Keralan Food from Kappa Stories, a Ghost Kitchen Concept in Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Although they had already existed prior to the pandemic, ghost kitchens rose in popularity during COVID-19. Now, you may be asking, what is a ghost kitchen? In short, ghost kitchens are concepts where one kitchen might be shared among chefs preparing any number of cuisines, specifically for take-out or delivery … in other words, no on-site dining space.

The key fact about ghost kitchens that eluded this food blogger was that they lack a dining area. So, when I was in Trivandrum (also known as Thiruvananthapuram), Kerala, India, scoping out the internets for a nice place to try local Keralan foods, I took Uber to a place called Kappa Stories, part of the Chilli Pepper Kitchens ghost kitchen concept.

Lo and behold, no dining tables:

chilli pepper kitchens signage
Visiting the Ghost Kitchen of Chilli Pepper Kitchens, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

In the case Chilli Pepper Kitchens, they offer three different “food choices:” Pan-East Asian at Samurai Hanzo’s, Pan-Indian at Khao, and local Keralan food at Kappa Stories; kappa, meaning tapioca in the Keralan language of Malayalam, is a very popular ingredient in the cuisine.

I wanted South Indian food, and I wanted as local as possible. I’m talking about coconut, tapioca, fish curry, and dried fried beef?

Really?

Thanks to the generally peaceful melding of Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism in Kerala, beef is a common addition to menus.

Fortunately, the COO of Chilli Pepper Kitchens, Mr. R. Swathi Krishnan, happened to be at the helm, assisting me translate “realllly spicy” to the chefs. When I told him that the Google Maps mentioned nothing about Kappa Stories being a ghost kitchen, he kindly drove me to Poojapura Roundabout so that I could eat seated at one of the park benches.

Keralan dinner Kappa Stories kitchen
A Delightful Mix of Flavors and Textures at Kappa Stories, Trivandrum, India

Want to dine with me? Check out my ad hoc review of Kappa Stories:

Kerala Set My Mouth on Fire, Part 1: The Fish Dish of Kovalam

After a 16-year hiatus, I revisited India, spending one week in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Although it sounds like a short trip, I was able to cram a lot of different meals into those days, spread out over three primary locations: Kovalam, Trivandrum (aka Thiruvananthapuram), and Kochi (aka Cochin).

south indian set meal
Truly One of the Best Fish Dishes I’ve Ever Tried, Kovalam, Kerala, India

Starting with Kovalam, a beach-centric suburb of Trivandrum in the southern part of the state of Kerala, one particular lunch was a feast; I can gladly say that it was one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever had, the bizarre presence of grape juice notwithstanding.

A typical South Indian set meal is called sadya (സദ്യ, in the predominant Kerala language of Malayalam), and is served with a variety of vegetable curries surrounding a heaping portion of white rice. You scoop it all up with your hands, and can even ask for refills!

If you’d like to see me embarrass myself struggling with the chilies while attempting to scoop up rice, check out the video below–

Although it’s much easier to find North Indian-influenced cuisine in the United States due to immigration patterns, I’d highly recommend seeking out sadya, or even try preparing one yourself … though banana leaves might be in short supply!

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