Raj Kalesh needs no introduction to Malayalam television audiences. After exploring the tastes of Kerala with his cookery-cum-travel show, ‘Taste of Kerala’ on Amrita TV for five years, this livewire anchor has been globetrotting for over a year now, again in search of delicacies from across the world, on ‘Foodpath’. The show is aired on Asianet (Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 7 a.m.), Asianet Plus (Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m.) and Asianet Middle East (Thursdays and Fridays, 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.). Excerpts from an interview with the anchor…
The food trail
It is a wider canvas now, since we are travelling to different countries, learning about the culture and food of the land. The team has just two of us – myself and Amar Jith Lal, who is the producer and cameraman. We started off with the Neil Island in Andaman-Nicobar, then went to Dubai, Oman, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand and Austria. The forthcoming episodes feature our travels to Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Vatican.
Whole new experience
Some of the journeys have been really memorable. Neil Island tops the list. It is such a pristine land populated mostly by Bengalis. But we did meet a Malayali there, in fact the only one on the island – Dileep, a native of Kilimanoor, who is the panchayat president. An energising trip was the one to Naples in Italy. It is known as the birth place of the pizza. We went to many pizzerias that are actually run by the owners from their homes. There we met Antonio, who calls himself Antonio Indiana. He has given a Malayali touch to the décor. He has been to Kerala once, that too during an Onam season. He loves our State and he believes it is always Onam in Kerala!
Of course, no food can beat ours when it comes to variety in terms of taste. In most places, the basic taste is the same, be it Thai or African. Here, our avial is totally different from pulissery which is totally different from chenakkadi!
A real challenge
Tasting dog meat and worms in Nagaland. Well, both were quite tasty! The soup made from dog meat is considered best for Naga women soon after giving birth. We ate different kinds of worms. The silk worms were the delicious of the lot. The Naga people mostly eat boiled food, be it worms, meat or fish. No oil is used, a reason why they are very healthy.
Meeting Prince Pallikkunnel from Malappuram in Austria! He runs a supermarket in Vienna, with his two brothers, Siju and Sirosh. This shop has food items from 120 countries in the world. He has been doing a lot of charity through the church and has built homes for the needy in Indore, Ghana and Peru. He sponsored hearing aids for 100 children in Malappuram. Of the lot, 29 were distributed to children of Maria Nilay Help Centre, Adimalathura, near Chovvara in the capital city. Since he couldn’t come down, I handed over the same to these children. I am happy that I could be part of such a noble initiative, all thanks to ‘Foodpath’.