Host: Sundari

Chennai (Madras), India

USD
$22-$52 per person

Traditional Tamil Brahmin vegetarian culinary experience

Host offerings
  • House
  • Professional cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking experience
  • Market visit

Meet Sundari

Sundari is a cheerful host whose easy laugh will instantly make you feel at home in her in-laws converted home surrounded by fruit trees and filled with traditional art and decor. Sundari has been cooking since she was eight – she even cooked on her own coal stove as her mother prepared meals for her family. She delights in sharing her South Indian culinary and cultural traditions with guests.

What to expect

In-home meal: (1-8 guests) Enjoy a traditional South Indian vegetarian meal that you will eat with your hands on stainless steel plates or fresh banana leaves (if seasonally available). Flavors center around mustard, chilies, coconut, sour tamarind extract and native fruits and vegetables. Menu may include typical South Indian Tamilian dishes such as rasam (peppery soup of lentils and spices made with lemons, tomatoes or tamarind), sambar (lentil and tamarind based vegetable stew), kuzhambu (a tangy and spicy South Indian specialty flavored by sun-dried vegetables), vegetable curry, kootu (a special dish made of vegetables, lentils and coconut), rice, raita, appalams (also known as pappadams) and a spread of Indian condiments and snacks. Your meal concludes with South Indian filter coffee, a specialty coffee drink made by mixing frothed and boiled milk with the decoction obtained by brewing finely ground coffee powder in a traditional Indian filter.

Cooking experience: (1-8 guests) Learn to cook 4-5 dishes, part of a South Indian vegetarian meal that you will eat with your hands on stainless steel plates or fresh banana leaves. Menu may include typical Tamilian vegetarian main dishes such as rasam (tangy peppery broth), sambar (lentil and tamarind based vegetable stew), and a variety of vegetable curries, rice, raita, condiments and snacks. Alternatively you may request to learn to make a South Indian brunch of dosas, idlis and vadas with a variety of chutneys instead.

Market visit: (1-8 guests) You will start your experience with a tour of Sundari’s home and an overview of the food you will be cooking before embarking on your market visit. At the local Sastri Nagar neighborhood market you will watch as Sundari gets her wheat milled, see how coffee is ground and even visit the local temple. You will then walk back to Sundari’s kitchen and learn to prepare and share a South Indian vegetarian meal.

Please note that the neighborhood market in Chennai where Sundari does her shopping is a busy street with roadside stores and vendors. This is unlike an open bazaar/wet market with bags of fruits and spices you might typically expect.

Notes: Sundari only serves vegetarian food as she is a Tamil Brahmin who only eats vegetarian. If you join Sundari for dinner or anytime on the weekend, her husband, Krishna, will join you. He is a foodie who loves meeting new people.

Traveler reviews

Sundari and her husband are extremely welcoming and a joy to be around! It was great to talk to them about their lives and what it is like living in Chennai as well as cook together. Sundari is very passionate about her work which is shown by her wonderful smile and enthusiasm. She does a fabulous job of putting together the entire day on her own - wonderful welcome drinks, coffee, cooking together and then a nice market visit and back to finish up the cooking and best part... eat. We enjoyed the best meal we have had in India! The food is fantastic and the presentation is very appeasing! I am very excited to try cooking the dishes we made when we are back in the states. Thank you Sundari for the wonderful experience. I look forward to keeping in touch! - Elizabeth & Jamie

Sundari and Krishna were amazing hosts! They really went above and beyond our expectations. We learned a lot about local culture that we wouldn't have otherwise (wedding customs, clothing, and of course, the ingredients themselves), and her food was the best we had during our week spent in India. If I lived in Chennai, I'd want them to adopt me. I've already recommended them to friends who had a great experience as well. Thanks Sundari and Krishna! - Jon and Kim

Sundari not only let us experience cooking in her wonderful kitchen, she gave us so much information about her city, her customs, traditional home life, and family. We were there during Diwali so she included us in some of the wonderful celebrations for that festival. We also got to walk around her neighborhood meeting her market friends, like her tailor, etc. and visited her temple. It was exactly what we had hoped for and more. She was gracious, kind, has a great sense of humor and made us feel like friends, not just "clients." The food was amazing, and the time spent was well worth it! My favorite dish...It was all so good. Biryani was a big hit, as was the curd rice, the dosas, and learning to make the filtered coffee. What a memorable evening! - Carol and Steve Jones

Sundari's expertise in guiding us through the preparation of the cuisine of South India was beautifully balanced by her gift of storytelling. Her grace and charm had us at ease instantly and she made what we thought was complex in the preparation of the meal easily understood and it was absolutely delicious. We left with a greater knowledge of the culture through the welcome blessing, and the additional tour of her local area. Her attention to detail is exceptional. Plus we had the chance to meet her husband Krishna -such interesting conversation, we felt we left with two new friends. For each dish we were encouraged to taste and make suggestions if it was ready, this made us feel we were truly making the dishes ourselves. Sundari has a gift for cooking and for making people feel at ease. - Christopher and Julie

Sundari was wonderful, sharing her South Indian culture with us before we even stepped inside. We felt so welcomed, it was as if visiting family! Her home is lovely, and we were allowed to take part in some wonderful traditions, in addition to the meal. Sundari was very well organized and clear with the instructions. I loved how many of the ingredients were from her own garden! This was the best experience my friend and I had since coming to India, and the most authentic. I look forward to trying out these recipes at home and hopefully come back to visit! - M. Deonarian

The experience was beyond my imagination! I entered the house thinking that I'll learn some basics of how to cook Tamil Brahmin cuisine. The experience turned out to be much beyond that. Sundari and Krishna greeted me with genuine smile when I first met them, and gave me a tour of their beautiful home before we started getting things started (they even made a personalized welcome-sign on the chalk board in their kitchen). Cooking with them almost made me feel like I was cooking with my own family members in my home kitchen, rather than attending a cooking class. Sundari is a very patient and fun chef, who can share the background of the ingredients and the dish itself. We also went to explore the local marketplace and bonded over homemade filter coffee (traditional coffee of Southern India). If you want a complete immersion to the local culture, great Tamil Brahmin vegetarian food, & great company, I strongly encourage you to visit Sundari's kitchen. You step in their home as a guest through Traveling Spoon, but you step out as a part of their family. Thanks Sundari & Krishna! - Hena

Efficient and well-organized and great hospitality; and just a fantastic experience! I have done many cooking classes in India and in other countries, but this is by far, the best class I have ever done. Not only I learned new ways and recipes to cook, but I also learned invaluable insights into the culture and customs of India from Sundari. Her sincerity and hospitality made the experience unforgettable. Her husband was also a great host - very friendly and open. They truly welcomed me into their home and their hearts. Thank you very much. - Au Gourmand

This was a wonderful experience. Sundari was a fantastic host and teacher, and all aspects of the day exceeded my expectations. The food was delicious and I left feeling confident that I can cook these dishes at home. In addition to the food and cooking, Sundari shared aspects of her culture, and took me to local places of interest that helped to shape the overall experience. If you are considering this experience, take the chance! I can't recommend it highly enough! - James

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Sundari

$22-$52 USD

per person
Same day+ Next day Booking!
  • 100% Satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Exact pricing depends on experience and will be shown before booking

Meet Sundari

Sundari is a cheerful host whose easy laugh will instantly make you feel at home in her in-laws converted home surrounded by fruit trees and filled with traditional art and decor. Sundari has been cooking since she was eight – she even cooked on her own coal stove as her mother prepared meals for her family. She delights in sharing her South Indian culinary and cultural traditions with guests.

What to expect

In-home meal: (1-8 guests) Enjoy a traditional South Indian vegetarian meal that you will eat with your hands on stainless steel plates or fresh banana leaves (if seasonally available). Flavors center around mustard, chilies, coconut, sour tamarind extract and native fruits and vegetables. Menu may include typical South Indian Tamilian dishes such as rasam (peppery soup of lentils and spices made with lemons, tomatoes or tamarind), sambar (lentil and tamarind based vegetable stew), kuzhambu (a tangy and spicy South Indian specialty flavored by sun-dried vegetables), vegetable curry, kootu (a special dish made of vegetables, lentils and coconut), rice, raita, appalams (also known as pappadams) and a spread of Indian condiments and snacks. Your meal concludes with South Indian filter coffee, a specialty coffee drink made by mixing frothed and boiled milk with the decoction obtained by brewing finely ground coffee powder in a traditional Indian filter.

Cooking experience: (1-8 guests) Learn to cook 4-5 dishes, part of a South Indian vegetarian meal that you will eat with your hands on stainless steel plates or fresh banana leaves. Menu may include typical Tamilian vegetarian main dishes such as rasam (tangy peppery broth), sambar (lentil and tamarind based vegetable stew), and a variety of vegetable curries, rice, raita, condiments and snacks. Alternatively you may request to learn to make a South Indian brunch of dosas, idlis and vadas with a variety of chutneys instead.

Market visit: (1-8 guests) You will start your experience with a tour of Sundari’s home and an overview of the food you will be cooking before embarking on your market visit. At the local Sastri Nagar neighborhood market you will watch as Sundari gets her wheat milled, see how coffee is ground and even visit the local temple. You will then walk back to Sundari’s kitchen and learn to prepare and share a South Indian vegetarian meal.

Please note that the neighborhood market in Chennai where Sundari does her shopping is a busy street with roadside stores and vendors. This is unlike an open bazaar/wet market with bags of fruits and spices you might typically expect.

Notes: Sundari only serves vegetarian food as she is a Tamil Brahmin who only eats vegetarian. If you join Sundari for dinner or anytime on the weekend, her husband, Krishna, will join you. He is a foodie who loves meeting new people.

Traveler reviews

Sundari and her husband are extremely welcoming and a joy to be around! It was great to talk to them about their lives and what it is like living in Chennai as well as cook together. Sundari is very passionate about her work which is shown by her wonderful smile and enthusiasm. She does a fabulous job of putting together the entire day on her own - wonderful welcome drinks, coffee, cooking together and then a nice market visit and back to finish up the cooking and best part... eat. We enjoyed the best meal we have had in India! The food is fantastic and the presentation is very appeasing! I am very excited to try cooking the dishes we made when we are back in the states. Thank you Sundari for the wonderful experience. I look forward to keeping in touch! - Elizabeth & Jamie

Sundari and Krishna were amazing hosts! They really went above and beyond our expectations. We learned a lot about local culture that we wouldn't have otherwise (wedding customs, clothing, and of course, the ingredients themselves), and her food was the best we had during our week spent in India. If I lived in Chennai, I'd want them to adopt me. I've already recommended them to friends who had a great experience as well. Thanks Sundari and Krishna! - Jon and Kim

Sundari not only let us experience cooking in her wonderful kitchen, she gave us so much information about her city, her customs, traditional home life, and family. We were there during Diwali so she included us in some of the wonderful celebrations for that festival. We also got to walk around her neighborhood meeting her market friends, like her tailor, etc. and visited her temple. It was exactly what we had hoped for and more. She was gracious, kind, has a great sense of humor and made us feel like friends, not just "clients." The food was amazing, and the time spent was well worth it! My favorite dish...It was all so good. Biryani was a big hit, as was the curd rice, the dosas, and learning to make the filtered coffee. What a memorable evening! - Carol and Steve Jones

Sundari's expertise in guiding us through the preparation of the cuisine of South India was beautifully balanced by her gift of storytelling. Her grace and charm had us at ease instantly and she made what we thought was complex in the preparation of the meal easily understood and it was absolutely delicious. We left with a greater knowledge of the culture through the welcome blessing, and the additional tour of her local area. Her attention to detail is exceptional. Plus we had the chance to meet her husband Krishna -such interesting conversation, we felt we left with two new friends. For each dish we were encouraged to taste and make suggestions if it was ready, this made us feel we were truly making the dishes ourselves. Sundari has a gift for cooking and for making people feel at ease. - Christopher and Julie

Sundari was wonderful, sharing her South Indian culture with us before we even stepped inside. We felt so welcomed, it was as if visiting family! Her home is lovely, and we were allowed to take part in some wonderful traditions, in addition to the meal. Sundari was very well organized and clear with the instructions. I loved how many of the ingredients were from her own garden! This was the best experience my friend and I had since coming to India, and the most authentic. I look forward to trying out these recipes at home and hopefully come back to visit! - M. Deonarian

The experience was beyond my imagination! I entered the house thinking that I'll learn some basics of how to cook Tamil Brahmin cuisine. The experience turned out to be much beyond that. Sundari and Krishna greeted me with genuine smile when I first met them, and gave me a tour of their beautiful home before we started getting things started (they even made a personalized welcome-sign on the chalk board in their kitchen). Cooking with them almost made me feel like I was cooking with my own family members in my home kitchen, rather than attending a cooking class. Sundari is a very patient and fun chef, who can share the background of the ingredients and the dish itself. We also went to explore the local marketplace and bonded over homemade filter coffee (traditional coffee of Southern India). If you want a complete immersion to the local culture, great Tamil Brahmin vegetarian food, & great company, I strongly encourage you to visit Sundari's kitchen. You step in their home as a guest through Traveling Spoon, but you step out as a part of their family. Thanks Sundari & Krishna! - Hena

Efficient and well-organized and great hospitality; and just a fantastic experience! I have done many cooking classes in India and in other countries, but this is by far, the best class I have ever done. Not only I learned new ways and recipes to cook, but I also learned invaluable insights into the culture and customs of India from Sundari. Her sincerity and hospitality made the experience unforgettable. Her husband was also a great host - very friendly and open. They truly welcomed me into their home and their hearts. Thank you very much. - Au Gourmand

This was a wonderful experience. Sundari was a fantastic host and teacher, and all aspects of the day exceeded my expectations. The food was delicious and I left feeling confident that I can cook these dishes at home. In addition to the food and cooking, Sundari shared aspects of her culture, and took me to local places of interest that helped to shape the overall experience. If you are considering this experience, take the chance! I can't recommend it highly enough! - James

Pricing
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$32 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$42 $38 $34
Market Tour + Cooking + Meal
$52 $48 $40
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
12:00pm-2:00pm 6:00pm-8:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-2:00pm 5:00pm-8:00pm
Market Tour + Cooking + Meal
9:00am-2:00pm 4:00pm-9:00pm
Host Contact
  • You can message your host directly once you've made your booking
  • Address and phone number will be provided upon booking confirmation