"Back in the early 1990s, meals at roadside stalls would cost about Rs 5 to Rs 10 a plate and the food used to be so wholesome and enriching. And we would also develop a personal connection with the stall owners and the other akkas and annas working there. I remember eating at such stalls in Parrys Corner, around the flower bazaar area and for good seafood, I used to head out to the Marina Beach," he says.
But eating at the Marina Beach made Shiyam more connected with the people and their culture. "The experience of eating at the beach was another wholesome experience because we could see the catamarans in the sea while gorging on the seafood and there was an instant connection with the food itself when you know where it has been sourced from," he added.
"The food may not have been fancy but it meant a lot to me to be able to eat there and support local businesses. That I think is also the spirit of Chennai — helping each other."
Celebrating the same spirit, Shiyam shares recipes of a thaali prepared with a touch of nostalgia of eating at roadside stalls.