We long to return to Kozhikode (Calicut). It’s alive and exciting. A bustling commercial town, it’s often referred to as Calicut because of the white, unbleached cotton called Calico that originated here. Textiles are still a part of the long-standing economy along with spices.
Vasco de Gama landed near here in 1498 and set up Kozhikode (pronounced more like Kho-le-kode) as a center for the spice trade. It’s also a major fishing port and has a reputation as a center for gastronomy in South India.
The cuisine here has a different flare than further south on the Malabar coast of Kerala. Here, you taste something known as Moplah cuisine. Arabic Muslims influenced Moplah (Mopla, Mappila) food. They arrived in Kerala in the seventh century C.E. to trade for spices. And, they stayed and married Keralan women.
Moplah food has a great variety of fish, meat and vegetable dishes. The fish from the Arabian Sea along the Malabar Coast is plentiful. Shellfish like stuffed mussels and fresh oysters tantalize. Favourite meat dishes include Mutton Stew and Biryanis. Pathiri, the local bread made of rice flour, is eaten plain or layered and stuffed on special occasions. Local cooks are deft with the plentiful spices.
We spent most of our time in Kozikhode cooking and eating. But, we did manage a little sight-seeing too. Read on for more of our favourite faces, places and plates from this fun stop on our road trip.
Where to Stay
We highly recommend The Taj Gateway Hotel. The team, food, garden, pool, and location deliver pure “Tajness.”
During this period of COVID-19, we are happy to offer our blog as a form of armchair travel. When it is safe to travel again, we sincerely hope you’ll venture forth and experience all these wonderful Faces, Places and Plates for yourself! – Karen and Pauli-Ann.
Thank you to the Taj Hotel group for hosting our stay in Kozhikode. Many thanks also to Indus Travel and Hi Tours for sponsoring our travel throughout South India in 2017.
All words and photos are our own and were not shared with the sponsors before publication.