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What To Eat And Drink


Kerala offers a different type of cuisine as compared to other parts of India. One can easily notice the dominance of staple food in this part of India. People of Kerala prefer having rice and non vegetarian food. The people of Kerala are also different from other people as they do not impose any restrictions on diets based on religious ethics. One has the full freedom to eat what they want. Non vegetarian dishes like pork meat and beefs make up an important meal in Kerala Cuisine. Sea food constitutes for a major percentage in Kerala cuisine. People of Kerala use coconut oil on extensive basis which also includes coconut powder and coconut milk. Local spices are used abundantly in the preparation of dishes which makes them even more enticing for the visitors. Spices like pepper, ginger, cardamom and green and red chilies are used extensively in the preparation of dishes.

Kerala cuisines and dishes have a huge tilt towards the use of firry spices like chilies to make the dishes fiery hot. The people of Kerala consume only vegetarian dishes during the festive period. The place offers some of the finest vegetarian dishes to the visitors.

The primary cuisine of Kerala comprise of four types. These cuisines are greatly influenced by the regional styles, ingredient availability and the historical influence. The main cuisines includes, Malabar cuisine, Central Travancore cuisine, Southern Travancore cuisine and the famous cuisine of central Kerala. These cuisines are available throughout the state.


Sadhya is considered to the one of the most traditional dishes of Kerala. Food lovers love to enjoy this dish as a buffet. Sadhya is very popular amidst the people especially during the festival season. The dish is served on the a plain banana leaf. It contains approximately 24 eatables with some desserts.

Sadhya is made with parboiled rice and served with some popular dishes in Kerala. Olan is one of the most important servings with Sadhya. It is made with pumpkin. Other dishes include avial( mix vegetables), injipulee (ginger and tamarind flavor), Kaalan (mixture of yam , yoghurt), thoran (fried vegetable sprinkled with coconut), kichiadi (cucumber roasted in coconut), pachadi (sweet made from pineapple and grapes). Kottukari is also one of the primary dishes that are served with Sadhya. It is made with a mixture of vegatables and fruits like banana, pumpkin and potatoes. The mixture is fried in the pan and served with spicy and hot tomato curry. Shadya is also served with other dishes like potato stew and masala curry for better taste. Sambar (mixture of many vegetables) and parippu ara also served with ghee with this dish. Pickles also find an important place with sadhya.

Other dishes include  pappadam (lentils fried with flour paper and thin bread). The dish is served asas primary appetizer with banana chips, jiggery and sweets. At the end of the dish, rasam is also served for better digestion of the food. Muru and sambaram are served with sadhya. It is made with spiced buttermilk. Banana is also taken after the conclusion of main dish. Desserts include the payasam and boli which is made of bread and resembles omelet. Mainly all sweet dishes are made out of brad and mixed with coconut ingredients to give a better flavor. Sweet porridge, jiggery and sugar are the main ingredients of sweet dishes In Kerala. Unniappam is also served as sweet dish and is made with sweet rice and flour dumplings.

The normal serving time of sadhya dish is during the lunch time with vegetarian meal. Onasadhya is a special dish served on Onam festival. It is served with more than 30 spicy and sweet curries. All major restaurants and hotels in Kerala offer different varieties of Sadhya. people normally consume it during the day time. In the Malabar region, sadhya is also served with fried fish and other non vegetarian dishes.

Thalis/ Fixed Price meals

There are many hotels in Kerala that offers Sadhya as thali. The thali comprises of several other curries served with this dish. One can choose from fixed or unlimited meals from the menu . a normal sadhya thali has is served with 4 to 5 main curries, pickles and some sweet dishes. Mostly small restaurants serve this type of meals which are more cost friendly to the customers.

Steel plates with separate slots are used to serve these dishes.


Seafood is available throughout Kerala and constitutes a main part of cuisine. The regions which are surrounded by fresh water bodies serve Karimeen, prawns and shrimps are primary seafood dishes. The major cooking styles include pollichatu which is spicy and marinated fish wrapped in the banana leaf and steam cooked. People also use pan roasting method for cooking fish and other types of sea food. Throughout Kerala, sea food is extremely popular and served during the main time as primary food. It is mainly served fried or with spicy curries. Hot fish is cooked in various spices and served with rice and kappa. People also serve steamed rice with tapioca with turmeric flavor. These dishes are very popular in the rural areas.

Non Vegetarian

Kerala cuisine comprises of some of the famous non vegetarian dishes cooked with all type of meats. Chicken, duck, mutton and the beef meat constitutes for most popular non vegetarian cuisines. Pork meat and lamb meat are taken on special occasions. Some parts of Kerala also serve rabbit and pigeon meat. The meats are heavily mixed with spices before cooking. Pan frying with deep frying and curries are popular cooking style in this state.


Kerala is famous for its elaborated breakfast offerings. It is undoubtedly judged as one of the best morning meals in the world by food experts. It is mainly due to the high nutrition content in the meal. Non vegetarian foods constitute only a small part of breakfast. Some popular breakfast dishes are:

  • Puttu- this dish is made with rice powder and coconut (grated). After that , it is steamed in a bamboo holder. It is served with kadala, pappadams.
  • Idli-  it is a pancake type of dish made with steamed rice. It is a soft and fluffy cake which is served with chutney. The chutney is made with spicy chilies and grind coconut. It is served with sambar.
  • Dosas- it is a special type of fried bread stuffed with different types of ingredients. The toppings include onions and tomatoes. The special dosas are made with eggs and curries.
  • Pidiyan- these are special dumplings made with rice and sugar
  • Idiyppam- these are also known as noolputtu and are served with eggs and spicy curries
  • Paal- Appam- it is a crisp and fried pancake made with rice flour. It is served with chicken stews which are made with spiced coconut milk gravy. Vegetable gravy is also used to serve this dish.


Dinner and lunch dishes are mostly common in Kerala. In the dinner time , people prefer taking congee (rice porridge) mixed with spicy chilies. Roasted pappadams are also served during the dinner time. But the trends have changed today as people have started eating chapattis and paranthas in the dinner time just like the north Indians. Non vegetarian curries also constitutes an important part of the dinner meals.

Breads and Rice

You will not find traditional wheat breads in the recipe. People consume popular north Indian breads like chapattis, paranthas and Nan. One can spot breads made with rice flour in Kerala.

  • Rice breads- Palappams (milk is mixed with appam batter). Kallappams (palm toddy is mixed with appam batter)
  • Rice flour breads- pathiris is a special type of rice flour bread.  Chattapathiris is one of the most celebrated bread dish in Kerala. It is made with multiple players of meat and served with all important meals including dinner. The dish has great resemblance to Lasagna and vegetables, cashews, raisins constitute important ingredients in this dish.
  • Malabar paratha (porottha)-   milled wheat is fried or toasted . this type of bread originated in this state
  • Rice- rice is one of the most important dish in Kerala. Matta is the favorite type of rice for the people of Kerala. Normally boiled rice is served with wide variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian curries. Other important rice dishes constitute ghee rice which is served with pure ghee. Fried rice and saffron rice are also popular meals in Kerala.   


People of Kerala are not inclined towards sweet as in North India. It is mainly due to the less influence of the Arabian countries. You may not find any cold desserts in Kerala but it offers a plenty of options when it comes to hot or warm desserts. Payasam is one of the most popular desserts in the state. It is made with milk and coconut extracts. Sugar, butter and dry fruits like cashew and dry grapes are its main constituents. Some other popular desserts include paal payasam which is made of rice grains, Ada-payasam, paripu payasam which is made from lentils, pazham pradhamam and gothambu payasam which is made from grains of wheat are extremely popular dessert recopies.
some popular traditional sweets include

  • Unniappam- it is a fluffy and dried bread mixed with the ripe bananas.
  • Pazham pori- plantain slices that are covered with a special type of fried crust
  • Kozhukatta- made with rice dumplings and stuffed with the sweet mixtures of the molasses and coconut
  • Kozhikode halwa- it is a famous sweet dish in Kerala
  • Adas- rice parcels are encased in the dough which is made with the rice flour. It is mixed with sweet fillings and cooked with steamed banana leaves

Kerala does not have any concept of sweet dishes rather than the payasams. It is mainly due to the sadhya culture in the region. These sweet dishes are taken after the meals. Many people have adopted the influences from other region when it comes to dessert consumption.

Savories are very popular in this region. Fried chips of banana are served extensively. Achappam, kozhalappam, availose unda are some of the famous jack fruit delicacies served in the form of fried chips.

The people of Kerala consume tea regularly. The team i8mings are in the morning and evening fitter snacks and savories constitute an important part of malayalees meals. Some of the popular snacks that people take along with the tea are Uzhunnu-vada which is made with mashed and fried lentils. Some people also prefer bond( made with stuffed potato), parippu-vada, undampoori and Savala vada. These are a type of cutlets consumed by local people.


Normal tap water is not suitable for drinking. You can carry mineral or bottled water with you at all time. One can also opt for beverages like soda and other drinks from the local stores. Coconut water is widely consumed beverage in Kerala. You can easily find it anywhere in this region. The coconut water comes with creamy pulp which has a rich taste.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee is known as kapi and tea is known as chaya in this part of India. People of Kerala prefer tea over coffee. You can easily spot a large number of tea stalls anywhere in Kerala. Kannan Devan is one of the most popular tea brands in Kerala. People p[refer having string tea to relax their senses. Milma (A special type of milk booth ) serves tea and snacks to the visitors. People living in the urban areas prefer coffee especially in Kochi.  Coffee parlors like CCD can be easily spotted in these cities. These parlors serve Indian as well as western snacks with the coffee. Kerala also offers its tradition coffee house to the visitors . coffee house is a one of the oldest coffee parlors in the state and serves according to the 70s style. It serves all types of coffee with authentic Kerala Snacks. You can also order lite burgers in this place.


Kerala offers a wide range of fruit juices since it is a tropical state. You can easily spot juice stalls selling mango, orange, lemon and pineapple juices. Ice creams with milk shakes are also very popular in this state. Sharja and Chikoos are popular milk shakes in Kerala.


Kerala is one of the highest consumers of Alcohol despite high tax by the government. The local bars serve all types of alcohol to the visitors. Kallu is one of the most popular traditional alcoholic drinks in the state. But drinking in public places is not allowed and men constitute for a major percentage of alcohol drinkers. You will not see women drinking inside the bars.

You can find a large number of bars in Kerala however, due to the promotion by the government, most of these bars have been shifted to posh localities from urban areas. The government only give license to star hotels for operating bars inside their premises. Themed and lounge bars are getting high attention in big cities in Kerala.

The government of Kerala has prohibited selling of liquor in retail stores. You can only purchase it from government run stores. You can buy all types of alcohol and beer brands for private consumption. The alcohol are available at all affordable rates for budget conscious customers. Due to large crowd, you might have to wait for a long time to get your hands on liquor.

Bars as well as Bevco are closed on 1st and 2nd days of every month. They also remain closed in major public holidays. People buy alcohol before dry days to gather the stocks.

You may try the locally made kallu but make sure that you get it from a good shop.  It is made with palm toddy and served with all types of drinks. Kallu is one of the widely consumed liquor in Kerala but peop0le living it cities prefer branded alcohol. The Alapuzha- changaserry road is filled with many toddy shows. They serve high quality kallu to the visitors. The toddy prepared at local shops must be avoided since it may contain bad brews. If you want to drink toddy, then it is better to visit a good bar or a big restaurant where they serve this beverage. Since it is one of the most popular alcohol drinks in Kerala, you can easily spot a large number of shops selling locally made toddy. At these places you can also taste some of the finest non vegetarian dishes like seafood, chicken and beef. If you do not want to have toddy, you can have a taste of the local dishes at these places.

Tobacco and Cannabis

The government has retracted the sale of loose cigars however one can opt for local Indian brands at small shops. You can purchase the packets from retail stores as well as small roadside shops. Major brands include wills, Gold flake, classic and insignia from ITC. Cigarette packets are available at 30 to 40 rupees while loose cigars come at 2 to 5 rupees per piece.

The high court has strictly banned smoking in public places and also in front of small children. Defaulters could be strapped with a fine of 1000 rupees if found smoking in public places. The bars and restaurants have their own rules on smoking inside the premises.

The Arab styled hookahs have gained huge popularity especially amidst the youngsters. You can easily spot a large number of hookah joint in urban parts of the city. 

The government of Kerala has imposed a ban of the pan masalas and all other types of cannabis. You cannot sell or purchase any type of pan masala in whole state due to the band. If caught purchasing or selling, you might be entitled to a fine of 2000 rupees. Possession of pan masala with you is also counted as an offence.

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