Onam is the most popular festival of Kerala which marks the Malayali New Year. The ten-day festival is celebrated traditionally with boat races, tiger dances, mask dances, flower arrangements called Pookalam, display of Kerala style martial arts called Onathallu, dances by women and folk music and dance.
This harvest festival celebrates the home coming of mythical king Mahabali. Apart from the various other events, the big highlight is the Onam meal called Onam Sadya. It consists of as many as 24-28 items eaten on a banana leaf.
The main items served in Onam Sadya are Banana Chips, Yam Chips, Avial, Pachadi, Olan, Theeyal, Erissery, Pulissery, Thoran, Kuttu Curry, Sambar, Rasam, Spicy Buttermilk, Banana, Mango Pickle, Lime Pickle, Payasam and of course rice.
Traditionally the food is eaten by hands while sitting cross legged on the floor. However in restaurants, Onam meal has its own variations, so though the traditional Onam meal does not have Appam and Malabar Parantha, most restaurants serve it.
Restaurants in Ahmedabad serving an Onam meal
Dravida South Indian Restaurant, The Fern
This 5-star hotel has organised an Onam Food Festival which began on August 25, Ganesh Chaturthi day. It will continue till September 6. The food is served in a copper thali and katoris, lined with a banana leaf. The menu has 10 items and is served with rice, Appam, Parantha and Spiced Buttermilk. The Onam meal is available only for dinner and it is definitely an experience one should not miss.
Price for two: Rs. 1650 (inclusive of taxes)
This 20-year-old restaurant is run by a Keralite couple so Onam Sadya is right up their alley. The Onam meal will be offered here from 3rd - 6th September and the meal will have 23 items served on a banana leaf as it is traditionally done. The meal will have all the traditional items and it will be served with rice only as per tradition. The Onam Sadya here is reasonably priced and it is something one must try.
Price for two: Rs. 1000 (inclusive of taxes)
This newly opened restaurant at Bopal will have a four day long Onam Sadya served here. It will consist of 14 food items including rice, Appam and Parantha along with all the traditional food items and is very moderately priced at Rs. 250 only. Dravidian also has a Malayali cook and the food will be served on a banana leaf.
Price for two: Rs. 600 (inclusive of taxes)
A published author working on her second book, Sonal worked for many years as a journalist in The Indian Express, The Asian Age and DNA Newspaper where she regularly reviewed restaurants and wrote about food. She worked in Nairobi as a general manager of a group of restaurants in another era. She loves experimenting with food but is also known for her Biryanis and Kababs and even her baking skills. She likes travelling to little known places and if she finds quaint eateries it just makes the trip more fun. Currently based in Ahmedabad, she is happy with the growing awareness of gourmet food in the city.