'Veetil Oonu' or homely meals have become so popular throughout Kerala that people, especially professionals, throng these small eateries during lunch time. Viswanathan was lovingly called 'Appappi' by everyone who came to relish the home cooked meals at the small makeshift eatery near his house in Kottayam. Appappi, who loved fish, would tell his staff to serve bowls full of fish curry to the customers. ''He used to say that it was special to enjoy the meals seeing these bowls filled to the brim with fish curry,'' says Deepu who runs the eatery since Appappi passed away. Deepu, like his father, does not compromise on the quality of the food and continues to serve bowls full of fish curry to customers.
'Homely meals' eateries are closed on Sundays as workers and professionals are the ones who largely depend on these facilities for lunch. On Mondays, customers are significantly less, as most Keralites love packing their lunch at least one day in a week. However, on other week days, these small eateries are bustling with customers who love the warmth of homely meals. By 1 pm on the week days, workers and laborers would be swarming these eateries to reserve their seats. The professionals working in the private firms however have to rush through their lunch, as they have to ‘punch’ in at their offices at the right time.
Though sambar and pulissery are served every day, the mouth watering fish delicacies are only specialties at many 'homely meals' eateries. Anchovies, sardines, bluefin trevally (vatta) and finned blue eye (unnimary) are some of the most common fishes served at these eateries. A 'homely meal' eatery can only be opened after registering at the food safety commission by paying a fee of Rs 100 via Akshaya.