It can become an addiction. Imagine yourself sitting under an umbrella under the palm trees on the Malay peninsula and dream of meeting a Somerset Maugham character as you sip your Teh Tarik. Teh Tarik is the Malaysian style of drinking tea. Made like decoction tea, it’s served in a glass and can be had hot or cold, with ice cubes. It is the ideal chaser after you’ve dipped into a platter of some of the most deliciously oily and spicy foods you can order.
But first things first, there are two outlets of New Town. One is a diner style place in the heart of posh Chennai; the other on a stretch of sun and sand known as the ECR.
The diner is small, with rows of table-stacked against a wall filled with photographs and low hanging lamps—where, as in the movie Hariraj meets Sarasa you fall in love over chicken satays. The satays come on bamboo skewers, with three kinds of sauces, the main one being the peanut sauce dip. It’s not as hot and crunchy as you might find in the night markets of Penang, or the food courts of Kuala Lumpur, but still very good. Every table has a buzzer with the words ‘Call’; maybe it should have been ‘Press’; ‘Bill’; and ‘Cancel’; so it’s a bit like being Alice in Malaysialand. The buzzer is electronically wired to your bearer. But it takes time before the food actually appears, deep-fried, stir-fried, batter-fried, crumb-fried, sarong-fried, you get the idea? They do salads, soups and wraps but it’s their selection of heavily fried finger foods that are the speciality. If you are AWOL from a healthy diet, head straight for New Town.
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