Discover The Best Of Local Food In Kodai With Us
The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Kodaikanal, a picturesque hill station in Tamil Nadu, is not just a popular tourist destination but also a food lover’s paradise. The cuisine of Kodai is deeply rooted in South Indian culinary traditions but has been influenced by various communities over the years, leading to the development of a diverse and unique culinary culture.
Kodai’s Culinary Culture
Kodai’s culinary culture is a reflection of the region’s rich history and diverse influences. The use of locally-sourced ingredients and traditional cooking techniques is an essential aspect of Kodai’s cuisine.
1. Locally Sourced Ingredients
One of the most notable features of Kodai’s cuisine is the use of locally-sourced ingredients. The region is known for its fertile soil, which provides an abundance of fresh produce, such as vegetables, fruits, and spices. The use of fresh and seasonal ingredients is an essential aspect of Kodai’s cuisine, as it not only enhances the flavour of the dishes but also ensures their nutritional value.
2. Traditional Cooking Techniques
The cuisine of Kodai is characterized by its traditional cooking techniques, which have been passed down through generations. The use of clay pots for cooking is a common practice in Kodai. Clay pots are believed to add a distinct flavour to the dishes and are also known for their health benefits.
Another traditional cooking technique that is commonly used in Kodai is the art of tempering, which involves heating oil or ghee with spices and adding them to the dish towards the end of the cooking process. This technique not only enhances the flavour of the dish but also helps to retain the nutritional value of the ingredients.
3. Geographical Advantage
The region is surrounded by hills and forests, which have led to the development of a unique cuisine that is characterized by the use of wild greens and forest produce.
For example, the leaves of the Colocasia plant , which grows abundantly in the region, are used to make a popular dish called “keerai masiyal“. This dish is made by cooking the leaves with onions, tomatoes, and spices, which are then mashed together to create a thick and flavourful paste.
4. Influence of Region’s Cultural heritage
The cuisine of Kodai also showcases the influence of neighbouring regions such as Kerala and Karnataka. For example, the use of coconut milk in curries and the use of jackfruit in dishes are some of the culinary influences that have been incorporated into Kodai’s cuisine.
The region’s cultural heritage has also played a significant role in shaping its culinary culture, with various communities such as the Tamil, Kannada, and Malayali communities contributing to the development of a diverse and vibrant cuisine.
Must-Try Local Delicacies in Kodai
Kodai has become a popular tourist destination over the years. But, apart from its natural beauty, Kodai is also known for its delicious local cuisine that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
From traditional South Indian delicacies to fusion dishes that will tantalize your taste buds, Kodai has a wide range of options to offer. Here are some of the must-try local food items that you should not miss out on when in Kodai:
1. Kuzhi Paniyaram
Kuzhi Paniyaram is a popular South Indian snack that is commonly found in Kodaikanal. Made from a batter of fermented rice and lentils, this dish is cooked in a special pan with cavities that give it its unique shape. Kuzhi Paniyaram can be enjoyed with a variety of chutneys and sambar, making it a versatile dish that can be eaten as a snack or a meal.
2. Vada Curry
Vada Curry is a traditional Tamil Nadu dish that is popular in Kodaikanal. Made from deep-fried lentil dumplings that are cooked in a spicy gravy, this dish is usually served with dosa, idli, or parotta. The texture of the vada complements the rich and spicy gravy, making it a perfect comfort food.
3. Mushroom Biryani
Mushroom Biryani is a must-try dish for all the biryani lovers out there. Kodaikanal is known for its mushroom cultivation, and this dish is a perfect example of how the local produce is used in traditional cuisine. Made from long-grain rice, aromatic spices, and fresh mushrooms, this dish is cooked slowly to bring out the flavors of the ingredients. Served with raita and papad, this biryani is a complete meal in itself.
4. Kutki Payasam
Kutki Payasam is a type of Millet Porridge, is a healthy breakfast option that is commonly found in Kodaikanal . Made from millet grains that are cooked with milk and jaggery, this dish is a perfect way to start your day. Millet Porridge is not only nutritious but also delicious, making it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
4. Kothu Parotta
Kothu Parotta is a popular street food that is found all over Tamil Nadu, and Kodai is no exception. Made from shredded parotta that is cooked with onions, tomatoes, and a variety of spices, this dish is a perfect blend of flavors and textures. Kothu Parotta is usually served with raita and gravy, making it a complete meal in itself.
6. Masala Chai
Masala Chai is a popular beverage that is enjoyed by people all over India. Made from black tea leaves that are brewed with a variety of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, this beverage is a perfect way to refresh yourself after a long day of sightseeing. In Kodai, Masala Chai is usually served with some locally made snacks like biscuits or pakoras.
7. Appam and Stew
Appam and Stew is a classic South Indian breakfast dish that is popular in Kodai. Appam is a rice-based pancake that is usually served with a coconut milk-based stew that is made with vegetables and sometimes with meat. The soft and fluffy texture of the appam complements the rich and creamy stew, making it a perfect breakfast option.
A crispy, savory doughnut-shaped snack made from lentils and spices. The deep frying of vada gives the crispy texture on the outside leaving softer inside. Adding of Vegetables in batter increases the nutritional value. Vada is served with chutneys and Sambar
9. Paruthi Paal
A sweet milk drink that is made with cotton seeds. Paruthi paal is sweetend and flavoured with Jaggery, cardamon and coconut.
The toxic part of cotten seeds is removed and soaked in water. The soaked seeds are grounded and filtered to extract paruthi paal.
A steamed rice cake that is served with chutney and sambar. Idly is made by steaming the batter made of rice and urad dal. Idly is considered as the healthiest breakfast of Southern states of India.
Pongal is made with Moong dal and rice cooked with ginger, peppercorns and other spices. Adding Ghee beforing having on top of hot pongal adds an extra flavour to it.
Dosa, locals calls Dosai a delicious crepe made with fermented batter made of rice and lentils. People consume dosa mainly as breakfast in Kodaikanal. It served with chutney and sambar.
Where to Find the Best Local Food in Kodaikanal
The town is home to numerous restaurants and food joints that serve delicious local food. Here are some of the best places to find local food in Kodaikanal:
Muncheez is a popular restaurant that serves a variety of local dishes. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming ambiance and is known for its mouth-watering dosas and idlis. Muncheez also serves delicious biryani and other South Indian specialties.
- Astoria Veg Restaurant
This vegetarian restaurant is located in the bustling Coaker’s Walk area of Kodaikanal. Astoria is known for its fresh and flavorful vegetarian food, including the popular South Indian thali. The restaurant has a cozy ambiance and is a great place to enjoy a meal after a long day of sightseeing.
- Cloud Street Cafe:
This cozy cafe is located in the heart of Kodaikanal and is known for its delicious breakfast options, including pancakes and waffles. Cloud Street Cafe also serves a variety of local snacks, such as vada and bonda, and has a great selection of coffee and tea.
- Royal Tibet
Royal Tibet is a Tibetan restaurant located in the town center. The restaurant is known for its authentic Tibetan food, including momos and thukpa. The ambiance is cozy and welcoming, with colorful prayer flags adorning the walls.
Tava is a popular restaurant located in the bustling Anna Salai area of Kodaikanal. The restaurant serves a variety of local and international dishes, including pizzas, pastas, and Indian curries. Tava is also known for its cocktails and has a lively atmosphere.
- Cafe Cariappa
Cafe Cariappa is a charming cafe located near the Kodaikanal Lake. The cafe has a rustic ambiance and is known for its delicious sandwiches and burgers. Cafe Cariappa also serves a variety of local snacks and has a great selection of coffee and tea.
- Potluck Cafe
Potluck cafe is located near the Bryant Park area of Kodaikanal and is known for its homemade cakes and pastries. Potluck Cafe also serves a variety of local snacks and has a great selection of coffee and tea. The ambiance is warm and welcoming, with comfortable seating and colorful decor.
- Hotel Kurinji
Located in the heart of Kodaikanal, Hotel Kurinji is a popular restaurant that serves a variety of local and international dishes. The restaurant is known for its delicious biryani and Indian curries. Hotel Kurinji also has a rooftop seating area with beautiful views of the town.
- The Royal Cafe
The Royal Cafe is a popular restaurant located near Kodaikanal Lake. The restaurant is known for its delicious local food, including dosas, idlis, and biryani. The ambiance is cozy and welcoming, with comfortable seating and colorful decor.
- Altaf Cafe
Altaf Cafe is a small food joint located in the bustling Anna Salai area of Kodaikanal. The food joint is known for its delicious rolls, including the popular egg roll and chicken roll. Altaf Cafe also serves a variety of local snacks and has a great selection of tea.
Tips for Exploring Local Food in Kodaikanal
Here are some tips and advice on how to make the most of your culinary exploration of Kodaikanal.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kodai for a culinary experience is between October and March when the weather is pleasant, and the food festivals are in full swing. During this time, you can indulge in the local delicacies and enjoy the cool weather while exploring the town.
Local Food Festivals
Kodai hosts several food festivals throughout the year, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the local cuisine.
The Pongal festival, celebrated in January, is one of the most popular festivals in the region. During this festival, locals prepare special dishes like Pongal, a sweet rice pudding, and Venn Pongal, a savory rice and lentil dish.
The Summer Festival, held in May, is another popular event in Kodai. During this festival, you can enjoy a range of local delicacies, including Kuzhi Paniyaram, a crispy rice and lentil dumpling, and Paruthi Paal, a sweet milk drink.
Etiquette to Follow When Dining
When dining at local restaurants in Kodai, it is essential to follow certain etiquette rules. Firstly, it is customary to wash your hands before and after a meal. Secondly, it is polite to eat with your right hand, as it is considered unclean to eat with your left hand. Also, try to avoid wasting food as it is considered disrespectful in Indian culture.
Suggestion to read: 10 Tips For A Memorable Trip To Kodaikanal
Kodai’s culinary culture is a reflection of the region’s rich history and diverse influences. The use of locally-sourced ingredients and traditional cooking techniques is an essential aspect of Kodai’s cuisine, which has led to the development of a unique and vibrant culinary culture. The region’s geographical location and cultural heritage have also contributed to the development of a diverse cuisine that is characterized by its use of wild greens and forest produce and influenced by neighboring regions such as Kerala and Karnataka. A visit to Kodai is a must for food enthusiasts to experience the unique and vibrant flavors of this hill station