Kollam, Kerala's southern district tended to by the soft ripples of the mighty Asthamudi lake, is not just a commercial hub of cashew and spices. It also has a rich culinary legacy – one that lingers on if you get acquainted with once. Here are seven rustic spots that one could head to in the district to get a taste of authentic Kollam delicacies.
The Three Rupee Shop
The name of the shop is synonymous with the pricing, truly. Snacks like ‘vada,’ ‘bonda,’ samosa, ‘bajji,’ ‘modakam,’ ‘nadan’ cake come at Rs 3. Also, tasty and hot puffs (egg, chicken and beef), and cutlet (chicken and beef) are priced at Rs 5. And, wait till you hear the price of piping hot chicken biriyani – Rs 55. There is no harm calling it a boon to people when food prices have hit the ceiling. The eatery has been functioning for 11 years at Thattamala on the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram National Highway.
Onmanorama had featured this shop in an earlier article. This is family business is truly the pride of Kollam. The shop is at Keralapuram Junction on Kollam-Shencotta road. The highlight of this shop is coin parotta, mutton curry, ‘vettu’ cake, and tea. And here is the catch: at no time is this place empty. It is teeming with people at all times. The cooking strictly adheres to age-old practices, handed down by the previous generation. No wonder, the shop has been dishing out delicacies for the past 70 years.
Think Mutton, think Salim is the adage among food-lovers in Kollam. The restaurant on beach road was incepted some 60 years ago. The eatery opens at 5 am and closes at 1 am. The highlight of the place is mutton biriyani. In the evenings, even people from afar reach the place to get a platter of their favourite mutton roast and hot porotta.
If it is exotic, it should have secret recipe. On Asramam Road is G.R. Stores which the people of Kollam fondly call Kallukada. The highlight of the place is a soda lemonade which mixes a ‘secret ingredient.’ This part, the thirst quenchers include cashew sherbet, pineapple ‘kallu’ soda, and grape 'kallu' soda. The shop has been quenching the thirst of weary commuters for 18 years with a dash of toddy (kallu in Malayalam) in its name alone.
Filewan is the desi call name for a wrestler. Filewan was the Malayalam for the Hindi word Phailwan, the wrestlers who moved to place to place, vanquishing adversaries on the go. For 80 years, Hotel Filewan too has been serving bud-tickling food to the connoisseurs. No one can defeat the mutton delicacies and Dum Biriyani of Filewan.
Meenkada at Thirumallavaram
It is a fact that people keep coming back to Meenkada at Thirumallavaram. There is nothing that beats the taste of the Kerala fish-rice combo. So, head to Meenkada at Thirumallavaram to sink in to fish curry, true Kerala style. Chandrettan’s Meenkada is just 5 km off Kollam city. The taste is accentuated as the fish, marinated in homemade masala is cooked on a firewood stove. The ‘thala curry’ or curry cooked using the fish head is a major attraction here. Those visiting the place can pick the live fish of their choice, which would then be cooked and served. If you are in by lunch time, the spread includes ‘pachadi,’ ‘thoran,’ lime pickle, ‘konchu’ curry, ‘puliserry,’ ‘thala’ curry gravy, and fish fry, with rice. So, what holds you back? Head to Kollam on a rustic food trip soon.