Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Calicut Brand of Food

It’s said that the evolution of any great food is a give and take process amongst the cultures that the place has been exposed to. The Calicut brand of food vouches for this as every food served here would tell you the cosmopolitan history of Calicut- the Arab, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Along with the export of the ‘spicy spices’, culinary likes and dislikes were also imported. The Biriyani, Appam, the range of diverse Kerala breakfasts, the Mappila snacks, the of-late shakes/sheiks are all products of this cultural give and take.  Not to mention, the cultural openness of Calicut is not just limited to its food, but also extends to its people.
Hari Menon titles his article in Outlook Traveler Oh ! Calicut which shares the same spirit  .
Though 'Calicut Food’ may not classify itself as an approved category within the culinary taxonomy, it is becoming a fast evolving brand. Interestingly, it’s not just about food. The Calicut Food brand has evolved to be much beyond food.  It’s about its people, the way they perceive food, their language, their stories, it's rebellious ‘new generation’ and much more.
Apparently, it’s about the wide range of Mappila and Thiyya food and food joints.However, it has much more to it.
In December 2006,when the whole of South East Asia was running away from the beaches, not to be hit by Tsunami, some hard core foodies of Calicut were found headed towards the beach to have their last ‘Beef Biriyani’ from Rahmath (A hotel in Calicut popular for its Beef Biriyani). They best describe the foodies of Calicut  and are the major contributors to the brand.

The Calicut brand is a also about the curious non-Calicut Keralites whom I over hear quite often, pointing at an old restaurant, referring to it as the original ‘Ustad Hotel’. (Ustad Hotel is a box office super hit Malayalam movie, revolving around a Malabar hotel and its food culture)
Wait a moment, it’s also about the local people who would step into one of those mushrooming coffee joints, and confidently order Lasagna.  Don’t be surprised if you are served hot Lasagna or a Bruschetta in Calicut, matching global standards. Not to mention the best in the world cakes, inheriting the baking history of North Malabar.
For Calicut, which never had a place in the tourism map, its food is bringing people in. The Calicut brand is equally being exported as well.
Here are some snaps taken from Cochin International Airport, where the brand does the trick for them.


Calicut Biriyani

Malabar food

Calicut Food Culture

Calicut Food Culture Politics


  1. Thank you for sending the post. I loved it. I remember going to 6th Avenue and being so impressed with the quality of the Western food--it was much better than what we have in Canada!

  2. Loved the post. Never been to Adam's Tea shop. Will go next time. Thanks for the post.