If you are from the Madurai region you would be familiar with jigarthanda.
It is a form of falooda.
Jigarthanda is served in a tall glass with layers of thickened milk, rose syrup, china grass and ice cream. Most people like to drink it but some street-corer shops offer you a steel spoon with which to relish the layered contents.
On a stuffy summer's evening, this speciality of Madurai is a delight. If you are new to this city, all you need to do is to slow down at a busy junction and look for a nook that is crowded and you are sure to have located the popular jigarthanda joint.
I have sampled the stuff at different joints in Madurai and found that there are variations of it. The most recent experience was the cooler that was sold by Muslims. The ordinary jigarthanda which cost ten rupees was more like a juice while the special, priced at thirty rupees had a generous layer of semiya and a big scoop of ice-cream.
Here in our city, there is a jigarthanda outlet outside Murugan Idli Shop in Besant Nagar. I am yet to check it out. I also have an invitation from a group of entrepreneurs to sample the jigarthanda at their restaurant in K. K. Nagar.
Perhaps, a foodie should start a jigarthanda listing web site that should help us navigate the best spots in Madurai. (A Facebook group records the recipe!)
I think our city needs a restaurant review web site that is no-nonsense in content and blunt in its reviews - in addition to the many web sites, blogs and burps that foodies refer to.
More so because restaurants are opening and closing like kariveppillai in boiling oil. Many are rich in décor and low on quality of food, high on branding and average on service.
Last week, dining at an Anjappar restaurant in T. Nagar I witnessed a diner rattle the stewards and the manager. As soon as the chicken curry was served at the table, the young woman stirred it to find it contained a few thin shreds of meat. She blew a fuse. The manager tried to defend but she would have none of it.
'Serve us well or we will walk out,' she said sternly.
The couple got an extra plate of chicken curry in minutes.