Time was when the kitchen in every Malayali household was a beehive of activity as Onam approached. For, to serve the Onasadya (sumptuous lunch served on Onam day) meant that preparations had to start days ahead.
That, however, was before the television made it into the guestrooms and secured a more prominent position than the guests who turned up to take part in the festivities.
Now, Onam has become a holiday and with television channels roping in celebrities and telecasting back-to-back films to woo viewers, the kitchen is the last place anyone wants to be in on the day. That has translated into better business for hotels which are only too willing to spread those plantain leafs for the Malayalis who are ready to pay for the comfort and convenience of a ready-made Onasadya.
It was no different during this Onam either with major hotels in the city providing full course Onasadyas.
Bharat Tourist Home, one of the major hotels specialising in South Indian food, served sadya for the 30th consecutive year on Monday.
It offered the lunch complete with 23 curries for Rs. 250 per head. Customers were served two types of payasams – Palada and Pazhaprathaman — four types of chips and pickles among other things, said V.L. Shinoj, food and beverage manager of BTH.
Hotel Sarovaram near Vytilla served a 22-course sadya complete with Palada and Pazhaprathaman at its Nandanam Hall which has a capacity to seat 200 persons at a time.
“We have had chefs with years of experience in preparing sadya working overtime,” said K.R. Sooraj, the hotel's food and beverage manager.
Hotel Alapatt Regency at Palarivattom, which is relatively new in the field, rolled out the sadya for more than 200 persons for the second consecutive Onam.
H. Pinto, general manager of the hotel, said that the response was much better compared to last year.
As the guests just needed to show up before relishing the feast, no one was complaining about paying, at least not those with enough green wads in their wallet to spare.