Hankering for the flavours of Kerala, the southwest Indian state?
Then your best bet is to head to Victoria Park and Lawrence Avenue East and visit Royal Kerala Foods, store owner Saji Mangalathu says.
“The things you see [in the store] are very unique, you don’t find no where else,” he said. “That’s why if you need it, you need to come to me.”
The South Indian specialty supermarket has been in business for 15 years, the last five of which have been at 1738 Lawrence Ave. E.
Royal Kerala Foods doesn’t really rely on a local customer base, Mangalathu said. He added many of his customers come from all over.
“They don’t live in one area, not like other companies,” he said. “It is very much diversified.”
Mangalathu said he sees a lot of professional people — including social workers, nurses and teachers — walk into his store.
“They want good quality food and that is what I have,” he said.
The supermarket sells an assortment of spices and pickles, Kerala snacks, fresh vegetables and tropical fruits, as well as frozen Kerala foods.
“We are very much diverse and very much specialized in Kerala food items,” Mangalathu said.
In addition to the Scarborough location, Royal Kerala Foods distributes to stores in Edmonton, Vancouver and London, Ont.
“I studied food,” said Mangalathu, a Centennial College food services graduate. “I know my food. Nobody can beat me on that.”
“The festival brings a lot of people into the local area,” he said.