If you live to eat fish and mutton based delicacies, then just pay a visit to Sundari akka’s kadai near the Marina swimming pool. In case, you have trouble locating it, just look out for the cart with maximum number of customers and you will know! The makeshift stall is known for its delicious prawn curry, mutton masala and fried seer fish (vanjaram/neimeen – the Indo-Pacific king mackerel). It is run by 50-year-old S Sundari, who is known to create these dishes out of lots of love and care. It is in the memory of her husband, who died a few years ago.
Her food business began 16 years ago as a tiffin service center. She eventually began serving lunch consisting of rice with fish or mutton curry. Sundari akka (as she is fondly called by customers) tell us that she wakes up every morning at 4 am and heads to Kasimedu harbour to buy fresh fish herself. She has a special masala that she prepares herself, cooks on her own and serves the food also herself. And most of her dishes are priced very nominally. You can have a full meal of rice and fish curry at just Rs 30 and a giant piece of seer fish is available at Rs 100.
She keeps chicken off her menu since she feels it is unhealthy and when we ask her about the secret behind her sumptuous food. She tells us it is the special masala and also the fact that she fries the fish only after receiving the order, unlike other stalls, who keep the fish fried for long.
She runs the stall single-handedly without any help from her two sons, who are not interested in managing the business. On being asked about what keeps her going she promptly tells us it is the love she has garnered till date from her customers.
And if you happen to visit her on October 31, her husband’s death anniversary, she will feed you for free.