A Look Inside India’s Almost-Mythical Toddy Shops
Toddy shops are small, family-run restaurants in which the region’s local liquor is sold, and Mullapanthal is one of Kerala’s most beloved. The state boasts high literacy rates, winding rivers with houseboats, and relative tranquility, compared to the more chaotic north. In the Indian popular imagination, it’s known as “God’s Own Country.” Toddy shops, in turn, have a mythic reputation.
“My grandparents met at a toddy shop,” one of my friends told me. “When you order, they get the fish that instant, from the river,” said another. “Fried Fish. Fried Mussels. All the beef you can eat,” read a text from a different friend. In my head, these were small cottages in which locals streamed in nonchalantly, where the perfect expression of Kerala’s famed cuisine could be found.