If you love encountering new cuisines, meal times are likely to be a major highlight of your Kerala trip. The region has a complex culinary heritage, reflecting both its multi-ethnic makeup and the wealth of fresh ingredients available in its markets.

Vegetarians are particularly well catered for. Every restaurant, whether a simple ‘meals’ joint or a five-star bistro, offers a range of spicy stews and lentil-based dals, some mild and aromatic, others pungent and fiery. Meat and seafood also feature prominently, particularly in the dishes of the Syrian-Christian and Malabari Muslim communities. In the backwaters, ‘karimeen’ (a delicate, white fish called ‘pearlspot’) is often served steamed in banana leaves. The ultimate Malayali feast, however, is the ‘Onam Sadya’, prepared for the annual harvest festival.

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