Bhatkal: A food story
This sleepy and now maligned town on the Karnataka coast boasts of a unique cuisine embracing Konkan and Middle-Eastern influences
Bhatkal is a small port town on the Arabian Sea, near Mangaluru. Between the 8th and 15th centuries, it was one of the chief ports on the western coast, specializing in the trade of rice, sugar, spices and horses. Yemeni horses would be brought from the port of Hormuz in Iran to Bhatkal, and traded across the country. Over the centuries, traders from Iraq, Iran and Yemen settled in Bhatkal and formed the Navayath (newcomers) community. Some of them intermarried with the locals, many of whom belonged to the Jain community, and were influenced by their customs, languages and culture. This, in turn, led to a unique and multicultural food practice.