Kerala, a state in the southwestern part of India, is renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine that draws heavily from its rich cultural heritage, abundant natural resources, and the influence of foreign traders who left their mark on its culinary practices over the centuries. Here are ten of the best and most popular foods that you must try from Kerala:

  1. Kerala Sadya: A traditional vegetarian feast that is served on a banana leaf. It includes a variety of dishes such as rice, sambar, avial (a mixed vegetable curry), thoran (a coconut-based vegetable dish), payasam (a sweet dessert), and more.
  2. Appam with Stew: Appam is a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. It’s often served with stew, which can be made from chicken, mutton, or vegetables cooked in a coconut milk-based gravy.
  3. Puttu and Kadala Curry: Puttu is a cylindrical steamed rice cake that’s cooked with coconut shavings. It’s traditionally served with kadala curry, a spicy curry made from black chickpeas.
  4. Karimeen Pollichathu: This is a dish where pearl spot fish is marinated with a blend of spices, wrapped in banana leaves, and then grilled. It’s known for its rich flavor and the smokiness from the banana leaf wrapping.
  5. Malabar Parotta with Kerala Beef Curry: Malabar Parotta is a flaky, layered flatbread that’s an excellent accompaniment to Kerala beef curry, which is a spicy and flavorful curry made with beef, spices, and sometimes coconut pieces.
  6. Kerala Prawn Curry: Also known as Chemmeen Curry, this dish is made with prawns, coconut milk, and a variety of spices, offering a perfect balance of tanginess and spice.
  7. Palappam: A lace-rimmed pancake made with a batter of fermented rice and coconut milk, often served as a breakfast dish or with curries.
  8. Kerala Chicken Curry: A spicy and aromatic curry made with chicken, coconut milk, and a variety of spices. It’s a staple dish in Kerala cuisine and pairs well with rice or any bread.
  9. Erissery: A traditional Kerala dish made from pumpkin and black-eyed peas, spiced with green chilies, ground coconut, and mustard seeds. It’s a common part of the Sadya menu.
  10. Payasam: A sweet dessert made from rice, vermicelli, or lentils, cooked with milk and sugar, and flavored with spices like cardamom and nuts. There are many varieties, including Pal Payasam (made with rice and milk) and Ada Pradhaman (made with rice ada and jaggery).

Each of these dishes offers a unique taste and experience, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of Kerala. Whether you’re enjoying the vegetarian bounty of a Sadya or savoring the flavors of seafood and meat specialties, Kerala’s cuisine is sure to leave an indelible mark on your palate.