Kavalam's Rajapuram toddy shop: A two-decade legacy of authentic Kerala culinary bliss

Rajapuram Family Restaurant and Toddy Parlour
Photo: Facebook/Rajapuram Family Restaurant and Toddy Parlour

The authentic toddy shops in Kerala are not just known for the locally tapped indigenous toddy drink but also for the delicious food that is served here. Shaap or local toddy bars are one of the prominent features of the picturesque countryside of Kerala. Often situated on the banks of the backwaters or lakes, various dishes cooked with freshwater fish are the main items on their menu. Enjoying mouthwatering food and refreshing toddy while watching the beautiful views of nature is indeed a unique experience.

The Rajapuram toddy shop is at Kavalam where freshwater fish is available in abundance. The toddy bar stands on the strip of land between the Kavalam River which is a tributary of the Pamba River and the Rajapuram Lake. The delicious food is what lures both natives and tourists to this famous shaap. Here, you could enjoy a variety of fish dishes cooked in the authentic Kerala style. Varal (snakehead), pearl spot, kaari (catfish) and koori (trout) are the main fish varieties that are served here. You could have them fried, roasted in spicy masala mix or enjoyed as delicious curries.

Popular combos

Steamed yam and colocasia are available at the Rajapuram toddy shop to be enjoyed with various fish and meat curries. Besides, boiled tapioca is the all-time favourite here. If you are interested in trying something classic, then do not hesitate to order sweet and soft palappam, tasty kallapam or hot and flaky porotta. The curries taste spectacular as they are prepared mostly using freshly caught fish.

Photo: Facebook/Rajapuram Family Restaurant and Toddy Parlour

Fish head curry, manja koori (yellow catfish) curry, roasted and fried shrimp, roasted squid, roasted pearl spot, roasted and fried snakehead, roasted catfish, fried kozhuva (orange chromide) and anchovies, morassu (needle fish) and crab, nanku (sole dover) and pearl spot vattichathu (cooked in spicy coconut and tamarind gravy are some of the main fish items here. Besides, you could also try their iconic local chicken curry, fried chicken, duck roast and mappas (duck meat cooked in coconut milk gravy), rabbit meat, beef roast and pork items too.

Photo: Facebook/Rajapuram Family Restaurant and Toddy Parlour

Family spot

The lunch service is the busiest hours at the Rajapuram toddy shop. Families throng this place to enjoy the delicious food and amazing vibes. On holidays, you would get a table only after waiting for a few hours as people crowd this place to try their delectable dishes.

Interestingly, the toddy shop functions in a double-storied traditional kettuvallam (houseboat). The houseboat sways gently as the water moves. Those who have been to Rajapuram toddy shop vouches for this spectacular experience.

Photo: iStock/Jogy Abraham, Facebook/Facebook/Rajapuram Family Restaurant and Toddy Parlour

The journey to the Rajapuram shaap is quite interesting too. You need to cross the lake from the boat jetty near the Kavalam Lisieux Church. The boat ride, enjoying the cool breeze that flows from the lake and the scintillating greenery is just a prelude to the mouthwatering dishes and sights that await you at the Rajapuram toddy shop.

The most amazing fact about Rajapuram shaap is that all the dishes have tasted the same or even better since the last two decades. Omanakuttan who is the main cook here deserves the credit for maintaining the great quality and taste of the dishes. Even though he has many assistants to help him with the preparations, the cooking part is exclusively handled by Omanakuttan. Authentic dishes are freshly prepared without adding any artificial preservatives or taste enhancers. Moreover, they aren’t ready to compromise on the quality of the food. The affordable rates make Rajapuram a perfect holiday eat out where you could enjoy delicious and hearty meals without burning a hole in the pocket.  

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