Mullapanthal toddy shop Kochi is one of Kerala’s most popular toddy shops. Located in Tripunithura, Kochi, Mullapanthal (sometimes spelt Mullapandhal) is the top name that comes to mind when one thinks of toddy shops.
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What is Toddy?
Toddy (known as ‘kallu‘ in Malayalam) is a local alcoholic beverage tapped from coconut palms in Kerala.
The white liquid that collects initially is very sweet and non-alcoholic. The liquid begins fermenting almost immediately after collection, and within hours, it yields an aromatic wine of up to 4% alcohol content, mildly intoxicating and sweet.
When fermented longer, a stronger, more sour version is produced, which is drunk by the locals (units usually measured in pots).
What is a Toddy Shop?
A Toddy shop is akin to a bar – a (typically dingy) drinking establishment where toddy is served along with food.
The ambience in a Toddy shop is down to earth (read: pretty basic. I mean essential. Just a few benches and desks for furniture, a thatched roof, no flooring) and noisy (with a chance of brawls – especially after a few pots have been downed).
In Kerala, toddy has always been a commoner’s drink, and Toddy shops were only frequented by males who wanted an evening drink (or, should I say, evening pots).
But, of late, people of all backgrounds and families have been flocking to Toddy shops primarily thanks to the tasty food served in these (usually dingy) outlets.
Mullapanthal Toddy Shop Kochi
Mulla translates to Jasmine and panthal to shed in Malayalam, the local language. The place gets its name from a jasmine canopy that covers its entrance. Mullapanthal is a toddy shop near me, and I got a chance to visit this place when my friends came over to Kochi. Here’s how it went:
“Can we go to Mullapanthal?”: My friend from Kozhikode (Calicut) asks me.
Sitting at the Grand Hotel in Cochin – a heritage hotel known for its traditional Kerala food – around lunchtime, this refined friend asks me if I could take him to a local toddy shop.
Except it isn’t. Not at all.
How many toddy shops do you know have a 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor?
Tell me about a toddy shop with a website that can be located easily using Google maps.
Mullapanthal is a different kind of toddy shop – the famous kind. The ‘serves-food-to-die-for’ kind.
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, a toddy shop isn’t a place a decent bloke like you would want to be seen, let alone photographed.
So if my sophisticated friend from Kozhikode chose a toddy shop over a heritage hotel for lunch, there must be something about this place.
I do not know how or when Mullapanthal shot to fame, but it is a name that keeps popping up whenever someone talks of ‘nadan‘ (local) Kerala food.
I’d never been there myself, and I thought my friend’s request gave me a good reason to understand it first-hand finally. So off we went to Mullapanthal!
Mullapanthal toddy shop menu
We got to the place – a rather colourful, tiled building – and waited for a private cubicle to be free to get seated.
As soon as we sat, a burly waiter showed up and took our order, including Karimeen Pollichathu, fish curry, fish thala (head) curry (!), kappa (baked tapioca), puttu, fried shellfish and squid. (Kappa and Fish Thala curry are extremely popular here – make sure you order these if you ever visit Mullapanthal)
The table had a dirty sieve which we figured was to filter out impurities (ants, flies etc.) from the toddy.
It is mandatory to order kallu along with the food here, but a word of caution here: Fermented toddy is not for everyone – the sour taste and smell could be unbearable for some.
While waiting for our food, we saw a steady stream of customers coming in.
Among them were families (no children), a group of ladies and foreigners.
Finally, our food showed up – the show’s star was the fish head curry.
Look at the ferocious fish head – even if you are an ‘I-would-eat-anything-that-doesn’t-bite-back’ kind of person, you would think twice before digging in.
The visual impact this dish had on us was so incredible that we spent the next few minutes clicking images of the plate from various angles.
The puttu was super soft, and the kappa was delicious. On the other hand, the fish curry was so hot and potent that it could launch a man into space.
Delicious, but not for the weak-bellied. (Food served with toddy is usually very spicy and hot with chillies, so this didn’t surprise us).
We laboured on for the next forty-five minutes ordering more kappa and puttu to tone down the spiciness, but I could understand why Mullapanthal was so famous for its food at the end of the meal.
The best part? – the bill did not require us to loosen our purse strings much. It is not a place I would go to often, but something I wanted to experience at least once in my life.
So now I can say: “Mullapanthal? Been there, done that!”.
Mullapanthal toddy shop Kochi Contact details:
- Mullapanthal toddy shop location: MLA Road, Udayamperoor, Thrippunithura, Kochi, Kerala 682307
- Mullapanthal toddy shop contact number: 0484 279 1227
So, have you been to this place? What did you eat? Any good?