When in Kerala, go naadan. That means head to the thattukadas that dot the main thoroughfares of the city, where you can find some of the best of Kerala cuisine. Tuck into plump dosas doused in coconut chutney, piping hot puttu with kadala curry, fluffy idiyappam and egg curry, porotta with ‘Trivandrum’ special chicken fry or chicken perattu or spicy beef chilli… you name it, they have it!
And, best of all, it is easy on the pocket! Most of these places open only after the city winds down and, generally, it is best to choose those that are always bustling with customers like the ones at Pattom, Manaveeyam, MG College and opposite the Raj Bhavan.
Shake it up
If you do not have the stomach for a heavy meal late at night, check out the many juice centres that serve up glassfuls of delicious cold treats. For fans of dairy, there is milk sarbath, a blend of milk and sarasaparilla root syrup sprinkled with basil seeds, the karikku shake a.k.a. tender coconut milkshake, and Sharjah shake, a flavourful banana-nut milkshake customisable with all manner of dry fruits.
Then there are the pure ones — local lingo for freshly blended fruit juice. Pure hot favourites include shamam (cantaloupe melon), pomegranate, chikoo, and, lately, dragon fruit. Once again, follow the crowd. Our favourite late-night juice shops in the city are at Attakulangara (Buhari), Sreekanteswaram (Aiswarya) and Pattom (Team), among others. While we are talking about beverages, Booster Chaya at Kuravankonam with its ‘artisanal’ tea and coffee is another must try.
Mmm.. for momo
These cute little moon-shaped dumplings are a relatively newer addition to the late night food scene here but have quickly become a fan favourite. They are made of flour (usually maida) and filled with all manner of vegetarian and non-vegetarian and even exotic (chocolate anyone?) fillings and are dished up either steamed or fried. Dip them in the accompanying sauces — typically, garlicky mayonnaise and chilli-tomato chutney — and you are guaranteed a trip to foodie heaven.
Look for momos that are freshly made to order such as Rumu’s food cart near MG College and the ones coated with spicy sauces at Big Belly Momos outlets and ChaiBogie at Golf Links.
Yep! We do international cuisine too! This Arabic-style wrap of scrumptiousness is filled with grilled, thin cuts of meat and vegetables, dollops of dressing (the more authentic ones have tahini, toum and the like, but most stick to garlic mayo) and some even have a few French fries stuffed into them. There are Istanbul versions, Lebanese, Iranian, Mexican and what not.
Most shawarmas come with a pickled green chilli and a few slices of pickled carrots and/or cucumbers. The idea is to savour a mouthful of shawarma and then take a bite of the pickled veggies to get that kick. Eat. Repeat.
Favourites on foodie lists include Turkish Ottoman, Istanbul and Al Taza at Kuravankonam, Shawarmigos on Udarasiromani Road and Wrap a Loop takeaway at Plamoodu, to name just a few.