Mesmerizing Mangalore; A Food Guide

Poondi
Poondi

I had always assumed Mangalore was known for its temples and beaches and definitely for its sumptuous array of sea food and was in for a wonderful surprise when I arrived here. Mangalore showed me it was way ahead of all my expectations and assumptions, a veritable gastronomic paradise.

Mangalore is a land of numerous beaches, temples, educational institutions, cultures, languages, amicable people and amazing food. The city is definitely urban with a growing number of Malls, junk food outlets, pubs, discs… But when it comes to tradition and culture, there is no other city to beat this one, in my books. The fervour and enthusiasm of the locals can be equalled by none. I witnessed many festivals including Dussehra, Janmashtami (Birthday of Lord Krishna), Diwali and Christmas.  These festivals are celebrated not just in homes but all over the city on fully lit roads with processions, stage shows and loads more. Mangalore truly rocks!

The city is home to the famous traditional dance ‘Yakshagana’. The annual Kadri Kambla, (the buffalo race conducted in the water filled paddy fields during Dec – Jan) and the Korikatta (cock-fight) are definitely a must see.

Being a coastal city the choices of sea food are abundant. The staple food here, available in most establishments, is the Fish Curry Meal. Head off to Narayana where several kinds of fish are available and is reputed to be one of the oldest and possibly the smallest hotel around. This place serves only fish curry and rice with a variety of fried fish to choose from. A plate of fish curry rice contains red boiled rice, fish curry (made mostly out of sardines in a coconut based gravy) a vegetable curry of the day (mostly Tendli/Gherkin or pumpkin) and a little pickle. After your meal has been served a server comes with a large plate of fried fish which has Anjal fry (popularly called King Fish or Seer Fish), Kane Fry (Lady Fish), Bangude Fry (Mackerel) and Pomfret Fry(occasionally). It’s a very simple deep fried fish that is dipped in a paste made of red-chilli powder and salt (of course Narayana adds some extra punch to it with a secret ingredient). The Anjal Fish has very few bones which makes it easier to eat. During the course of the meal you will be given a small glass of spicy Majige (buttermilk churned with green chillies and salt) to complete a perfect meal. Be prepared to over-eat here. Narayana is located at the Bunder (also Called State Bank Stop), the old Mangalore port area. The price of Anjal varies with the catch and the time of the year.  It is usually available between Rs 25 – 60 apiece. Fish is available in most restaurants as standard menu items like Rawa fry, Masala Fry, Naked Fry. King fish is considered a luxury whilst Mackerel is a staple.