Arab food in Kerala more popular than Western food

Malayalees in general don't prefer Chinese or Western food
Finding a Shawarma joint in Kerala is as easy as finding a Pan shop in Ahmedabad

Yes, its true. In my observation, the most favorite foreign food for Malayalees in general is not Chinese or Western food. Rather its Arabic food.

And that's obvious as while in Kerala, you are bound to see more Al Fahm Chicken than KFCs. Finding a Shawarma joint in Kerala is as easy as finding a Pan shop in Ahmedabad. Its that popular. Kerala has a huge array of premium Arabic restaurants to small roadside Shawarma kiosks.

The most popular Arabic dishes across Kerala are

  1. Al Fahm Chicken which is basically Arabic spiced Barbequed chicken which is extremely popular and one of the most cost effective meats.
  2. Shawarma - Both Chicken and Beef options are widely available and its status as equal to Vada Pavs of Mumbai
  3. Mandi- Mandi is a classic Yemeni styled Rice-Meat dish, but it has got extraordinary popularity in Kerala that, it got Malayalamized heavily and remodelled as Kerala styled Kuzhimandi. Its as popular option as to Biriyanis

Another important point, most of the Malayalees ignore the difference between culinary tastes of Arabia Mainland (Emirati-Saudi-Omani), Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Iranian and Turkish. So in Malayalee perspective, the entire West Asia+Turkey is seen as one unit and has same culinary culture.

Source: Arun Mohan,Quora