Sunday, October 19, 2008

Murugan Idli Shop in Singapore

Idli with chutneys plus oil & podi

This wasn't meant to be a weekend of Chennai-based restaurants in Singapore. But when I was at Anjappar yesterday, it reminded me that I had yet to go check out that idli shop that popped up here earlier this year (81 Syed Alwi Road, 6298-0858). And when the logo in front showed nothing but five idli steaming away, you knew exactly what to order.

The process was simple: sit down, mark your selections on the piece of paper, and then out comes a banana leaf-covered tray with a few chutneys ladled onto the edges. Give it another minute and a guy comes by with your piping hot idli, placing them onto the center of your banana leaf. If you got the optional "oil & podi" condiment to go with it, then another guy comes by with heaping spoonful of a brownish powder, digs a hole in the middle, and then pours oil into it. Even though that dark mixture didn't provide the searing chili pepper heat that I was hoping for, its savory earthiness went well with the idli, allowing them to disappear into my mouth faster than Homer Simpson could eat doughnuts. And I didn't even opt for the more sinful "ghee & podi" option!

There was other stuff available, ranging from dosai to uttappam and even little cups of rice if you happen to be there before 3 PM. But I just loved the sheer simplicity of this place, as I was in and out of there in ten minutes with a satisfied belly. Plus, its business hours of 9 AM - 11 PM meant that it will make for either a convenient breakfast or late night snack. Yum.


Kathy said...

I walked into this shop randomly on my way to Ananda Bhavan, and it was pretty mind blowing.

I love their tomato paste and green chilli paste!

They make uttapam the way Xiao Ping makes dumplings -- ethethral. Ha.

The idlis are simply the best in sgp, I've not eaten better before or since.

Btw, Sakunthala has many branches, but please don't go to the poshest branch at Race Course Road. The food is exactly the same as the one in Dunlop Road (though if you order fusion it could be better), and worse still, the air-conditioning was so cold, the curries cooled pretty quickly. Urgh!

Funnily enough, I like their sweets, and I'm pretty picky about my desserts. You can taste this light cinnamon(?) taste in their payasam, together with little raisins and chopped nuts scattered around. Pretty rare for the grubbiest joint in their chain.

Kauphy said...


This incident has been experienced by me in one of the leading restaurants in Chennai - MURUGAN IDLI SHOP. As an outsider I had heard a lot about the South Indian delicacies in Chennai. The one name I heard from a lot of friends out here was Murugan Idli Shop.

But sadly, I had a horrifying experience in the restaurant when I was subjected to regionalism and discrimination because I could not speak Tamil.

On 19th September, I visited the Besant Nagar branch of the restaurant with a friend of mine. As soon as I asked the guy standing outside about seating he directed me to the basement. I felt awkward and asked if I could sit on the ground floor, to which he said that I will have to wait for the turn. We both waited there for the turn for 10 minuted but to our amazement, we found that all the others were being allowed to go while we were asked to wait.

On enquiry the entire staff (including the Manager) reacted in a manner as if they are giving us an obligation by allowing us to enter the restaurant.

This kind of discrimination is totally uncalled for and not expected out from the Service Industry in Chennai.

I would advice people of Chennai to boycott the restaurant and teach such people a lesson who promote regionalism and discrimination just becuase we cant speak Tamil