Dying Local Food: Globalisation Side-effect

by anil on March 14, 2008

Globalisation changed the way we live our lives. Especially for urban people. We welcome many of those changes and some of them were forcefully induced. Some crept into our culture without even we noticing it. Of which the most prominent one is our changing food culture.

America never had good breakfast. So they invented items like cereals. In India, there are plenty of options right from idly and dosa to puri and nan. Many of them are centuries old and simple. Besides these known items, each locality has its own dishes. You will notice it if you travel across India especially by road. You will notice differences even within a state–each locality has its own distinctive food culture. Compare this to the globalised food culture.

One attribute of globalisation is to make everything uniform across the globe. If you go to any McDonald’s in the world you will see the ordering counter in the same red and yellow which offers more or less the same menu. There is nothing wrong in that per se. But the inrush of such eateries are killing the traditional ones.

In Kerala, the chaya (tea) is made in a very special way and it requires skill to make it taste like that. Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to get Kerala tea in urban shops. You will either get tea from a vending machine or a “global tea” item from chains. Fresh lemon juice is another traditional drink in India and especially in South India. Now it is difficult to find a shop which will make you a fresh lime. Instead he will offer a ready-made lemon-tasting drink.

Not many people in this generation are bothered to learn cooking. And I’m afraid that it would be difficult to get some puttu, payaru, pappadam after a decade or so unless you or your spouse learn to prepare it.

I tell my friends to visit local eateries if they enjoy local food and help them sustain.

Local food vendors too need to do certain things from their side. They should make eateries look clean and tidy. A friendly dealing would be cool. These are some of the feel-good things everybody enjoys in a global eatery and the same can be provided at a traditional eatery as well (without incurring any additional expense!).

Here is a small list of eateries in and around Trivandrum and on the highway where you can enjoy local food:

1. Ramu’s, Gandhari Amman Coil road (near Pulimood), Trivandrum.
2. Buhari, East Fort, Trivandrum.
3. The no-name place opposite to Kazhakootam Police Station, Trivandrum.
4. The mutton joint near Vettu Road, NH47 (where you turn in to Sainik School), Trivandrum.
5. Brothers’, Alappuzha
6. Lekshmi, Cherthala (NH47).

There are numerous tea shops around the corner. Though not all of them offer full meals, still it is enjoyable to have a quick tea and snack there.

I would request my readers to write about the places they know in the comment column.


1. Harmful to local/conventional culture, threat of one-culture world.

2. Our children don’t learn anything from their mothers. The aroma of food is missing from our kitchen and above all, our kids don’t converge on the dining table.

3. Coca Cola find its biggest “competition”: indigenous drinks (such as tea and nimbu paani).


yeah very true! Anil, find a place who serves Bonji! will do a bonji ride next time in TVM (good idea for summer)

by jsr on March 14, 2008 at 11:21 am. #

I agree with what you say. No McDonalds burger or Pizzahut dough can deliver the satisfaction i get after munching down on some traditional nadan item like Puttu, appam along with some nice hot beef or mutton curry!!

A few local restaurants that serve some good dishes:

1) A noname eatery & parcel counter beside the ‘uppidamoodu paalam’s’ section that goes toward passport office. You won’t miss it it has a long when it’s open. Serves good chicken fry and beef fry.

2) A kappa and meen parlour opposite to Varma travels petrol bunk. It’s in a gully next to an old kalyanamandapam. Tastes good according to Jay! 20 bucks for some kappa and one mean curry and one piece fry.

by Crank on March 14, 2008 at 11:24 am. #

first things first.

Anil excellent topics in your Blog, I wish you should have been a writer rather than dealing with computers

Good idea of developing the ethnic eateries in Kerala.
Here are some of the list of local

1) Guruvayoor Appan Hotel (Gandhari Amman Kovil, Pulimood Tvm )
2) Mani’s Mess (3rd Puthen STreet , Inside east fort Tvm, Known for its homely lunch)
3) Shenoys hotel (as it is known ) Lekshminada , Kollam
4) Prabhus Cafe, (near of Old T D Temple ) , Alapuzha. This one is use by the high class society people of T D Medical College Allepy.

I will pen down more when i get time.

+47 46 87 87 35

by Nitish Kamath on March 15, 2008 at 12:04 pm. #

HI Anil

True to the core. But we should also do certain things for our generation to keep up the tradition. As you said nobody is bothered of learning how to cook these traditional items. To start with at home we should also always eat these traditional foods rather than corn flakes or other imported stuff. Breakfast from outside should be avoided if possible.

Ideally the household should have breakfast together which helps bonding the family.These traditional foods should be prepared for breakfast as well.



by Prasad on March 17, 2008 at 6:16 am. #

Good point, Anil.

If you look at the culinary culture (I am not sure about the usage), it reflects certain things. In my view, mostly it says a lot about the people and their lifestyle. Wherever you see a rich food heritage, you could see that these are handed over by those generation who were fortunate enough to enjoy the LEISURE TIME. When life gets faster and faster, you will have to compromise and food is one area where you have lots of time to cut down. Who has the time to enjoy a sadhya nowadays? If we could get back in time say 50 years, vow! They enjoyed their food!

Talking about fastfood, the first thing that comes to my mind is “Snappy” in Medical College. That was my first experience with fastfood. They had nice Chilly Chicken. I still remember, it was a feast-like atmosphere at our home on Sundays when Achan gives me money to get Chilly Chicken from Snappy. It was in Mediacl College – Pattom Rd. (I am suffering from some serious memory problem – I forgot the Roads’ name!)

Buhari and Paradise are good for mutton. But the best mutton is in Balaramapuram. Hotel Bismi.

There was a hotel in Chalai (Ketel Chicken )which gives you real tender chicken. I remember, the last time I ate there (about 5-6 yrs back, I guess) 3 of us clocked a bill of around Rs 500! They have a branch in Cochin as well. If my memory serves right, it was in Kaloor.

The best breakfast I ever had was in Murali Hotel, in Harippad. Ask anybody in Harippad where that hotel is, you will be directed right. Recently, I read in “Vanitha” about the Tea in Murali Hotel. It is a 3 Layered tea – The bottom layer is the tea, The mid layer is the froth and the top layer is the tea concentrate. They (Vanitha) claim it is one of a kind in the world! (You know Manorama guys!). I used to travel between EKM and TVM frequently and I cant remember a trip where I had not stopped by Murali hotel – (only twice – one was when I reached EKM within 2.5 Hours and the other was a Trichur TVM trip in 3 Hrs!)

The best Non veg Hotel in Kollam is Kings Hotel. This hotel is on the roadside (Right Side) just before you reach Kollam Rly stn. It wont open in early mornings – so dont plan to have your BF there.

“Karimpumkaala” toddy shop has one of the best foods – especially seafood. This is in Kottayam. So famous, you can start asking somebody about it from TVM itself!

Vallabha Hotel – just opp the Vallabha temple in Thiruvalla has really nice curries – “Kadala” curry as well as beef curry. Real hot spicy curries!

There was a thattukada just opp: Aida hotel in Kottayam. I used to have my dinner (if u can call that a dinner!) there while we were staying at Kottayam for Audit. Real nice food. They had “Mutton Brain” as well as “Kanava” – both are excellent.

In aleppey, I used to have food from different hotels. Surprisingly, none of them stood out – esp as you know that Aleppey has to have a lot of fish! May be I hadnt explored deep enough!

I like the fish curry from Al Saj, Kazhakuttam. Also, their mutton Biriyaani.

In Kazhakuttam, If you go towards TVM, on your right side (Opp to the sainik school Rd), there is hotel. Its a really small one. They have real good Mutton curry. Good Mutton Brain too.

Hotel Sagara – Opp TVM Club has a wide variety of Sea food. Nitholy peera vattichathu muthal angottu….

“Balante Kada” in Kaithamukku (I do not know about the quality now) was so famous for its chicken. I had to stand in 30 Mins queue to get my Parcel!

Hotel Chinnus in KD Puram is good if you plan to have your lunch. Its not exceptional, but reasonable.

There is a house in Kaithamukku which serves “home food” but it caters only to alimited number of customers a day. Dont ask me the name because I ve never been there, I have only second-hand knowledge.

There is a good hotel opp (Not directly opp, but kind of!) to the Siva temple in ….(I forgot the name of the place again ) – its midway to Kottakkaom and Uppidam moodu paalam.

For our evening sessions, we used to buy sea food from a hotel in Statue. The only thing I remember about that hotel is its in a “Mudukku” – not easy to find. Why I dont remebr it is simple – I ve been there only once. The rest of the time, it was somebody else who got us the “Parcel”. Real nice fish. We used to enjoy the “Neymeen Thala” real big ones!

I liked Dosai and Chammanthy from TVM Club. Its so nice.

Oh! Fort Kochi! I still remember, 4 of us or was it 5? We spent about Rs 3000 on a single meal there. In Fort Kochi, you will find lot of fish sellers catching fresh fish using their “Cheena Vala”. Its a total package. You can select the fish and ask them to cook for you in whatever style you need. I ve seen tourists coming there askign for Italian style or French Style – and god! – these guys cook really good. The total turnaround time is really surprising. From Sea to your plate is only 30-45 mins waiting! We had a real good time with lots of fish and of course, booze!

I am running out of my “enthu” Battery – meaning my enthusiasm is losing its team now. Will scribble later. No reviews and checks. So excuse my spellers and Grammar. See you later. Anil, keep it up!

by vijayakrishnan on March 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm. #

Well…you are right — local eateries are diminishing ! 10 years ago you used to get good kallu and sea food under the bakery junction climb to vazhuthacaud … and we used to know good thattukadas — but since those structures are not legal or permanent ..they diminish ! But i think legal and tasty entities seem to survive even now…example Bukhari,Paradise at East fort and a fish eatery nearby ! I think if good eateries are legalised it will survive!

by BT on March 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm. #

Hey Anil,
Stumbled on to your blog, god knows how.
All I remember is it was a friday night & I’d had a few too many (As Douglas Adams put it “A Mild Inability to Stand Up”) & was on the internet looking for Kerala food or recipes or something like that & ended up at your site?
Bit of a foodie myself. Reading through the responses did make me VERY nostalgic.
So thought I’ll add my two bit to the lot.
My take on Dying Local Food: sambar IS thicker than blood. Whatever part of India we belong to, Where evr in the world we are, whatever we eat to survive/blend ( cheerios/full english/fish & chips/frozen whale blubber) we will eat AT LEAST one traditional meal a day.
Hell! We even made the Russians eat aalu chole, carrot halva in space, courtesy the CFTRI Mysore. (Rakesh Sharma WAS a Punjabi)
As far as the list of good eateries in Trivandrum goes, there are quite few. So here’s my personal view (in no particular order):
Mubarak, Chalai
Vayalil, Vallakadavu & (? the road where all the electronics shops are)
Paradise, East Fort
Binoy’s (or is it Bijoy’s) opp RBI Kanava Thoran to die for!
There was also this Bar/Restaurant opposite St Mary’s School Pattom Good Meals esp after 1 beer there!!!!! Very Aalapuzha Style.
After having eaten there, both when sober & when plastered out of my skull I think Buhari is overrated. But their veg (potato) curry is good
Hmm! Vasantham Medical College Jn (Provided you are there at lunch time)
Funny! Nobody mentioned Sharmas near OverBridge O K so it is North Indian but hey! Saare Jahan Se Acha………..
NEVER EVER FORGET THE RAILWAY STATION VRR Good food + cheap & cheerful (Warms the cockles of me heart it does)
Kalavara Pulimoodu: Was there the first month they opened in 1987. Good consistent food. Their Chicken Makhanwala, Schzeuwan Chicken & Chopsuey tasted the same from 1987 till 2002.
Around Trivandrum:
Never had the chance to go to Bismi Balarampuram or Al Saj Kazhakuttam but my senior foodies have given them a 5 * rating.
On the way to Ponmudi as you turn right from Vithura there is a small place on the right side – good spicy food.
But the best one I’ve had doesn’t have a name (don’t know if it still exists). On the way from Punalur to Thenmala Dam small trucker’s joint on the right side. Ended up there with my friend fish fry to die for & fish curry; I thought I’d died & was in heaven. Mind you this was in 1998.
All these are memoirs of the time I had a brief attack of insanity (was on a diet)
Will add to my monologues later as & when the grey cells work!

by Shiv Kumar on October 17, 2009 at 4:21 am. #

Rahmania, Mubarak, Paradise, Buhari, and Balaramapuram Bismi

Kings Hotel , Hotel Bright of Kottiyam.

These are the best places in the world I rate to have food

by Jonappan on April 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm. #

wow.. this would be my bible for a long time.. am a local food fan.. try kulathoor ‘ashwathy’.. they serve good meals and its very cheap.. their tapioca is very good.. and wonder why noone mentioned about zam zam (palayam).. try chicken shawai when u go there.. mubarak fish and kethels chicken are both awesome..

by Deepak on April 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm. #

Homely food is all about love and care. Most of us can recall at least a few instances when the dinner table at home became something near heaven with the taste of food placed hot ‘n fresh straight from the kitchen. It was hands of love that served. That makes a huge difference. And local eateries come close to this experience as far as homely taste is concerned. When traveling the food that the local eateries offer often brings nostalgic memories of home. That I think is its real delight. Hope that local eateries outlive the onslaught of globalization.

by Bejoy Peter on December 12, 2010 at 7:43 pm. #

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