The Food Habits of Kerala People-A Study
A study on the food culture of Malayalees based on their religious and geographical classification.
On food circles what makes Kerala different from the rest of the country (India) is its love for non-vegetarian dishes. While the neighboring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the hot choice of veggies, the spice loving Malayalees prefer non-veg foods.
Kerala was well noted for its rich stock of spices such as Grampoo, Cardamom, Pepper, Turmeric, Ginger, etc for centuries. Merchants across the globe came here lured by the abundant presence of these spices. Vasco de Gama first landed here way back in 1498 at Kappad in Kozhikode. This also heralded the beginning of European invasion to India. All these travelers came for the purpose of establishing trade relation with Kerala.
Religious features related to food culture
The Kerala population consists of three major religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The majority Hindus mostly favoured vegetarian food till recently. But due to the co-existence with the Muslims and Christians, their food choice has turned to non-veg dishes. They always had a love for fishes. But the shift to meat is thanks to their living together with other religious groups, who are so fond of Chicken, Mutton and Beef items. When a society comprising of multy religious groups, it is but natural and appreciable.
When Muslims mostly favored Beef, the choice of Christians was Beef and Pork. They also consumed large quantities of fishes. The Keralites' main meal is rice with two curries preferably one veg and one non-veg. Though traditionally Malayalees preferred fish thanks to the large coastal line Kerala has. But the present status of the food culture shows that Malayalees has now turned towards meat, especially Chicken. If the food choice of Keralites goeses in the current way and pace, 'Chicken Biriyani' can be named as Keralites' national food soon.
Apart from the record for the largest consumption of Alcohol, Kerala is also on the run for yet another title- The land of largest chicken eaters! The farmers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are making hundreds of thousands of bucks daily through the sale of chicken and eggs to Kerala.
If you are a food enthusiast and wish to taste the hot and spicy non-vegetarian dishes, Kerala is your right destination.
Geographical classification of Kerala
Geographically describing, Kerala can be roughly divided as two parts. The Southern (Travancore) and Northern (Malabar) areas. The state Kerala has 14 districts. The Malabar area consists of 6 districts starting from Kasargod to Palakkad, the other districts being Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram. The Travancore or the southern part contains 8 districts, namely Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. The Thrissur district has the fragrance and flavors of both Malabar and Travancore as it is situated almost on the middle point of Kerala.
A Photo Display of Kerala's Ethnic CuisineClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Kerala Population and Religions: Amusing Features
Kerala is a unique place in India with lot of amusing features. Both Islam and Christianity started here and spread to other part of the country. Kerala is also noted for communal harmony.
- The Dress Code of Malayalees (Keralites)
Cultural study is an interesting topic. Here we go into a small research on the dress code of Keralites better known as Malayalees. Their love for saris, mundu and love for traditional attire are discussed here with suitable photos.
- Christianity in Kerala
In India Christianity is believed to be started from Kerala. It spread to other regions of India from Kerala. Christians have done tremendous work in the field of education, healthcare and helped Kerala to reach in a high level standard.
So you, a foodie has decided to satisfy your taste buds. You have taken a decision to visit Kerala for the very reason. Good. Then, where to move? It is to help you clearly that I drew a geographical landscape of the state in detail above. Ditto is the reason for my drawing of the religious sketch of the land's population. All these drills are for your clear digestion. So I may repeat the mixture!
A non-veggie has two options. Either go for fish or try meat. Well, if you are a lover of fish items, you please go anywhere in Travancore. Ernakulam, Alleppey and Kottayam would be the best choice. If you prefer meat items, you are advised to head for Malabar side. The best choice I recommend is Kozhikode followed by Kannur and Malappuram. The Chicken Biriyani in Kozhikode is very famous. Thalassery in Kannur also has the same fame for C.B. (yes, Chicken Biriyani).
After chicken, the most sought after item is Beef. Muslims are the great fans of Beef. Religiously looking, it can be seen that Hindus prefer Chicken, Muslims love beef and Christians take Pork. It is not an hard and fast rule but a general observation only. Muslims never take pork as it is religiously forbidden for them. Similarly religious-conscious Hindus normally avoid beef items.
Before winding up, I must add one point that whatever the religious and geographical differences be, the Kerala society has a common meal known as Kerala Sadhya, which is supplied on all joyful occasions and loved by all. It is served on banana leaves. The 'sadhya' (feast) contains a lot of items and all fully vegetarian. It is a different story, which I will narrate on another time. But to give you a rough sketch or idea about what this 'sadhya' is, I invite your attention to the first photo I added above. Please give a look at that photo.
One thing is very clear that the hot and spicy flavor of nonvegetarian dishes of Kerala is sure to start a fire in your stomach. The foodie in you would fully be satisfied when you pay a visit to this lovely land known as "The God's Own Country".