Think about having the tasty tapioca and river-fish dish or crab and clams of a toddy shop in Kerala. How enjoyable this would be if you are sitting on the paddy field’s causeway, and enjoying the breeze at the same time. The very thought itself will fill your mouth with water if you are a food lover, right? I am excited to introduce the Pullan Fish Fry of Hasthinapuri Toddy Shop to all my traveler friends who have been searching for some food varieties.
Oops… Eating Food at a Toddy Shop! Is that not an Idiotic Idea?
This was the attitude of most people, especially women travelers, towards a toddy shop until recently. In the olden days, a toddy shop was a place of tough people, where drunken idiots sing and boo, wrestle, and go home bare. So, ordinary people, especially women, perceived it as the wrong place to go. The result was that decent foodies had to lust after the toddy shops’ tasty dishes. Nevertheless, toddy shops have always been the hub of excellent recipes and a venue for food lovers. Anyhow, shops have changed their form for the last few years. They are now suitable for women and even kids who wish to enjoy the unique ‘toddy shop dishes.’ Some toddy shops even have family rooms and toilet facilities, and they have become a favorite place for many foodies. In this place, people from all walks of life dine.
Hasthinapuri: Is that in Kasaragod?
No, it is not in Kasaragod. It is situated in Kottayam, to be specific, at Puthuppally. The toddy shop is visible from the Thengana Puthuppally road. It stands amidst fields, coconut trees, and areca palms.
You need not use google map to reach there. You may lower the windowpane of your vehicle and ask the locals. Please do not expect a “Mullappanthal toddy shop” setup. However, the shop includes a grand hall for the “regular competitve customers” and some cottages for the decent ones and special guests. We should not bother the quality of the benches and desks. But I’m sure the food that arrives in front of you will be of top quality and taste. You might wonder why I admire this service. Of course, it has a specialty. Let me describe the grand ‘Pullan Fry,’ the unique dish of Hasthinapuri.
What is Pullan Fish Fry of Hasthinapuri?
The word ‘pullan’ derives from the word “pullu,” which means grass or refers to trivial or nasty things in the local language. But here ‘Pullan’ is a type of fish seen only in the Puthuppally banks of the Meenachilar river. This fish is not suitable for curry because of its terrible, countless bones. But surprisingly, on frying, the bones won’t disturb you. I reached the Hasthinapuri toddy shop after hearing about its famous ‘pullan dish.’
Mr. Varkey: The ‘Hard-hearted Cook’
A unique masala mix makes the pullan a unique item. The proper amount of vinegar and other ingredients make the fish bones edible and delicious on frying. Mr.Varkey is the inventor of this masala mix, who has been the cook in the shop for the past 23 years. I tried to spy the recipe, pretending to be friendly, but all in vain. He outsmarted me. What a hard-hearted man!.
A regular customer of the shop had told me that Hasthinapuri is the only shop where I could get the boneless and the tastiest Pullan fish fry. Admittedly, I hadn’t eaten pullan fish fry earlier from anywhere else.
On reaching the shop, I ordered some Pullan fry. Yes, my customer friend was right. It was incredibly delicious and also boneless. Two or three medium-sized, pepper sprinkled, lemon juice splashed fishes decorated with onions and carrots would arrive in front of you on a plate.
Other Dishes of Hasthinapuri
All the typical dishes of toddy shops are available here too. Appam, steam cake, tapioca, parotta, rice, etc., and curries such as pork, beef, and chicken and toddy shop specials like duck roast, clams meat, crushed dry meat, crab are included in the menu. Apart from the Pullan, other fishes like green chromide, prawns, bigfin reef squid, ribbon fish (locally known as vaala), fish head curry also will give you unique food experience.
This shop is a suitable place for people fed up with daily tastes. A trip to the Hasthinapuri toddy shop won’t disappoint you. The fantastic ambiance and the friendly people of the locality will also add to your pleasure. Eat plenty of Pullan Fry or whatever you like, drink if you want, and go home bellied.
Pullan Fry Rate: 120 Rs
Hasthinapuri Toddy Shop: 7356816003
Alcohol consumption is injurious to health.