Makan time:Street food Singapore

In a follow up to my recent blog about eating out in Singapore, I thought I would come up with an easy guide on what to eat in terms of street food.  Its ironic that my initial impression of Singapore turned out to be a lasting ( hopefully accurate) impression of the general South Asian attitude to food- “there must be food in every corner, plenty of food, for thou shall eat!”  It seems that anytime is a good time for Makan( when roughly translated from Malay, it means “eat”)
It’s hard not to escape sampling or nibbling an odd bite or two, especially when every office building, shopping mall & high street is crammed to full capacity with food courts catering to a gamut of cuisines, reflecting the cultural diversity of a city island nation that is made up of so many immigrants from all over Asia.

So I thought I’d come up with a guide of what to try when here..

GETTING STARTED WITH BREAKFAST
The best place to sample the local breakfast is in a Kopitiam in a food court. Other satisfying options are bigger chains such as Ya Kun Kaya Toast and the Toast box that offer a standardized selection of breakfast staples

Nothing better than a Kopi O and Kaya toast to get you started for the day
Nothing better than a Kopi O and Kaya toast to get you started for the day

Kopi O – I can never get over its caffeine kick! Kopi O is strong bitter black coffee said to be traditionally roasted with lard, thankfully that’s all in the past & I am to believe that the roasting process typically omits the lard

Kopi C- is nothing but Kopi O with the addition of sweetened condensed milk. It still gives you a good kick thanks to the high caffeine and sugar content

Teh Tarik- inspired by our Indian masala chai and filter coffee foam, Teh Tarik uses a strong brew tea with evaporated/condensed milk. It is then poured “pulled” back and forth two cups to give an attractive foam on the top

Kaya toast
– “Kaya” refers to a spread made with coconut cream, pandan, eggs & sugar. This delicious spread is applied on freshly toasted thick bread with generous helping of butter and makes for a delicious accompaniment to your Kopi

Rice Porridge-similar to a congee, here bits of meat or seafood are added to a porridge base of rice usually topped with spring onions, fried shallots & garlic bits and sometimes chilli padi. A very popular Asian breakfast choice for people who prefer savory to sweet

SINGAPOREAN CHINESE
This unique cuisine was born when the first wave of Chinese immigrations arrived from many different provinces. The provinces of Cantonese, Hainan, Hokkien & Sichuan have the most dominant influence on food.

Char Kway Teow- stir fried thick rice flour noodles in dark soya sauce ( sweet) with prawns, seafood, leafy Chinese spinach & bean sprouts. Traditionally it was considered a fatty dish for laborers as it incorporated using pork lard, thankfully that’s all in past as healthier cooking oils are used

Singapore's favorite Char Kway Teow
Singapore’s favorite Char Kway Teow

Carrot Cake- a rather misleading name in my opinion, as it contains nothing next to a carrot but is delicious nonetheless. Steamed rice flour and radish cakes are diced to be stir fried with garlic, egg, prawns and sometimes dark soya sauce( sweet) or regular light soya sauce.  Carrot cake is usually garnished with a generous dose of spring onions.

Hokkien ( Prawn) Mee- popularly known as “prawn mee” noodles is derived from stir frying egg noodles and rice vermicelli( bee hoon) in pork lard and adding eggs, prawns, seafood,  bean sprouts & soy sauce. It is almost always served with a Sambal sauce and lime.

Mee rebus– Boiled yellow noodles ( Hokkien) are put in a bowl with a thick curry like gravy. It is usually garnished with a boiled egg, limes, spring onions, green chillies, shallots, beansprouts & tofu

Mee Rebus
Mee Rebus

Bak kut Teh-a dark colored delicious pork rib soup rich in flavors due to the addition of star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and cinnamon in the broth

Heartwarming Bakutteh
Heartwarming Bakutteh


Chicken Rice-
derived from Hainan, this delicate dish is made by serving steamed chicken( usually cut into small pieces) over fragrant rice with a chilli paste. It is usually almost always accompanied with a light chicken soup, sliced cucumbers & Kailan( baby spinach)

The famous Hainanese Chicken rice
The famous Hainanese Chicken rice

Char Siew Rice- “Char Siew” refers to diced pieces of boneless barbequed Chinese pork ( Cantonese origins) It is commonly found in Chicken rice/ Roast duck stalls and served over steamed rice topped with dark “sweet” soy sauce & diced cucumbers

Yong Tau fu-
traditional preparation where tofu is stuffed with a prawn/ pork paste. Now it broadly encompasses a variety of vegetables stuffed with the prawn/pork paste such as eggplant, okra/ladies finger, bitter gourd & mushroom

Mapu Tofu– a traditional dish of the Sichuan province. Extremely spicy yet delicious, it is typically composed of tofu with ground pork, fermented black beans and Sichuan peppers.

The spicy Mapu Tofu
The spicy Mapu Tofu

Chilli Crab – You cannot come to Singapore & not try a Chilli or Black Pepper crab! The red tangy sauce is flavored with notes of garlic & vinegar. The sauce is then thickened by adding flour & egg. This is best enjoyed with a bun to soak up the delicious sauce. The Black Pepper crab is equally popular

Singapore's national dish the- Chilli Crab
Singapore’s national dish- the Chilli Crab

Bak Hwa- is the Cantonese version of Barbequed Pork with a unique sweet salty flavor profile. Bak Hwa is commonly added to most rice and noodle preparations

A busy Bakhwa store in Chinatown
A busy Bakhwa store in Chinatown

SINGAPOREAN-MALAYSIAN

Popiah- the Malay version of a fresh spring roll usually served on the side with a hoisin or peanut sauce. The base is typically a paper thin wheat pancake with bean sprouts, lettuce leaves,  grated carrots & turnips & finely chopped peanuts

Laksa- This classic Peranakan dish is said to have its roots in Penang, where the ethnic Chinese settled down to create a unique cuisine incorporating local ingredients. Laksa refers to a thick coconut based noodle soup to which assorted seafood is added with beansprouts, chilli padi & sambal sauce as a garnish

The Singapore Laksa
The Singapore Laksa

Fish Otak Otak- a classic Peranakan dish is prepared my mixing the fish with garlic, lemongrass, coconut milk & chilli padi paste. This mashed fish is then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed before being placed on an open fire grill rendering a smoky taste to the final preparation

Nasi Lemak– Traditionally eaten by the Malays during breakfast, Nasi Lemak refers to a rice cooked in coconut milk. Pandan leaves are usually added to enhance the flavours.

Rojak- when literally translated means “Wild mix” in Malay. This refers to a preparation where bean sprouts, Chinese greens, cucumber, fried tofu & fried pineapple are tossed together with chopped peanuts and a spicy prawn paste

Satay- the quintessential Malay street food favorite remains as ever so popular here in Singapore. Served in bunches of 10 with a sweet peanut dipping sauce, Satay consists of pieces of meat placed on skewer sticks and grilled over an open flame with generous doses of oil and peanut sauce slathered to give it a lovely brown glaze.

A perfect accompaniment to your chilled tiger beer- Satay
A perfect accompaniment to your chilled tiger beer- Satay

SINGAPOREAN- INDIAN
A unique cuisine created by the first wave of Indian settlers in Malaysia, today Singaporean “Indian” food is extremely popular and can be best sampled in institutions such as- Samy’s Curry or Muthu’s Curry. I’m always amused by how Singaporeans excitedly exclaim “ I love Indian food especially your Roti Prata and Fish head curry!” to which I always say this is virtually unheard off in India! ( Except maybe in Bengal and Kerala!)

Fish Head curry-
A spicy and sour stew like dish comprising of the head of a Red snapper fish cooked in various Indian masalas with assorted vegetables and tamarind rendering the dish the loved ‘sour’ taste

Another Singapore favorite- Fish Head curry
Another Singapore favorite- Fish Head curry

Roti Parata( pronounced “Praaaataa”)- similar to our Indian paratha( or flat bread cooked in a pan) only slightly more softer and stringy. Its usually served with a flavorful curry but now we find interesting variations such as Ice cream, cheese and even durians!

Comfort food Roti Prata
Comfort food Roti Prata

SINGAPOREAN- INDONESIAN
Nasi Goreng- The Indonesian version of a fried rice. Steamed rice is tossed with greens, seafood/chicken, shallots, garlic and a generous dose of sweet soy sauce also called “Kecap Manis”. Usually served with fried egg as a garnish and satay too.

Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng- served with satays

Nasi Padang – originated from the Padang province in Indonesia. This refers to an Indonesian buffet which typically consists of steamed rice- yellow & white, served with many choices of meat and vegetarian preparations.

A typical Nasi Padang stall in a food court
A typical Nasi Padang stall in a food court

Rendang- diced pieces of beef are marinated with a spicy paste consisting of lemongrass, garlic, shallots, ginger, turmeric & galangal; it is then slowly cooked with coconut milk for at least 3-4 hours giving the meat a divinely rich taste!

Rendang curry

DESSERTS
I must admit I’m not a big fan of South East Asian desserts which usually incorporate red beans and fruits. Having said that this is my personal choice, so I would recommend that you be adventurous and try some of these interesting concoctions

Iced Kachang- grated ice is packed into ice balls and served with sweet red beans, jelly, corn & finally topped with assortment of colored and flavored sugar syrups

Cendol- said to have its roots in Penang, Malaysia, this iconic dessert has been modified to suit Singaporean tastes. Cendol consists of a coconut milk base to which thin green noodles, glutinous rice, red beans, jelly and ice shavings are added, the flavor is sweetened with the addition of palm sugar

Cendol
Cendol

King of all fruits, the smelly sweet Durian: visitors have been forewarned off the tales of the stinky smelly Durian. Singapore’s favorite fruit has been written about by food lovers across the globe, the fact that there are signs all over the MRT stations banning travelers from carrying durian on train, makes it all the more compelling to try! You could either love it or hate it. So my advice is  put aside the “toiletty, stale cheese” smell and be surprised by its delicious “custardy” texture and sweet taste

The iconic durian
The iconic durian


So to all my readers headed to Singapore for a short city break, I hope you find this blog informative. Remember, always make time to sample the diverse food and tickle your taste buds…if you discover something delicious along the way( excluding BUBBLE TEA) feel free to share the same with me 🙂

Note to readers: Some images in this post have been sourced from the internet,  special credit to Rasa Malaysia &  Seriouseats.com

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Pondicherry: A little piece of France in Southern India

Sunlight streams through the tall majestic tree lined boulevards; I walk past ochre colored stately colonial mansions, glorious old churches and pretty cafés; it is only until I hear the familiar honk of a passing auto & feel the humidity( note-sweat)  that I’m reminded I am indeed in Pondicherry and not a French coastal village.  This quaint little town tucked away in the Southern part of Eastern India oozes French charm and a distinct joie de vivre reminding visitors that it is a former French settlement. Pondicherry, was decreed a Union territory of India in 1962, thankfully many decades later, I am pleased to note that the town still maintains its distinct French character- streets bear French names, heritage buildings have been lovingly restored to their former glory, tiny bakeries flourish reviving the French pastry making traditions & French still remains the second language to many of the locals living here. It’s easy to see why most Indian visitors will fall in love with this place instantly- giving us a chance to experience what the tourism officials proudly call the “French Riviera of India” without actually stepping out of India…

A restored colonial building
A restored colonial building

Those who expect the Pondicherry experience to mirror that of Goa will be left disappointed- there isn’t any of that to be found here. Noisy bars & nightclubs are conspicuous by their absence and tourism infrastructure in Pondicherry is relatively basic. Pondi appeals to those who have a lazy, laid back approach to their holidays.  Soaking up the history by walking through the White town( or French Quarters), meditating at the Auroville Ashram 15kms away, reading a book at a quiet café, taking an afternoon nap under a shaded tree in Auroville, shopping in interesting galleries and pottery studios & finally tucking into a delicious Creole meal for dinner at L’Orient by Neemrana          

Here are my top picks of what to do while you are here

1)     Visit and stay at the historical French quarters

The attractive entrance to a hotel in French quarters
The attractive entrance to a hotel in French quarters

2)     Spend the day in the Auroville commune

Freshly baked bread@ Auro bakery
Freshly baked bread@ Auro bakery

3)    Shop and visit the Tamil Quarters

Inside Maison Tamoule- a classic example of architecture in the Tamil quarters
Inside Maison Tamoule- a classic example of architecture in the Tamil quarters

4)    Sample traditional French pastries in Baker Street@ Rue Bussy or Auroville Bakery

Reviving the French pastry making traditions at Baker st
Reviving the French pastry making traditions at Baker st

FRENCH QUARTERS OR  “WHITE TOWN” 

Circe de Pondicherry
Circe de Pondicherry

Visitors are immediately transported back to a time where clocks ticked slowly and glorious colonial mansions existed. This small part of town retains a distinct European vibe, no surprises also that it receives the maximum number of tourists (which is actually nothing compared to the hordes of tourists that visit Goa).  The affluent locals with the help of tourism authorities and French historians have lovingly restored many of the historical building here. The roads retain the original French grid layout and their French names. A perfect way to start exploring the streets is by foot. You may begin your walk from Bharati Park on to Rue Mahe de Labourdonnais, turn left into Rue Romain Rolland and walk the entire length of the street, at the end make a left into the parallel street Rue Dumas & finally turning right into Goubert Avenue or the beach facing Promenade. There are many interesting buildings, galleries, shops & cafes to visit along these streets.

Palais de Mahe- Pondicherry's newest hotel
Palais de Mahe- Pondicherry’s newest hotel in the French quarters

The Promenade/ Beach Road/Goubert Avenue- this 1.5 km beachfront stretch running alongside the French quarters, is considered to be the pride of Pondicherry. Every evening after 5pm, the road is made closed to traffic and named a pedestrian only zone, making it a popular spot for evening walks amongst locals. The Promende hotel and Lighthouse makes for an interesting stop, the former being very popular for sundowners.

Passing renovated buildings in the French Quarters
Passing renovated buildings in the French Quarters

Bharati Park-a beautiful tree lined park in the heart of French town, offering visitors and locals a respite from the sweltering heat of summers. This park adds to the French character of the historical quarter

Aurobindo Ashram(Rue St Gilles/ Rue de la Marine)
– Founded by Shri Aurobindo in 1926 & developed over many years by the Mother ( Mira Alfassa), the Ashram is one of the top tourist draws in the French Quarters. Many come here seeking solace and respite from the stressful life in the city. The quiet and cool environs of the Ashram make it a perfect place to meditate or to practice yoga.

La Maison Rose( # 8 Romaine Rolland)- An interesting boutique housed in an attractive colonial mansion, features the works of several designers dealing in clothing, children’s wear, accessories as well as Indian fashion, home furnishing and antiques. Their al fresco café is a must visit when the sun goes down

The inviting courtyard at La Maison Rose
The inviting courtyard at La Maison Rose

Curio Centre( #40 Romaine Rolland)- an intriguing antique shop sells massive four poster beds, traditional wooden pillars, Yallas or wooden carvings, Tanjore paintings, Carved wooden doors and much more

Artifacts and stone carvings as seen at the entrance to Curio centre at Rue Romaine Rolland
Artifacts and stone carvings as seen at the entrance to Curio centre at Rue Romaine Rolland

Notre Dame Anges( # Rue Dumas)- a delicious pink and cream color draws you closer for a look. The church built in 1858 and is an architectural and visual treat

Notre Dam de Anges
Notre Dam des Anges

TAMIL QUARTERS OR “BLACK TOWN”
Running to the left of the main arterial shopping street, known as Mission St, are a parallel grid of roads that give us a glimpse of the old traditional houses belonging to the once- affluent Tamil merchants and Brahmins. Most of these building are giving away to gawdy Jewelers show rooms but thanks to the efforts of a few sensible locals, some effort is being made to preserve its heritage

Maison Tamoule( Vysial St/ Rue Calve Supraya Chettiyar)-A Neemrana property( hotel) situated in the heart of the Tamil Quarters, this unique Tamil house also has distinct French elements. Do visit even if you’re not about to stay, their friendly staff are only to happy to show you around

Inside Maison Tamoule- a classic example of architecture in the Tamil quarters
Inside Maison Tamoule- a classic example of architecture in the Tamil quarters

Aquarelles Gallery( Vysial St)- situated opposite Maison Tamoule, this art gallery stocks the works of 3 water colour artists, most notable of whom is Raj Kumar Stabathy(a genius in my opinion), his use of light and intricate detailing make him a master! The other two talented artists- Ejoumale and Abel also have noteworthy paintings

Artist Raj Kumar Stabathy's works on display@ Galerie Aquarelles
Artist Raj Kumar Stabathy’s works on display@ Galerie Aquarelles

Maison Perumal( Rue Perumal Koil)- a CGH property( hotel)- another classic example of Franco-Tamil design, this hotel also deserves a visit. Stained glass windows are paired with majestic wooden pillars creating a surprising synergy that is evident of the Franco –Tamil style

Maison Tamoule-Room
Maison Tamoule-Room

AUROVILLE
It’s impossible to come to Pondicherry and not visit Auroville. Known across India and the globe for producing high quality natural incense sticks, essential oils and exquisite handmade paper, the likes of which are retailed throughout India (and at the Auro & Kalki boutiques in town) The Auroville commune founded in 1968, is the brain child of the Mother (Mira Alfassa- of Egyptian-Turkish descent) who aimed to create a free thinking society/nation made up of people from different countries creating cultural harmony. Initially formed with around 60 people, its population has slowly crept up to over 2000 residents. It’s hard to tell when driving around, in what seemed like a forested area, that this was a barren wasteland allocated to the Aurovilians who carefully nurtured it to its current “green” state. Most residents that are part of the commune, have given up their life savings, to start afresh on a new slate- contributing to the development of the commune and nature. I have been told that citizenship is extremely selective. Consumption of alcohol and drug substances is highly discouraged. Meditation, deep thoughts & open communication are encouraged. Off course, like any other organization, Auroville is plagued with bureaucracy and internal scandals- thankfully none of this is apparent immediately to wide-eyed visitors!  Most of the futuristic designs of the principal buildings of the commune can be credited to Robert Anger.

Matri Mandir-
this futurist dome represents the Soul and Spirit of the Auroville community, in line with that visitors aren’t allowed to carry cell phones & cameras into the main shrine area. Children below 10 years of age aren’t allowed to visit too. There is a huge impressive amphitheatre made with red sandstone before the entrance. Inside the Inner chamber or dome, we find the world’s largest optically perfect glass globe. The entire architecture encourages you to sit down and meditate.

Matri mandir
Matri mandir


Auroville Visitors Centre-
is a collection of futuristic buildings that houses a restaurant, café, Boutique d’Auroville( great for their pottery, Library and bookshop and Gallery. I found their boutique a great place to stock up on massage oils, essential oils, pottery & incense sticks.

Mantra pottery ( Kottakarai, Auroville)- a charming pottery studio 5 minutes away from the Visitor’s Center. The brainchild of Aurovilian Angad Vohra, the unit started production in 1994 and has evolved over the years! All the pottery here is handmade and local villagers are employed and trained in this field

Mantra pottery studio
Mantra pottery studio

La Ferme Cheese- Started as a humble establishment in 1988 by a Dutchman Benny Ernst with the simple aim to provide cheese to residents of Auroville. Little did Benny know that this would spurn off such a huge demand across India that his cheese can be found in upscale restaurants and hotels! The milk used for producing the cheese is sourced from Auroville farms and local villages, pasteurized and finally vegetable enzymes( note no Rennet) are used to create a 100% vegetarian, artisanal cheese.  No preservatives or emulsifiers are used in the process. Their fresh cheese Mozzarella, Feta & Ricotta are worth sampling as are the seasoned cheese such as Lofabu, Jeera cheese, Gruyere and Auroblochon( a 6 month old piquant cheese)

Auroville bakery- spurned by the need to provide Europeans with their bread and pastry, the bakery started as a modest establishment and today remains so. But don’t let that put you off, step in and drool over their delicious quiches, pain au Chocolat and Chocolate moelleux. La Boulangerie, located just down to road also makes for an interesting stomach pleasing stop

Auro bakery   Freshly baked bread@ Auro bakery

SHOPPING:
Ok so I don’t usually propagate shopping as an essential part of your holiday itinerary, but it’s hard to resist when you’re in Pondicherry and (a bargain hunter). Most shops are along the stretch of Mission Street &  within a couple of 100 yards of each other.

Kalki ( # 134 Mission Street)- showcases all products from Maroma-an Auroville venture specializing in incense sticks, essential oils, massage & aroma therapy oils, natural soaps & bath works, pottery, hand painted home accessories &  paper lamps

Titanic( # 33 Rue Ambalatadayar Madam)- Looking for a Massimo Dutti linen shirt for under Rs 1,000( $20)? this is the place to head to. Known for stocking export surpluses or rejects from leading Fashion houses, this is the place to head to if you’re looking a bargain- do note that being an export reject their could be faults with the stitching or labels but you’ll eventually end up finding something!

Hidesign Factory outlet( # 69 Jawaharlal Nehru Street)-
synonymous in India for bespoke leather handbags and accessories, Hidesign is an iconic Indian brand that now manufactures for the house of LV. There are deep discounts at factory outlet (at least 25-40%) on previous season’s designs

Casablanca( # 165 Mission Street) -Pondicherry’s first department store, Their home section of the 3rd floor is worth visiting- you may get a deal or two with clearances sales

EATING
Over to matters of the stomach, here’s my picks on places to eat and drink
Le Club ( # 38 Rue Dumas)- possibly the only place t remind you of a beach side shack, easy laid back vibes and comfy al fresco section makes this a perfect place to head to for drinks. Do order a calamari fritto to go with your chilled drink

The laid back beachshack feel at Le Club
The laid back beachshack feel at Le Club

La Maison Rose (# 8 Rue Romaine Rolland) – cosy courtyard setting with oodles of charm. The European fare here is a must try.  Please avoid the thai tofu curry (tad bit too sour) Lunch reminded us of sitting in a packed café in Provence with the unmistakable French accents

Delicious Juicy burger @La Maison Rose
Delicious Juicy burger @La Maison Rose

Le O’rient by Neemrana(#17 Rue Romain Rolland)- this courtyard restaurant is the only restaurant I can think of in India to serve up Creole cuisine- French food heavily influenced by the Indian culture. Don’t give their Creole food a miss

The inviting courtyard@ Neemrana
The inviting courtyard@ Neemrana

Villa Shanti( # 14 Rue Suffren)– I’ve been told this is THE place to head to for cocktails. Too bad we missed giving it a try!

The attractive entrance to Villa shanti
The attractive entrance to Villa shanti

Le Dupleix (# 5 Rue de la Caserne) – heartwarming European fare in an uber cool airconditioned setting- a relief for the sultry evenings. There is a courtyard too, for those who love the outdoors

Grilled poulet( chicken) at Le Dupleix
Grilled poulet( chicken) at Le Dupleix
Thosai Suzette at Le Dupleix
Thosai Suzette at Le Dupleix

Baker street (Rue de Bussy-Lal Bahadur Sashtri St) don’t let  the rather  standard & non descript façade put you off, for once you step in you are transported to a Parisian patisserie. Focusing only on French pastry- their chocolate éclairs and Chocolate mouilleaux( cake) are sinful!

French pastries on display@ Baker Street
French pastries on display@ Baker Street

Tantos( Auroville road)- I’ve you’re craving Italian this is the place to head too which packs up for both lunch and dinner. Another inexpensive grab and go option is Café Ecstasy on Mission Street( no really a place to charm you over but the pizzas are good hands down!

STAYING

Hotel Du Parc( #5 Jawarharlal Nehru Street)- our favourite budget place! For under INR 3,500you get spacious clean rooms with a touch of history;  its proximity to the Aurobindo Ashram and Mission Street are a definite plus. Manager Ravi and staff are ever attentive to guests needs

Le Dupleix( # 5 Rue de la Caserne)-a Hidesign venture  managed by the Sarovar group of hotels, we were bowled over by the hospitality of the staff and chic rooms- effortlessly blending the old with the new. Their breakfast is delicious and café food heartwarming. I highly recommend staying here. Room prices start from INR 4,000

And effortless blend of contemporary and old at Le Dupleix
And effortless blend of contemporary and old at Le Dupleix
Le Dupleix Deluxe Room
Le Dupleix Deluxe Room

L’Orient by Neemrana Hotels( # 17 Rue Romain Rolland)- a big disappointment from our check-in to the lackadaisical attitude of staff. What put us off even more were their musty rooms that smelt of old sheets & damp walls. It was only at our adamant insistence that they offered to change our rooms. If you’re able to put that aside, there’s plenty of history inside the hotel and rooms each of which have been named after a colony. Suites are priced at INR 6,500 and room start from INR 3,000 upwards. Stay at Karaikal suite which boast of a massive 4 poster bed and private terrace overlooking their pretty courtyard below

A standard room at L'Orient by Neemrana
A standard room oozing with history at L’Orient by Neemrana
Antique furniture@ L'Orient by Neemrana
Antique furniture@ L’Orient by Neemrana

Palais de Mahe-a CGH property( # 4 Rue de Bussy)– we stepped into this property and were blown away by the design. Room prices are slightly on the high side and start from INR 8,000 upwards

Mango Hill( Old Auroville road)– the only hotel which boasts of a pool situated just outside the Auroville commune. Rooms are spacious, simple and comfortable. Makes a good choice if you are looking to stay near Auroville. Room prices start from INR 4,500

Mango Hill outside Auroville
Mango Hill outside Auroville

INTERESTING ARTICLES AND LINKS TO  PONDICHERRY
http://travel.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264545

http://www.auroville.org/health/food/laferme.htm

http://www.cntraveller.in/content/puducherry

http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/cities/24-hours-in-pondicherry/what-to-see-in-pondicherry

http://www.intachpondicherry.org/English/home.aspx