food I'd tried before in the US and Kathmandu, which I think I prefer.

You need to eat only using your right hand, no utensils and absolutely not your left hand! I actually found it kind of difficult because the rice wasn't nearly as sticky as I'd imagined it would be, and it didn't clump together enough to be a support for the gravies (at least, for a beginner like me) and my hand got quite messy. Fortunately there it is traditional in Tamil Nadu and surrounding areas to have sinks in your dining room so that your guests can wash up before dinner and rinse their hands off afterwards.

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