Famous of Kanyakumarikanyakumari famous food


Kanyakumari is unique from other districts of Tamil Nadu – not only in terms of culture and heritage but food as well. While millets, groundnuts, and horse gram are staples in the rest of Tamil Nadu, coconut, rice, and seafood are ubiquitous to Kanyakumari. If you are planning to visit the district, here are a few famous foods you must not miss:

1. Parotta

I know parotta is a staple across Kerala and Tamil Nadu, but what makes it special in this district is the gravy that accompanies it. Chalna or salna is the common curry that’s sold with the parotta – this isn’t very different from other districts, except for the flavor that comes from adding pandan leaves to the curry. If you are looking for something zingy, we suggest chicken perattu. Unlike other curries that are cooked in onion and tomato, this slow-cooked chicken dish only uses coconut oil and a few spices. Chicken ularthiyathu is an equally popular accompaniment. A beef roast is another local favorite, but if you’re not a fan, we suggest mutton roast. Beef chili, a desi-Chinese-inspired dish that’s spicy but yummy.

Where To Buy

While there are many restaurants serving these (Google it), we suggest sampling them in one of the many thattukadais or street shops in Nagercoil.

2. Sarbat

Nannari or sarasaparilla is a medicinal herb that’s especially beneficial during the summer. It cools the body, purifies the blood, and provides relief from constipation. Nannari also has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The herb is used to make a sarbath or juice and is prepared by boiling the root with sugar to form a syrup. The syrup is then mixed with soda or plain water and lemon juice to make a refreshing drink during the summer. To make it interesting, you can add nungu (ice apple) or watermelon to the sarbath, although nungu is the more famous option.

Where To Buy

You will find plenty of ice apple sarbath stalls throughout the Thiruvananthapuram to Nagercoil highway.

3. Traditional Snacks

While murukku, mixture, and pakoda are popular snacks throughout Tamil Nadu, there are some staples you’ll rarely find anywhere else. Mundhiri kothu is a traditional sweet made using moong and jaggery and fried in coconut oil. Similarly, nendran chips or plantain chips are very popular and found throughout the year. Jackfruit chips are also popular, but only available for a few months. Pazham pori, a sweet snack made by stuffing poha (flattened rice) inside a ripe plantain. Susiyan or sugiyan is another sweet made using green gram and jaggery, and fried after dipping in a white flour batter.

Where To Buy

Ramalaxmi Sweet Stall near Tower Junction is the best place to buy chips, murukku, sweets, etc. As for pazham pori and sugiyan, they are found across all tea stalls in Nagercoil.

4. Seafood

You cannot visit Nagercoil and not try seafood. With a coastline of 71.5 kilometres, it is only natural that fish and crustaceans form a major part of the local diet. Unlike other districts, where onion and tomatoes are essential for fish curry, in Kanyakumari, coconut is an important ingredient in our dish. It’s either used as oil or to thicken the curry.

Where To Buy

Fish curries are popular in small thattukadais selling affordable lunches. Sekar Mess in Nagercoil sells seafood platters where you will be served fish curry along with fish fry. You could either choose a fish from their menu or opt for the catch of the day. Or, head to Kanyakumari to sample fresh fry at one of the many stalls set up in the evening.

5. Sadhya

Sadhya refers to a banquet and is typically served for festivals like Onam and Vishu. Not many know that Kanyakumari was once part of Kerala and is culturally close to the State than Tamil Nadu. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for a festive occasion to sample a Sadhya. There are many vegetarian restaurants that offer veg Sadhya. You could also opt for a non-veg Sadhya or non-veg meal that includes chicken, mutton, and seafood.

Where To Buy

Hotel Thazhakudy Neelakantan Mess in Nagercoil, Hotel Arya Bhavan, and Hotel Gowri Sankar are some famous restaurants serving authentic local food. But if you’re looking for the best restaurants in Kanyakumari, don’t miss our in-house restaurant.

famous food of kanyakumari

6. Kappa

Tapioca is another local favourite served with fish curry or a condiment made using green chillies, garlic, and salt. Tapioca chips are equally delicious and a great evening snack.

Where To Buy

You can buy kappa chips from Ramalexmi Sweets in Nagercoil. But every other snack shop in Kanyakumari sells them fresh. As for kappa and fish curry, Sekar’s Kitchen offers them for lunch. But they’re also available in small lunch homes across the city.

7. Bananas

Banana is a major crop in Kanyakumari and a staple in every local’s diet. In fact, this is one item you will find in every place – from pan shops and tea stalls to provision stores and fruit shops. There are dozens of banana varieties in Kanyakumari, some of which are found only in the city. For instance, matti pazham is a local variety that is exceptionally sweet and nutritious. Cen thuluvan or red banana tastes great and is known to boost immunity. Nendran pazham, or plantain is equally popular and loved for its taste. Some of the other varieties that you must try include – vellai thuzhuvan, kadali pazham, singa pazham, palayamkottai pazham, and morris.

Where To buy

You can buy bananas anywhere in Kanyakumari and not just in fruit shops. If you are looking to try all the above-mentioned varieties, head out to APTA Market in Vadasery.

8. Puttu

Just like in Kerala, puttu is a popular breakfast option and is served with a variety of side dishes. The most popular accompaniments include banana, sugar, and ghee. As you move towards the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, you will find puttu and kadala (Bengal gram) curry and even fish curry as accompaniments.

Where To Buy

Puttu is a breakfast option in many local hotels across the district. While there are many restaurants like Arya Bhavan and Gowri Shankar, they don’t serve puttu.

9. Rasa Vadai

This is a favourite teatime snack that’s a local favourite. In fact, rasa vada is also an accompaniment to puttu and idli. The dish is usually prepared by soaking lentil fritters in rasam, a peppery soup.

Where To Buy

Rasa vadai or rasam vada is sold in all famous hotels in Kanyakumari and across all teashops in the district.

10. Jilebi

This sweet is a little different from the North Indian jalebi. Unlike the traditional jalebi that’s round in shape, this South Indian sweet is spiral-shaped and is usually found during temple festivals. If you’re in Kanyakumari around November -December, don’t miss the stalls around Kottar that are set during the St. Xavier’s Festival.

Here are a few famous foods of Kanyakumari you mustn’t miss. And if you’re looking for affordable accommodation in Kanyakumari, visit us.