My gallivanting around Chennai today included a mix of local and international. It is customary in India, and I assume in most Asian cultures, to never visit someone's home, be that a friend or family member, with empty hands. Some form of a gift is mandatory. It doesn't have to be expensive but it is the norm. Folks of my generation don't care much for it but being that most of my visiting was with my mom, I had to adhere to a few customs.
We shopped at Adyar Anandha Bhavan for some sweet and savory treats. The varieties of sweets and snacks you find across India are as varied as the different cuisines. In fact, some of my Indian friends still introduce me to snacks I am eating for the first time in my life because they hail from a different part of India than I do. Our go to sweets at this outlet are typically laddoo, gulab jamun, jalebi, jhangri, badusha and badam katli. When it comes to savory snacks, we head for samosas, bonda, mixture, murukku, thattai and bajji.
Later in the evening though we decided to check out one of the new malls in the city - Phoenix Market City. It is also the only one at the time of my visit that featured a Starbucks! Of course, the variety of food offered is different, and in my opinion, much better, but the coffee drinks were the same. I defaulted to my usual hot chocolate but mom tried the coffee and thought it was too strong! A little bit of shopping around and we ended up at the BBQ Grill place there for dinner.
It's amazing how cheap food can be in India. This place had a grill in the center of the table and pre-marinated meats as well as veggie options were brought to the table for us to cook to our preference. That apart, they had a buffet table with rice, breads, curries, salads and desserts. Yes, everything in plural because they had multiple options for each. The food was delicious as is in most places in India and we headed back home with happy tummies! Let me know if you've been to any of these spots or have other recommendations.