Thursday, April 28, 2016

Best of Mangalore Part 7: Kalladka Tea KT

When my friend asked me what my plans for the day were, I told him I am going to have tea. "I have tea everyday," he retorted with a smirk. It was only I until I uploaded a photograph of Kalladka Tea (KT) on Instagram did I receive a Whatsapp text saying, 'the tea looks amazing na?' What is so amazing about the Kalladka Tea (KT) that I traveled 20 KM on a hot summer afternoon just for a cup of tea?

In my quest for hunting the best that Mangalore has to offer, the wanderluster within me took a bus to Vitla/Puttur from the State Bank busstand in Mangalore and headed towards Kalladka. After an hour the bus dropped me at the Kalladka busstand. And right opposite lies this rustic hotel named Hotel Lakshmi Nivasa. The hotel name plate is overpowered by the signboard stating Kalladka Tea (KT). It has photographs of Kalladka Tea (KT) right outside.

As the name suggests, Hotel Laksmi Nivas is a little house along the mainroad that goes towards Coorg. It is in the village of Kalladka on the outskirts of Mangalore and falls in the Bantwal taluk. The small hotel is well known among motorists riding on the NH-75 and locals alike.

The hotel is in a dilapidated state and has retained its old school charm. The moment you enter, you are transversed into an era gone by. You reach an era that existed approximately five decades back. The old wooden benches and chairs lining the rooms, the dilapidated kitchen and the wooden doors and windows, the chai and food aroma from the kitchen - everything is special in it's own way.  The number of customers that move in and out and the speed at which the cook manages to pour the Kalladka Tea (KT) is evidence enough of the business they make.

Kalladka Tea (KT) is being served since the last five decades, but the origin is unknown to anyone - not even the owner. He says he just runs the business that was passed down to him by his forefathers. Many of hotel Lakshmi Niwas' patrons introduce others to its simple charm, and that's how Kalladka Tea (KT) gained it's popularity. Even though many other places are trying to copy KT, nothing can beat the original Kalladka Tea (KT) at Lakshmi Nivas.

So what exactly is Kalladka Tea (KT) and what is so attractive about it?

While normal tea has a frothy milk cream layer atop of the tea, KT has a one fourth layer of thick tea decoction sitting atop thick milk. Probably the most attractive offering is the way the hotel has been serving tea: The regular transparent glass to show the decoction swirling atop the milk. The glass, in typical local fashion, sitting inside a small stainless steel bowl with a spoon placed beside it to stir the beverage.

How is Kalladka Tea (KT) made?

The tea-master showed how he had been making the tea for more than 20 years now. With the finesse of long practice, he quickly arranged glasses vertically in front of him. He then poured milk into an aluminium tumbler, into which he had already put sugar. Quickly, he filled three-quarters of each glass with milk. After preparing the decoction in a separate container, he picked up a spoon and poured the brown liquid carefully onto the spoon, from which it slowly overflowed and settled on the milk. Swirling, but not mixing in the glass as it made its way to the customer eagerly waiting for his cup of joy. (Watch the video above to see it live)

How much does a Kalladka Tea (KT) cost?

Kalladka Tea (KT) costs just Rs 15/- per glass. Not kidding! It's super thick and strong, yet costs just that much. I've never had a better chai deal anywhere else in India.

We also tried their Goli Bajje and Paneer Pulav from their special local food menu. The Thuppa Dosa which we wished to have wasn't available at that time. The Goli Bajje was served with coconut chutney. The pulav was freshly made, garnished with fried onion, capsicum and tomato rings. Do not forget to visit this special KT chai corner when in Mangalore. Check out the entire photo story below and SHARE it with friends.

This post is as part of my Best of Mangalore series. Check out the previous and next posts to read more about Mangalore.
Text and photographs: Flexcia D'souza || Travel and Food Blogger

No comments: