Banana leaf lunch today at the newish South Indian eatery, 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗲𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗺𝘀, which was just established last year, 1 Sep 2021.
It occupies the old Thong Chai Medical Hall building on the intersection of China Street and Penang Street in the Little India district of George Town.
The restaurant name, Theeni Pandarams in Tamil, the lingua franca in Penang’s Little India, roughly translates as “Food Gluttons”.
The eatery was started by 3 business partners: Murga Reddy, Govinda Reddy and Rishi, who used to run a travel agency down the road here in Penang’s Little India. When the COVID pandemic shut down international travel, they decided to switch to the F&B industry instead. After all, everyone still needs to eat in the midst of a global pandemic.
We opted for the standard set for 4 persons (MYR189/US$45/£34), eaten using hands, sans cutlery, the traditional way:
Our banana leaf rice set consisted of:
Nandu masala (crab curry)
Kanava varuval (squid masala fry)
Mutton kuzhambu - these were bone-in mutton pieces, cooked with potatoes, best-described as messy-deliciousness when consuming it.
Iraal masala (Spicy masala prawns)
Meen varuval (fried mackerel fish-steak)
Kozhi kozhambu (chicken curry)
The rice all came with 4 types of cooked vegetable sides:
Kose poriyal (cabbage stir-fry), Urulai fry (scalloped potato fries), Arasanikaai poriyal (yellow pumpkin fry) and Pudalangaai poriyal (snake gourd stir-fry), plus Pappadum & Moor Milagai (crisp-fried sun-dried chillis)
Rasam (spiced, tamarind soup) was served towards the end of the meal, with a sweet, warm, buttery kesari (semolina pudding) for dessert.
I also loved that the chef here, Madam Padma (proudly showing her turmeric-inflected, yellow-hued hand) used Alagappa curry powder, my personal favourite brand, giving their curries that familiar aroma and taste.
82A, Lebuh Penang (Penang Street), 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +604-226 1557
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm, Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays.