'Eri-pori' spicy local cuisines and curries prepared in Kerala's toddy shops or 'shaaps' have always had a massive fan club of their own. Even when many people raise questions on how healthy the food in these joints is, connoisseurs of this cuisine conveniently forget it all to enjoy the spread offered by shaaps.
The Kilikkoodu Shaap in Kumarakom, a much-loved toddy joint that's 16 km away from Kottayam, has been a fan favourite for more than 10 years. What's more, foodies love its open kitchen, scenic ambience and reasonably priced items.
The delicious long list of items
Checking out their awesome kitchen in itself will make you want to taste all their dishes, throwing any kind of caution to the wind. You might also find it hard to decide what to eat because there are many tasty options like duck, crab, rabbit, buffalo, pork, chicken, roasted murrel, shrimp, clam roast, and fish head curry.
And then comes the king of dishes -- the roasted pearl spot (Karimeen Pollichathu). The guests who visit here often testify that the taste of the pearl spot here, which is roasted with spices in the banana leaf, is unique and exquisite. The shaap's amazing seafood dishes taste the best with appam and local tapioca, though many opt for porotta also. When duck mappas is paired appam, it offers a tough competition for roasted pearl spot for the top choice of customers.
The seating arrangement
A lot of people come to this shop to get a taste of Kuttanad. There are small huts here where the visitors can comfortably seat themselves and eat. Toddy shops like these, which were earlier exclusively men's spaces, are now well-packed at noon and afternoon as families have taken over.
Regardless, the breeze from Vembanad Lake here would blow off the heat of the rush. Listening to the rustle of the wind, you can enjoy the delicacies of the shop one by one.
How to reach
From Kottayam, take the Kottayam – Kumarakom Road and after about 10 km, take the Kumarakom – Attipeedika Road. At the Market Road Junction, turn left onto State Highway 42 and your destination will be on the right, in about 3.5 km. The tourist spots like Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Malarikkal are quite close by to the 'shaap.'