Thengai Sadam To Avial: Top 8 Famous Foods Of Kanyakumari
Image Credit: By Samphotography - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Formerly known as Cape Comorin, Kanyakumari is a culinary gem tucked away between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Although Kanyakumari is geographically situated in Tamil Nadu, its cuisine incorporates elements from both states, resulting in a host of diverse and one-of-a-kind dishes. These dishes include the iconic avial, which is a coconut and vegetable-based dish that is also famous in Kerala. Coconut as well as rice are staples of Kanyakumari cuisine, so dishes like avial are easily available throughout the district.

Drop by the Udupi International Restaurant for authentic Kanyakumari fare, including avial and other pure vegetarian delicacies. Being located on the coast, Kanyakumari cuisine is also dominant in seafood, with fresh catch being used directly from the sea to prepare the district’s seafood specialties, which include a variation of fish curry that will be covered in detail below. Apart from seafood, coconut, and rice, tapioca is also a fixture of Kanyakumari cuisine; it is typically enjoyed as a snack or as an accompaniment with other dishes.

Here’s a list of the top 8 famous foods of Kanyakumari.


Avial is ubiquitous throughout Kanyakumari, as it is not only easy to make at home but also serves as a comfort food. An enticing vegetarian option, the dish is prepared by cooking a plethora of vegetables with coconut and simple spices. Avial is best enjoyed as an accompaniment to rice. As noted above, this dish is easily available throughout Kanyakumari. Specifically, the Udupi International Restaurant does offer this dish as well as a range of other local delicacies at budget-friendly prices.


Renowned throughout South India, Appam is a stronghold of Kanyakumari cuisine. This soft and fluffy pancake is prepared using fermented rice batter and coconut milk. Appam is traditionally eaten with a vegetable stew as well as other gravy-based dishes, such as chicken or mutton, making it highly versatile. Owing to its popularity and high demand, Appam is widely available throughout Kanyakumari, including at the Archana Restaurant, where two people can enjoy a meal for approximately ₹350.

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Meen Kulambu (Fish Curry)

Meen Kulambu is a variety of fish curry that is local to Kanyakumari. To prepare this appetising delicacy, fresh fish is cooked alongside coconut shavings or ground coconut. Occasionally, subject to availability, pieces of raw mango are also added to the dish to elevate its taste. You can indulge in this delicacy at an establishment known as Sekar’s Kitchen in Nagercoil, which is famous for its seafood platters as well as its offerings of fish curry and fried fish. A meal typically costs ₹250 for two people here.

Thengai Sadam (Coconut Rice)

Thengai Sadam is a special variation of rice wherein traditional white rice is given a kick of coconut to take its taste up a notch. To prepare this dish, fresh coconut shavings are blended with a series of ingredients, including mustard, cashews, asafoetida, chillies, and curry leaves. Some chefs also prefer to add broken papads to the rice to give it added flavour. This specialty can be found in local joints across the district, including the Curry Restaurant at the Gopinivas Grand Hotel.

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Minced Parotta

Parotta is a type of flatbread that is native to South Indian cuisine. Minced Parotta, also known as Kothu Parotta, takes the concept of the simple Parotta to another level by combing minced Parotta pieces with meats, such as chicken or egg. This concoction is subsequently fried with a special masala curry known as chalna, resulting in a distinctive and flavourful dish. Like coconut rice, this dish can also be enjoyed at the Curry Restaurant at the Gopinivas Grand Hotel.


Kappa, also known as cassava, is eaten as an accompaniment to fish curry. It is also occasionally used as a condiment or seasoning in fish curry occasionally. The fish curry, paired with boiled kappa and tamarind, makes for a delicious and multilayered dish. Similarly, Kappa or Tapioca chips are savoured as snacks across Kanyakumari. Ramalexmi Sweets in Nagercoil is famous for its Kappa chips, while the luscious Kappa and fish curry combination can be enjoyed at the aforementioned Sekar’s Kitchen.

Image Credits: By HPNadig - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

Rasa Vadai

Alongside Dosa and Idli, Rasa Vadai is perhaps the most popular offering of South Indian cuisine. The dish, also known as Nanjil Rasa Vadai, holds a significant place in Kanyakumari cuisine, where it is frequently devoured as a breakfast item. This delectable favourite is prepared by submerging masala vadais in piping hot rasam for hours. The finished dish is then topped off with coriander leaves and a generous helping of ghee to elevate its flavour. Several local hotels, including the Comorin Grand, as well as teashops, serve this delicacy.

Semiya Payasam

A popular sweet dish of Kanyakumari, Semiya Payasam is a type of pudding that is made using vermicelli, whole milk, and spices such as cardamom. Other ingredients, such as ghee, raisins, sugar, and nuts, are also used to infuse the dish with a sweet and crunchy flavour and texture. Jaggery can be used as a sugar substitute in this dish. This dish is served as a dessert in most local restaurants across Kanyakumari, including the establishments already mentioned in the article.