This year's Onam feasts were washed away in the floods and people are yet to come to terms with the tragedy that tore their lives apart.
But with things coming back to normal now, food lovers who would like to taste a sumptuous feast of a kind much different from that served during Onam, can head to Vendakala toddy shop near Changanassery. The exact location is Nalukodi, near the railway track.
Vendakala is a rage on social media. Among the favourite dishes at the shaap (toddy shop) is the curry of fish head, which entices foodies from even far off places.
The staff at the toddy shop play the perfect hosts, with guests trying the lip-smacking fare in the long main dining area, the quaint corners and the small rooms. There are separate areas for people arriving in family groups.
Many who reach the toddy shop break into a song while others become loquacious. A number of guests stay till evening and head home with a parcel of pearl spot as big as a bell-metal vessel.
A majority of guests are travellers passing along Changanassery. There are groups of regulars too; local people who know each other well.
Patrons have tons of praise to offer for the duck dishes of Vendakala, especially the one in which oil is used liberally. Fry of koonthal fish is next in popularity. Both these dishes offer a smooth taste and are slightly hotter than roasted pork.
Visitors can also choose from karimeen pollichathu, cuttlefish fry, kari fry, duck mappas, roasted pork, beef fry, podimeen fry, crab curry, head curry of vatta meen, and several other dishes.
The tapioca and fish curry combination was popularized by some toddy shops, informs a local man. The head curry rivals boiled tapioca, he adds.
Puttu and Bengal gram curry combination is not served in several toddy shops, but in Vendakala, customers head to the toddy shop simply for this breakfast.
Items like parotta, appam, and tapioca are ready to be served from around 9 am. With the railway track nearby, the guests can have their fill from morning hearing the whistles of scores of trains passing by.