Passions of Kerala is a very well-known traditional banana leaf restaurant in Penang. Started by Mr Gary Nair, it saw its humble beginnings as a small family sundry store which then turned into the popular restaurant we know now.
They opened their first branch in Gelugor, Penang in 1987 and it is still operating up until today. A second restaurant was opened in 2006 at the New World Park, strategically located in the heart of Georgetown. The owner’s son – Mr Roy Nair has been helping his father in managing the New World Park branch for the last 7 years.
We spoke to Roy and he shared with us that the secret recipes behind their Kerala-inspired dishes originated from his grandmother. Kerala is a state in South India and their traditional dishes use a lot of coconut oil in their cooking. His grandmother kept these flavours but localised it to the local Penangnites’ taste. These recipes were subsequently handed down to his aunt and now, to their kitchen helper and trusted cook, fondly known as “Ah Poh” who spent the last 30 years working with the Nair family.
You cannot visit Passions of Kerala without trying their signature banana leaf rice. Supposedly known as the healthiest food in the world, this is a balanced vegetarian meal served with 4 types of vegetable dishes (papadom, morro, rassam and dhal curry) atop a banana leaf. Diners can choose between white rice and fragrant tomato rice (additional charge of RM 1.00 for tomato rice). At Passions of Kerala, 27 to 30 vegetable side dishes are served on rotation throughout the week so that their returning guests (many of them!) get to sample different side dishes each time.
Besides serving their famous banana leaf rice, Passions of Kerala also offers plenty of a-la-carte dishes. They come with the option of a small, medium or large serving so you don’t have to worry if you’re here alone or with a huge group. Here are some “must-try side dishes” in this restaurant that we had, and you should too.
Passions of Kerala, Penang
Operation Hours: 12.00pm – 3.00pm and 6.30pm – 10.00pm
Address: New World Park, Jalan Burma, Georgetown, 10050 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact Number: +604 227 2550
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