Calicut, newly dubbed Kozhikode, is north of Cochin.  It’s a predominantly muslim area, home to the Moplahs. 

I ate at the Paragon restaurant a couple times. 


*Once for lunch* where I enjoyed this thali which seemed pretty unique to me. It included a fantastic fish curry and fried bittergourd chips, around a fresh beet curry. 


With tasty greens, dal and a potato curry, this was a combination of food I’ve never seen before. 


I had it with the famous Kerala paratha, a crisp, chewy, tender, flaky bread. 


And a very handsome salad, too. 


Dessert was rice pudding. 

And *once for breakfast* with chicken stew in a creamy coconut sauce.


These appams were incredibly delicious! 


The edges were paper thin, and the base was deep and thick.  The flavor was truly sweet which complemented the savory chicken stew.  Paragon’s appams seem like a good reason to visit Calicut alone. 

Just across the street from the Paragon is Kumari, a shop specializing in sweets and fresh made banana chips. 


I bought a bag, handed over still warm.  Thin, but perfectly crisp, like the best potato chips you’ve ever had. Here’s the crew at work. 


The chips are peeled, sliced on a wood mandoline, soaked in brine.  You can see the various stages of chip production, with the fiery frying karhai back in the dark. 

At the Taj hotel chain’s Calicut branch is the Coral Reef restaurant.  I got early and listened to Burl Ives sing “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and an organ rendition of “Amazing Grace” before dinner was served. 

From the depths to the heights, though. 


Just about when this perfectly tender, masala-laden squid dish arrived so did the live tabla player. And a vocalist with a harmonium.  It was great.  I enjoyed this prawn biriyani all the more because of the amazingly graceful music. 


Not far from the beach is Zain’s Hotel. 


The sign in the photo is just about all the English you’ll find here.  Nor was there much Hindi, so if you visit you should have good non-verbal communication skills or know Malayalam. 


“Fish Biriyani” was spoken, and my server packed everything up for me to go.  I think I requested it to go at some point–just as well as I admit to feeling somewhat awkward about the scene.