Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Trivandrum eats.. (and so do I)... Pt 1

When i came to Trivandrum 4 years ago, i was disappointed with a lot of things (i did not protest much those days, but this is how i would like to it to be remembered, so retconned).The saving grace was theatres- Rs 30 for a balcony seat is a good idea- And then there was shawai( more on theatres later)

The menu all over Trivandrum is uniform, its the same thing everywhere with even the prices more or less the same. There’s chicken biriyani for 30/-, chicken fry/chilli chicken/chicken curry for 30/-, veg fried rice for 25/-,chapathi and parotta for 2.5/- you get the gist. And it’s the same everywhere. Hotels change hands, they are renamed, cooks fired but this... This stagnant menu has not changed. The only change was that the chicken biriyani shot up to 35 after 2 yrs and now it recently got increased to 40.Well why would you change something that works so well rt??It can get to you at times... Eating the same thing day in and day out. But around the end of the first year i started hearing rumors.. There were talks of a place that actually had something different. This something actually changed lives and eating habits in our hostel.. While once we survived on 40-50 Rs a day, that amount seemed trivial with the new developments.

It began with 2 of my hostel mates-Jimson and Eappen-spotting a fancy restaurant near there church in the city and deciding to experiment. They saw whole chickens rotating behind a glass case, it intrigued them, and like children they were drawn to this new sight.
" what wonderful delicacy is this, my good man, do pray tell" they asked the waiter.
The waiter looked back at them, with an unsurprised expression.
He replied" this, you silly fellows, is... SHAWAI CHICKEN"

That incident really changed our lives that coupled with the arrival of several bikes in our hostel, making no distance short for us. We became regular frequenters of this “fancy restaurant" called Zam Zam-the well of satiating waters. Shawai chicken was nothing but grilled chicken, something i had seen in Delhi several times but never bothered to try. It’s an Arabian dish brought to the Malabar Coast by the migrant keralite. Its served with a bread similar to a thick naan called kuboos and a katori of mayonnaise. And i must say it is divine. There are few words to describe the taste of a mouthful of chicken, wrapped in a piece of kuboos, with a dash of mayonnaise. As i said it’s divine. and beautiful and godly and heavenly.mesmerising.delicious.delectable.scrumptuous.

We now spend ridiculous amounts of money at this place, which also has a great range of ice creams- they call them ice fruits- and almost everything on the menu is excellent, though priced a bit high, but you will never hear anyone in Trivandrum saying Zam Zam is expensive. That would be blasphemous. Zam Zam stands along side 4 other restaurants- another restaurant called Zam Zam , noor Mahal and sindhoor palace. The others all basically suck. But recently the old Zam Zam got renovated and has a better ambience than the previous one. So we shifted base, it’s the same menu (it’s owned by the same people) so no guilty feelings there. Now that my eyes have opened I see shawai counters here and there... I have experimented, but none matches the splendor and charm of ol’ zam, zam.. Except...

Except Kazhakootam shawai. Which actually is a bakery called Bake World (welcome to the world of yummy delicacies!!). This too was discovered by Jimson- it’s near his bike service centre. And apart from the really brilliant shawais, you get unlimited refills of mayo... That really was a drawing factor as recently Zam Zam had started charging for extra mayonnaise. And it was nearer to home… so we added this to our regular haunts..

Jimson has to be the most active shawai gulper in our group. He is without doubt the reigning champ. I guess the second place would be tied between me and Eappen. And the rest of the guys behind us.we have had lots of memorable times in Zam Zam, many treats have been given here, birthdays celebrated, and bad days forgotten.I have always thought to myself when I come back to Trivandrum some time later in life where all will I go and eat?? This is on top of my list... this and one more place...(Wait for part 2)


NicktheGooner said...

Remember the scene in Gladiator where russel crowe and his fellow gladiators looking at the colosseum and admiring.. Its the same feeling with shawai chicken. We are all gladiators trying to entertain our chicken thirsty stomachs.. :P

Ananth said...

ya ya everything is good tasty and great.. i hate to rain on your pary but i do have a suggestion get a cholestrol test asap!!!

thinkdj said...

Chicken Biriyani for rs 30 at the time of writing of this post.. May 1 2007..

Im making this comment approx one year later, May 2008 ..
Chicken Biriyani is now 60 bucks .. It's DOUBLED over a year .. wow !

Nishana said...

Hello.. I saw ur comment at my blog only today.. It had somehow made its way into the spam section!
And 'bout Shawai, it does bring so many memories.. Wonder if any of those times will ever be back again(sigh).. Though I had Shawai from the Calicut Zam zam twice, it felt kinda different.. I guess it was the missing 'people-factor' :)

NiBuL said...

Thumbs up to Zam Zam Shawai!
Me too a Fan of it!

..& never can anyone say ZamZam is Expensive!