There are lot of people who have asked me, and keep asking me which are the best places for food at Kannur. So, I have just decided to jot down a few of them, according to the style and variety. Not like the conventional blogs that I write, so most of my regular readers might just find it a tad boring, so please bear with me.
The regular Kerala fish curry meals
For those who are in for the regular lunch, you should not be missing Oden Hotel at Onden Road. This place is nothing out of the ordinary, it is just like the numerous ordinary hotels that you may find anywhere in Kerala. But nothing beats them for taste, especially the fish and fry varieties.
Once you are seated on the table, the waiter would showcase on his tray, the day’s variety of Prawns, Mussels, King Fish, crabs et al that would generate enough precipitation in your mouth for ships to float. Anyone who would have come with a preset notion to have only rice, without any side dishes, would lose his control at this sight, and attack a plate he chooses from the tray.
On normal days, it would be extremely difficult for you to get a seat if you go there during lunch time. It’s a struggle, and you’d have to take the chance of waiting behind the people already seated, so that the moment they get up, you can engage it. This happens every day, Monday to Saturday, afternoon 1 PM to 2:30 PM. In this game of musical chairs, there is moderate success for those, who go in alone for lunch, as there might be single seats empty in one of the corners.
Those who know the intricacy to get through this crowd, like me, would be there between 12:30 PM and 12:45 PM, maybe that’s the best time you could catch a seat there without being troubled. It’s that time before the crowd starts to build, and maybe the only time when there are empty seats all round.
For the hard-core lover of Chinese specials
There are only 2 options I can give you for this – Chifonetsand Cabane Bambou.
Habitual foodies need no introduction to both these taverns. They have their own specials. If for Chifonetsthey’ve the Chicken Lollypop, there is the Pepper Shredded Chicken at Cabane Bambou.
Again, parking space would be a concern, as Chifonets is located right inside the market, and Cabane in the Cantonment area, but regulars like me always find a way out – takeaway.
Yes, it would be crowded on most days for a better part of the day, and if you’re ready to wait for some time, you would taste some of the best Chinese dishes that you can get in this part of the world.
There is for Shawarma and all other Arabic stuff – The CitaPaniat Payyambalam.
Now, on this, I had written a full-fledged article some time ago, on how after coming back from UAE, I was running helter-skelter for looking for Shawarma that matches the taste and quality of the ones I used to get back in Sharjah during my school days.
CitaPani is the one and only answer, and after its renovation and expansion, has a lot of space to accommodate all.
Parking is never a problem, as there is sufficient space on both sides of the road from Sree Narayana Park to Cantonment. Now that Savoy Bar is shut down and the old Sangeetha Theatre is brought down, you can have all the space in this part of Kannur. So in case, in the evenings you’re having a tough choice deciding between Arabic and Chinese and there is no way you can accommodate your car elsewhere, this is the place to go.
It would be a great miss for anyone in Kannur if he goes without having the famous Thalassery Biriyani. For that, you have the RaRaAvis at Caltex Junction.
Although a hotel that is a mix bag of Indian, Chinese and traditional dishes, I personally go there only for the Biriyani. Split into three separate sections, you have the choice of being seated in the ordinary one, or one of the two AC sections, which are almost like separate hotels. But the food comes from the same kitchen. For those who don’t know this yet, though this is located in the busiest part of the town, there is ample parking space behind the building.
Another focal point for Biriyani at Kannur is Hotel Soft. This small joint is located next to City Centre at the Plaza Junction. You can always park your car elsewhere, compete your shopping and be here in time for lunch. Always crowded, the service is fast and those who think it’s small and cramped from outside, wait till you get in, and they guide you past the kitchen, upstairs for the colossal space ahead of you.
Sorry dudes, for all you veggies out there, guess Kannur is not the right place for you. All the Vadas’, Curd Rice and Masala Dosas’ usually have tough time surviving here.
Nevertheless, you have Vaishnave behind JS Paul Junction, and the good old Aquarius near the Old Bus Stand to beat your desire for good, decent South Indian vegetarian specials.
For the odd tea, snacks and Falooda
For the oldies, there is always the Indian Coffee House, and for the campus dudes, there is Apoos and Iceberg at the Stadium and Yummy Hut at Fort Road. Apoos and Iceberg were my favourites during college days; there was no much choice then. Even in these days, they remain the best places to chill out. For me, even now, a day does not pass by without having the regular tea and mutton cutlet from the ICH at Plaza Junction.
Being Kannur chaps by birth and conduct, and having knowledge of the place like the back of my hand, these are the best places I could identify with. Taste buds may differ, but from my experience of being here and seeing it all, most of us do end up at these places mentioned most of the times.
For most people, Kannur is notorious for its violent and aggressive politics. But what they don’t know is that we have a long and popular tradition of hospitality, warmth and friendliness. We have the most lovable people, the tastiest food, and the best climate in the country. Those who have experienced it once keep coming back for more. Others who have tasted life here, keeps those reminiscences in his or her self for the remaining part of their verve.
Like somebody said, the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And that is, the way we capture people’s hearts.