Day three in Kerala continued that afternoon and evening as my friend and guide Ebbin and I continued exploring the stunning and world-famous Kerala Backwaters near the city of Alappuzha. Come along with us as we enjoy more Kerala Indian food on our houseboat and continue exploring the sites and wonders of the backwaters in Alappuzha, India!
My third afternoon in Kerala began on our houseboat, the Cruise Land Houseboat, along the beautiful Kerala Backwaters in Alappuzha, India. Between the quiet, peaceful waters, the rice fields, and the palm trees, this place is even more gorgeous than it looks in photos.
I had a packed schedule, though. We were going to continue exploring the backwaters, see a local church, go fishing, visit a market, and finally, eat dinner! One thing my boy Ebbin told me is that, depending on the season, the backwaters here in Alappuzha are different colors, and that they’re all beautiful.
Right now, everything was green, but in a few months, they’d be golden as the rice is ready to be harvested. The best time to visit is the end of January and beginning of February. After that, it gets very hot, and May through August is the monsoon season, so don’t visit at that time of the year.
On our left, we passed by St. Mary’s Basilica, which is about 1,500 years old. St. Thomas the Apostle arrived in India in 52 AD. He lived here for almost 30 years. There is a sizeable Christian population in this part of India—nearly 26% of the people. We disembarked there to check it out.
The church is gorgeous and very colorful. It’s also really grand! There’s blue carpet inside and removable seats. At the far end are angels, and on the ceiling are paintings of Jesus Christ, Mary, angels, and more. There’s also a carving of the Last Supper. Outside is the oldest cross on the property. It’s extremely old. On its base is another, smaller cross and script written in Malayalam.
Then, we got back on the boat and headed to the market! Onboard were some late afternoon snacks, including ginger chai and some banana fry and fried bread. The banana was so good and tasted like a maduro, which is a fried plantain in Latin America. Then, I tried the fried bread, which was kind of like French toast!
The bread was spiced with banana and spices like cumin, but wasn’t spicy. I could eat this all day long! Finally, I dipped my last bit of bread into the chai. I let the fluffy inside absorb the tea. The dough, cumin, and ginger together were unreal!
If you want to rent a houseboat and staying overnight like we did, check-in is at noon. You’ll go out and have lunch and have time to explore. Then, it’s dinner time, followed by bedtime. Checkout is at 9 a.m. the next morning. It costs 30,000 rupees/$393.33 USD for six people. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, activities, and staff. It’s such a bargain and you have to do it!
As we continued through the backwaters, we saw houseboats every few seconds. There were lots of churches and a Hindu temple along the shores. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t help but get close to the water as we rode along. There’s nothing scary in the waters and it’s only six meters deep here!
We arrived at a type of convenience store where there were coolers full of fish. They also had lots of freshwater crabs, tuna, snapper, tiger prawns, and my favorite, kingfish. We bought some tiger prawns for dinner, and a toothbrush and toothpaste for me, as I had forgotten mine!
The sun was setting, so we had to hurry if we wanted to cast the nets out to see if we could catch some fish. We passed to a smaller waterway that you can access after 5 p.m. We parked the boat and prepared to cast our nets. The guy with the nets took us around the corner and cast them into the water. We caught a few smaller fish, so we tried again for some bigger ones. But we only got more smaller ones since the water was so shallow along the shore.
We headed back to the boat. I couldn’t wait to eat and have some coconut wine, which is famous in Kerala. As soon as the sun set, it got pitch black outside and the mosquitoes came out. I got back onboard the dark boat, and they turned the lights on once we were inside so no mosquitoes would get in.
I tried a glass of toddy, which was super sour! It was very cloudy and has very little alcohol in it. They tap the coconut and collect the nectar. Then, we headed to the kitchen, where our tiger prawns were ready to be fried up. They were marinated with ginger, garlic, garam masala, black pepper, and green chili paste and would be fried in coconut oil!
Ebbin fed me a spoonful of chutney, which was super spicy, flavorful, and crunchy. It also contained chilies, shallots, and coconut oil. It was hot and numbed my tongue!
Then, it was time to eat! We had a huge spread that included chapati (roti), butter daal, prawns, pearl fish, rice soup, chili chutney, cassava, dried fish, vegetables, chicken, and more. I started with the chapati and daal. It was a light lentil puree and was light on the spices. It was so good!
Then, I jumped on a prawn. Ebbin told me to eat it with the shell on! I loved the masala on it, and the coconut oil was killer! The ginger, black pepper, garlic, and green chili on it were unbelievable. The seafood in Kerala is seriously on another level! The crunch of the shell was also amazing!
Then, I got a lot of the green chili chutney, which I love so much, and ate it with the chapati. The heat wasn’t super hot. It was more of a numbing spice! Next, I went with the dried fish. I could smell the salt on it. It was super crunchy and fishy, but good! Everything went down easily, including the bones.
Then, I got some potatoes with chilies and some diced cabbage salad. The potatoes and chilies were amazing, and the cabbage was unreal. It was one of the best cabbage salads I’ve ever eaten! It’s like coleslaw with no mayo but with a tingle!
Next was a chicken curry with chapati. Always use only your right hand when eating. I grabbed a huge chunk! I loved the brownish curry. It wasn’t so strong and had some black pepper in it, so it was only a little spicy. I like more spice!
Then, I grabbed some cassava (yucca), some green chili chutney, dried fish, and rice soup. I broke off a small piece of cassava and added a bit of green chili chutney and dried fish and tried it all in one bite. It was an awesome blend of flavors. Next was a fish from the sea, which had an amazingly flavorful skin that was bursting with spices.
Then, I got some chili chutney, added it to the rice soup, and mixed it up and tried some. That did the trick! I loved the chilies! Then, I took a sip of the soup. It’s a lot of soup! Then, it was Ebbin’s turn to dig in!
After dinner, I said goodnight to Ebbin and headed to my room. What an incredible day. Kerala had already been blowing my mind, but the backwaters were really phenomenal. Having the Kerala Indian food on the houseboat and exploring the backwaters in Alappuzha was incredible.
What an amazing day enjoying Kerala Indian food on a houseboat and exploring the backwaters of Alappuzha, India! If you want to have an amazing experience as I did, I highly recommend booking the Cruise Land Houseboat. The staff is amazing and will ensure that you have a great time. I also have to thank Ebbin for showing me this gorgeous area of the Subcontinent. If you’d like to see Ebbin’s travel and food adventures around India, check out his Instagram and YouTube channel!
I hope you enjoyed coming with me to have Kerala Indian food on a houseboat and going exploring the backwaters in Alappuzha, India! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!