Everybody seems to associate food from Tamil Nadu as something to do with Chettinadu cuisine. Thanks to the restaurants that popularized it by prefixing the dishes in their menu with the "chettinad" tag. But the real cuisine of Tamil Nadu is so varied and vast. One of the lesser known cuisines of the region is from Kongunadu (The western part of Tamilnadu). "Kongu" means nectar and "naadu" means country. The Kongu region comprises mostly the districts of Coimbatore, Salem, Dindigul, Erode, Karur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Tiruppur and the Nilgiris. Some parts of Palakkad also falls under Kongunad. The food of the region is so unique and different.
One special ingredient from the region are the Virupakshi Bananas
The food tour of anyone would be incomplete without trying the famed Virupakshi Bananas also called as the Malai Vazhaipazham (Malai means mountains and Vazhaipalam means bananas in Tamil). These bananas are very thin and slender to look. The characteristic black spots and a dark green colour sets it apart. Even though not very appealing to the eye, it's one of the sought after produce in the markets due its distinct taste. These bananas grow only in the Palani hills (Dindigul district), Tamilnadu.
The interesting thing about these bananas is that they are grown as a shade tree for the coffee plantations in the hills. The Virupachi bananas have a GI tag (Geographical Indication). The famed Panchamirtham prasadam offered to lord Muruga at Palani temple is made with these bananas.