Travel and Food

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” ~ James Michener

Travel and food – they go together for me.

Last October we had the pleasure of visiting a quiet little town called Kumily in Kerala, South India. While we stayed there because of its proximity to the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve, we enjoyed our walks through the little town too.  Whenever we visit a new place, José and I make it a point to sample the local food.  So the first evening there we went to look for tea and snacks and here’s what we found.

These were kind of familiar and can be found in different parts of India  – a bun with a sweet filling – called Dilkush (which in Hindi means ‘to make your heart happy’. However, what made these different was the filling – a lot more coconut – which I love!

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 These are Thennai kozhakattai a sweet dumpling dish made of rice, coconut, jaggery/ sugar. We also tasted a sweet rice cake called vattayappam. Both of these were steamed – so they were easy on the stomach and made a good evening snack.

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Food is our common ground, a universal experience. ~James Beard (1903-1985) – an American chef and food writer

In this case it’s the tea that makes it a universal experience! 😉  José relished a good strong cup of it, unlike the lighter variety we have at home.

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Here’s the  shop in all its glory – Irfana Coffee House and Cool Bar –  at Kulathumpalam in Kumily, with its proud owner Zakir Hussain. He was most gracious in letting us take these pictures.  Notice all the banana wafers and tapioca chips in the packets on the counter in front. Fried in coconut oil, these too are a specialty of Kerala.

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The next day we were lucky to go to a biryani  festival in the town. Now there are various kinds of biryanis that unique to different parts of India and we got a chance to try quite a few of them.  Thalaserri biryani, particular to a region in Kerala, was one we hadn’t sampled before. It was rich with the spices that grown in Kerala – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. I was certain I got the distinct flavor of rose water too.

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By venturing out of our hotel as we usually do, and sampling the local food, we get to interact with the local people and find out more about the place and culture.

Are you adventurous with food when you travel?

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I’m so glad to be the host of The Writer’s Post Thursday Blog Hop # 73. My prompt is rather long – but it’s open to interpretation.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” ~ James Michener

Do join in and add the link to your post here:



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21 Comments

  1. Lovely to be over at this blog Corinne, and to see both of you together. 🙂

    All the mouth watering delicacies…yumm…I can make out how you must have enjoyed yourself having those. It surely is fun to visit such places and get lost there – keeping everything aside – isn’t it? You made me feel like I need to go on one myself pretty soon. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Thanks, Harleena. As you might have noticed, Jose is slacking a bit with his posting – but he’ll get there slowly! 😉

      We absolutely loved the lazy town of Kumily. Hopefully next year, we’ll visit Rajasthan and you! And you – do take a holiday. 🙂

  2. Roshni

    I finally got around to visiting this blog!! Husband and I are also avid travelers and even though husband may be somewhat restricted because he’s a vegetarian, we definitely try to sample the local cuisine wherever we go!

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