One of the delights of holidaying abroad is sampling foreign cuisines at their most authentic. The recent IVC holiday in Kerala promised the sheer delight of Indian food (my favourite cuisine) three times a day – paradise!
Keralan cuisine benefits from various influences – Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Portuguese and British as well as fresh fish from its maritime location and an abundance of coconuts as well as being the “spice coast” famous throughout history for its superb fresh spices. As well as being absolutely delicious the food was cheap. One of our party - Ann Jones – was able to treat six of us to lunch for around £5! It usually costs a little more than this….
Breakfast would typically be a dosa (like a large flat pancake with a several sauces , served with fresh fruit salad and freshly pressed fruit juice. Lunches & evening meals would be a variety of curries and grilled fish dishes. Sometimes this would be served on a banana leaf (for the tourists – the locals use plates). The seafood dishes were a real forte. On a relaxed houseboat cruise we had our own crew who prepared food including mouth-watering grilled fish and enormous grilled prawns – the largest I have ever seen.
Of course every meal requires a drink and most of us enjoy lassi which is served here. Indian restaurant aficionados will be acquainted with Kingfisher lager. This is found all over India but in a variety of versions unlike the single less inspiring version we have in the UK which is actually brewed under license in Kent. Worthy of mention is the home brewed toddy which is fermented palm sap. It is made fresh each day as it has spoilt by the end of the day. An acquired taste.
Looking back on the holiday the food was a real highlight for me.
Eds note;_ If you ask for food on a bannana leaf be prepared for it to be cut in real time before your very eyes!! Beats have to wash up the plates