I am a proud Biryani lover and I go to every nook and corner of the city looking for a biriyani centre.
According to me, a good biriyani is one which can be eaten without any side dish, be it raitha or brinjal chutney.But the best biriyani is one which brings a smile on your face the moment you see it. This smile is so special that it doesn’t come from the heart, it comes from the stomach.
A few days back, While having biriyani at one of the joints, I was bragging about my love of biriyani to one of my friends and he asked me whether I had been to ‘Moideen Biriyani’ in ‘Pallavaram’. I had never heard of a place like that. It was a like a slap across my face to tell me that I am not the be all and end all of biriyani lovers.
I had a client meeting at Chromepet, a few kms away from Pallavaram. The moment the meeting was over, I remembered the slap on the face and decided to go to Moideen. As I reached Pallavaram, I called my friend for directions and he told me to ask anyone there and they would guide me. I asked at 3-4 places and to my surprise, everyone guided me to this place perfectly. I saw the board and there was a long queue outside that place. I really thought there was a Tasmac wine shop nearby and for the first time in my life, I saw a long queue for a plate of biriyani.
Guys… It wasn’t free biriyani to attract such a huge crowd. People had to buy tokens on the extreme right of the corridor and join the long queue.
If you remember the movie ‘Guna’, Kamal Hassan stands in a queue to get laddoos from his imaginary lover ‘Abirami’. Here, it was me smiling more and more as I was getting closer to the take away point.
We wait in Tirupati for 24 hours in a line and the moment we feel the chillness in the air, we know that we are nearing the sanctum. The moment idol is in front, everyone goes crazy, not knowing what to do or pray. By the time we realise we have reached the place, we are out of that place.
I knew my wait for 20 mins was coming to an end. I could feel the aroma of Moideen biriyani. Every second near the take away point was a war I had to wage with my stomach as it wasn’t ready to wait anymore. I saw a small room with 2 huge vessels filled with biriyani. I gave my token thinking that they would take some time and I can enjoy seeing the way they operated. They were so quick that by the time I could register how they were handling, I had my biriyani and was out of that place.
The moment I had the hot biriyani, it was like Rajni winning the first ticket for chinna thambi in the Movie ‘Mannan’. It was happiness and jubilation.. I had a sense of victory and joy all over. I knew this was going to be one of the best biriyanis I have ever had.
This place had just 2 small rooms with slabs attached to walls. In one of those rooms, there were almost 20 people from varied backgrounds standing shoulder to shoulder . From torn lungis to Raymonds trousers. From the ones who own cars to the ones who walk their way. This biriyani brought everyone together. The divide something which most governments failed to reduce, was achieved by biriyani. People are the same in 2 places. One in front of god and other in front of food.
I stood among those people to eat my biriyani. The moment I tasted it, my eyes closed, I felt a sense of silence and peace in that crowded place and it was that moment of ecstasy and bliss which every biriyani lover yearns to experience. I had a packet of fried chicken to eat along with the biriyani. The taste was so good that I didn’t want to eat fried chicken and spoil the taste of something which was just amazing by itself. I gave away the fried chicken to a beggar and to see that smile was so gratifying.
For a person, who has tasted all kinds of biriyanis starting from Venu & thalapakkati in dindigul, Paradise and Bahar’s cafe in hyderabad, Star in Ambur, khaja in Vaniyambadi to thalapakkatu, Ameerunisa, Buhari, muniyandi vilas, aasife, Kalayana bhavan, Anjappar, Arasappar, Ponnusamys and many more in Chennai, this will go down as one of the best Biriyanis I have ever eaten.
A Tirupati Darshan for a pilgrim,
Chinna Thambi tickets for Rajni,
Abirami for Guna,
Moideen for Kanchanamala,
Moideen Biriyani for me….