Monday, August 15, 2005

Curry Wars!

Many thanx to jeff Ooi's short post linking to an online The Star article about Curry Wars taking place close to where I "live".

The article is HERE, but I've found out the hard way that links to The Star online articles expire after a month or so, so I've also reproduced it here. Happy reading! Malaysia Boleh!!!

Curry War: Paandi vs Paandi


PETALING JAYA: It is hot and spicy, with plenty of massala.

Dubbed the “Curry Feud of the Sri Paandis,” the rivalry between two restaurants with the same name has become a hot topic among the residents in Section 11 here.

The two South Indian food restaurants not only share the same name but their waiters also wear the same purple uniforms.

There is another similarity between their owners – both started their careers in a South Indian Chettinad shop in Brickfields, which also has the same name.

The first Sri Paandi restaurant run by K. Saraswathy started business in December 2000 in the quiet neighbourhood of the University Malaya Medical Centre.

The problem began when another Sri Paandi, owned by David Gnanamuthu, opened for business next door two months ago. And that was when all hell broke loose.

To complicate matters, David's father Chinnakannu Gnanamuthu, 60, has a 10% share in Saraswathy’s restaurant.

As a loyal gesture, she gave the share to Chinnakannu, who was one of the original owners of the first Brickfields outlet.

Chinnakannu hoped that everything would end well with the parties reaching agreement soon.

“There is no use fighting over serving food to the public. They must serve the food with a good heart so that the public will be satisfied.

“I have told them to settle whatever misunderstanding between them,” he added.

But in the meantime, the Sri Paandi vs Sri Paandi battle is brewing, with many customers confused over the same names.

The competition has become so intense that their waiters canvass for customers, some resorting to pulling in people as they walk by.

The daily scene outside the shops – with waiters walking around like sandwich boys with posters claiming to be from the original Sri Paandi outlet – has all trappings of a South Indian melodramatic movie.

One thing’s for sure, both serve the same South Indian Chettinad spicy dishes prepared by cooks from India.

The owners admit the confusion, but said that they hope to reach an agreement soon.

“We are working it out and will resolve the problem and be united again,” said Saraswathy's husband, A. Shinnaiah.

Saraswathy said: “(David) Gnanamuthu must understand that his father is also our partner. We have a long-standing relationship.

“The customers think that our shop has expanded as both restaurants' waiters wear the same purple colour uniform,” Saraswathy said.

David said that he was all for a settlement and was willing to sell his restaurant to Saraswathy.

The Sri Paandi became famous for its South Indian food when it first started operations in Brickfields about 20 years ago.

Yes.... only in Malaysia!! :p

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