Step into the heart of Trivandrum city, through the narrow lanes of Kizhakke Kotta that whispers tales of old Travancore heritage, to the famous Chala Market, one of the most happening and bustling streets of Trivandrum and you stumble on a humble yet well-known restaurant all over Kerala- Hotel Rahmaniya! You would first notice only a small signboard bearing the name of the hotel at the start of an even smaller lane. But, don’t step back seeing the humble surroundings. Go ahead if you wish to savor the tastiest chicken ever! Step into the lane and cast a glance to your right side. There stands a small hotel that spreads the aroma of drool-worthy chicken all over the place. Yes! Even the streets whiffs of lip-smacking delicacies!
The legacy of Rahmaniya dates back to long 70 years ago. The flavor lock that treated the taste buds of millions all over Kerala started from Mohammad Abdul Kadar, a simple layman who knocked on the doors of Travancore for his livelihood, way before India even got its Independence from the British. The simpleton he was, he decided to earn a few pennies to meet both ends meet by serving tea in a kettle at the famous putharikandam maithanam and around it. Since he always carried a kettle of hot tea all around the streets of Trivandrum, people started calling him the “Kettle Saayippe.” In the Travancore areas those days, Muslim brothers were lovingly called as “Saayippe.” Mohammad slowly started becoming famous, and the whole Trivandrum started calling him “Kettle Saayippe.” The name gradually due to constant usage became Kethel Saayippe, and that is how the name Kethel was born.
Kethel Saayippe opened his first ever restaurant in the heart and heartbeat of Travancore, the Chala markets, by the year 1949. Since the very beginning, the chicken fry grabbed the attention of food lovers all over Travancore. He had a special recipe for the chicken, and it was something Travancore had never tasted. The chicken slowly got coined as Kethel Chicken as the famous Kethel Saayippe prepared it. The specialty of Kethel Chicken is that the pieces will always be that of tender, small chickens. You will never find a large piece of chicken in it. Small pieces of chicken wrapped up in lip-smacking flavours, and crushed dried chilies soon became the talk of the town. It’s tales of drool-worthy taste spread all over Kerala, and people all over the place started frequenting this humble yet famous restaurant Trivandrum beams in pride about. The same recipe, flavours, and lip-smacking taste still linger in the streets of Chala, and you can relish the taste even now in this 21st century!
The age-old tales tell that Kethel Saayippe was never particular about the rates of chicken he gets from his customers. He heart brimmed in love for all those who ate his chicken with absolute relish and would only get small tokens of love in the form of cash from his customers. His happiness was more on seeing them relish the food and never on the profits he makes. He also used to serve the poor and hungry with sumptuous treats for free.
Another great specialty of Rahmaniya Kethels is that you get non-stop supply of lime juice along with the food. Your glass gets refilled as soon as it finishes and it comes free of cost! The present generation of Kethel Saayippe has carried his legacy forward and has opened branches all over Trivandrum, Pattom, Kollam, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode. The same recipe is followed in all the branches, and Kethels Chicken remains as one of the most famous chicken fries Kerala has ever seen! The flavor locked recipe is patented to Kethel Saayippe and his generations alone.
Though Kethels Chicken is now available all over Kerala, still the nostalgic feel of biting into the tender chicken pieces, whiffing the aroma of old Travancore resonating all over the busy streets of Chala is beyond words. Maybe Kethel Saayippe still sits on those old wooden benches looking out for his regular customers who relish and bites into the chicken pieces with absolute joy. Maybe he smiles at them his toothless innocent smile with eyes full of love and care. Maybe the old soul who fed generations with a heart brimming with love could never reduce the taste of the chicken even today. Maybe that is why Kethels Chicken still tastes the same as if Kethel Saayippe himself still makes it! You can easily get a sumptuous treat for two with a mere 600 rupees.
Chala market street, go ahead straight for about 100 meters, and you see a signboard on the left side pointing to the street in which Rahmaniya Kethels ushers you inside.
The famous Chicken fry, small yet soft and fluffy chapathis and lime juice!
Timings: Afternoon 12 am to 3 pm and Evening 4.30pm to 9.30 pm.
Ring At: 0471-246003
Ambiance: A humble restaurant that whispers savory tales of food served with love.
Seating arrangements: Wooden benches that creak and resonates to the nostalgic tones of Travancore tales. A small restaurant which can hold just about 20 people at a time.
Parking Arrangements: None. You will have to park your vehicle on the sides of the Chala market streets and walk into the hotel.