Calicut, also known as Kozhikode, is one of the major cities in Kerala. It was the capital of Malabar region during the rule of the Zamorins before the Arabs, Phoenicians, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese and British came in. It was famous as a spice trading center and till today, it is a gourmand’s haven.
You can’t visit Calicut without trying out the local cuisine here. There is a strong Arab influence on the local cuisine of Calicut, creating a delightful fusion of spicy dishes. The Arab influence is more obvious in the rich non-vegetarian curries that are cooked slowly for the perfect flavor.
Kozhikode is famous for its sweet dessert called the Kozhikode ‘Halwa’. It’s a thick translucent dark-colored dessert made of white flour, palm jaggery and coconut oil cooked over a long period of time. The result is a gelatinous mass that is sold in big square chunks. While the dark brown halwa uses jaggery, the orange and yellow varieties use sugar. They are all flavored with cardamom and garnished with nuts and taste of an awesome burst of unforgettable flavor! Almost every shop sells this sweetmeat in Kozhikode.
The mildly spicy Kozhikode (Malabar) ‘Biriyani’ is another dish you must try. It’s made of flaky rice cooked with tender mutton or chicken gravy. The awesome taste lingers on the tongue for a long while. Other non-vegetarian dishes you must try out include the ‘Alisa’ which is made of husked wheat cooked with chicken. Mussels are a favorite here and there is a delicacy called ‘Arikadaka’ which is worth trying out. It’s made of rice flour cooked with mussels in their shells.
For vegetarian fare, there is the famous ‘Sadya’. This is a full-fledged feast consisting of rice, sambhar, rasam, pickles, pappadams and 7 different side-dishes bursting with flavor. This hearty meal fit for a king is rounded off with a delicious dessert known as ‘payasam’. For non-vegetarians, there is an additional dish of a fish curry or chicken curry.
Being a coastal city, there are a variety of fresh seafood dishes that are worth every mouthful. You could have any of these local spicy dishes with the paper thin ‘pathiris’ that are shaped like chapattis but made of finely ground rice powder.
One of the best places to try out these wonderful dishes is at the Raviz Calicut hotel. This is not just a business and leisure hotel, but also a gourmand’s delight with its four restaurants – Keraleeyam, Zirkon, Pergola and Mavoor offering taste bud-tickling cuisine.
This hotel is just 29km from the airport and 3km from the railway station, making it an ideal place to stay in.