Kerala spices and cuisine are famous. Tourists traveling to Kerala to relish Kerala food are commonplace. Be it seafood or nonveg delicacies or Onam particular veg varieties, or items like dosas and Puttu, there is a wholesome list to explore. For a change, let us explore toddy shops in Kerala.
Toddy shops in Kerala are known for selling alcoholic beverages. Toddy is a mild alcoholic beverage made by fermenting the flower sap of the coconut palm. Yes, you read it right. It is an intoxicating drink. And in the past, people used to look down upon those coming out of these places drunk and reeking the foul smell.
However, of late the trend is changing. Going beyond restaurants and food outlets, there is a constant crowd in front of toddy shops too. With (or without) toddy many such places offer good food too. In fact, the dishes are so tasty that these days even family and women folks make a beeline to toddy parlors. Many toddy shops in Kerala are now popular for flavourful delicacies prepared by skilled cooks and chefs.
Even families visiting toddy shops now don't surprise anyone. And why do they visit these places so freely and openly? You better ask, why not. Some of these toddy shops in Kerala are already famous hubs for spreading out their signature food delicacies.
So, what are the popular dishes that attract foodies to toddy shops in Kerala?
Tapioca and fish curry
Both fish curry and tapioca are common features in Kerala households. And the combination of these two makes a mouth-watering delicacy. Unlike how it is prepared at a home kitchen when these dishes are prepared in a toddy shop, they are relatively spicier and hot. That would induce the customer to go for more glasses of toddy. The same goes for all the curries served at such places.
Cooking cube-cut and semi-mashed tapioca isn't a big deal. The ingredients include turmeric powder, shallots, mustard seeds, coconut oil, curry leaves, and as per requirement water and salt.
As for fish curry, from kingfish to sardines, any good fish can be used. With all the Kerala spices generous amount of Kashmiri chili and shallot are added to prepare it.
The combination is like a starter when you are at a toddy shop in Kerala.
Appam And Duck Roast
Another tempting combination in the platter is appam and duck roast. Dipping a piece of appam in the thick gravy of duck roast is bliss in the mouth.
Round, white, soft, and fluffy Palappam with crispy edges is sure to entice you. Palappam is a traditional Kerala breakfast item. It is made with rice flour and coconut. It can be enjoyed with veg stews or non-veg specials like duck, chicken, or beef roast.
Fresh duck is cooked with onions, tomato, and spices like ginger, pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, tamarind, etc. The ingredients are cooked together until it becomes a thick gravy.
Kumarakom Toddy Parlour and Mullapanthal Toddy Shop are popular for this combination.
A toddy shop experience is incomplete if there is no seafood on your table. Crab, prawns, squid, mussels, and clam delicacies are the most common seafood specialties available in toddy shops in Kerala.
Spicy and roasted crab or squid when served hot, provides finger-licking flavour to the whole experience of visiting a toddy shop in Kerala. The preparation with a lot of black pepper, shallot, and spices is sure to tempt you to order more.
Kadamakkudy toddy shop in Kochi, Mapranam shop in Iringalakuda, and Karimpinkala in Kottayam are the most frequented parlors for seafood delicacies.
Exquisite delicacies like rabbit or quail are served too. Tasty preparations like chili pork or beef dry fry, quail fry, and rabbit roast add a memorable experience to your visit to a toddy parlor.
There was a time when even dishes like frog leg fry, tortoise, water hen, crane, and many more such varieties were available. Once all these are included in the list of endangered species, such items are no more available which is ecologically good of course.
However, you still have many other special items to taste-experiment.
More varieties in the toddy shops in Kerala
Here are a few more special delicacies.
Meen Polichattu – It is a fish preparation. Spices-marinated fish grilled in a banana leaf and served hot is a treat to the eyes.
Country chicken roast – Unlike broiler chicken, country chicken which has essentially less flesh, and more bones when cooked with traditional spices is a tasty delicacy. It is not only tasty but super healthy too.
Meen Thala Curry – One of the sought-after dishes is fish head curry. Usually, the headpiece of King Fish or Tuna is used for this preparation. The tasty dish is a coconut milk-based and spicy gravy-filled curry.
Fried anchovies – Another fish special treat. The small fish fried in coconut oil after marinating in spices is yummy. You just cannot stop munching on them.
Karimeen Fry– One of the stars of many Toddy Shops in Kerala. The Green Chromide gets special recognition wherever it is served. Fully spices-marinated fish is fried in coconut oil. It is probably one of the most tasty delicacies you could taste in a toddy shop in Kerala.
After the success of big names in the business, several more toddy shops are now concentrating on the food menu. A constant flow of family and women customers is prompting the owners to introduce special and tasty food items to the list. At the same time, a more family and kids' friendly ambiance is being created to attract family customers. A list of family-friendly toddy parlors that has a great menu:
- Kadamakudy Kallu Shop, Ernakulam
- Mullapanthal Toddy Shop, Thrippunithura,
- Nettoor Shappu, Nettoor, Maradu, Ernakulam
- Mapranam Shappu, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur
- Padippura Shaapu, Thrippunithura, Ernakulam
- Tharavadu Toddy Shop, Location: Kolapra, Muttom, Kochi
- Karimpumkala Toddy Shop, Pallom, Kottayam
- Kumarakom Toddy Parlour, Alleppy
- Punchakkari Shap, Thiruvananthapuram
Welcome to Kerala and explore more such toddy shops.
A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers