There are sights to see and markets to flex your bartering muscles in, but be sure to make time for Chennai’s cuisine. One of India’s great regional foods, Tamil Nadu’s vegetarian food is characterised by its spicy intensity and balance of flavours. The best way to tuck in is via a thali - usually served on a stainless steel tray with various dishes in small bowls. Chapatis are offered and a bowl of rice is always served. Sambar, a thick spicy stew of lentils and vegetables, is another staple, and alongside that an array of dishes alive with the taste of tamarind and tomatoes, ginger and coconut are paraded. Two perfect accompaniments – a glass of lassi takes the heat out of the meal, and finish off with a cup of India’s finest coffee. Sweet chai may be the national obsession, but here a gourmet bean perfectly roasted is the local passion.