When it comes to food, especially staple foods of different regions or communities, there’s a certain sanctity to it. A kind of reverence that people have towards a particular dish. The ingredients have to be a certain way, the preparation must be exactly like it should, and everything right down to the the way it is served and garnished must be by the book. For Malayalis, one of those sacred spots is reserved for the Avial (or Aviyal).
If you ask Wikipedia, it’ll tell you that Avial is a dish from Kerala and Udupi cuisine. It is a thick mixture of vegetables and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. And essentially, it looks something like the picture you see above.
However, when Kerala Tourism’s Twitter handle tried to talk to its followers about this statement dish, here’s what they shared.
Aviyal, a popular accompaniment served with boiled rice is nothing but a medley of native vegetables in a thick coating of coconut paste. pic.twitter.com/hg4gxqiyAN
— Kerala Tourism (@KeralaTourism) December 11, 2018
Uh oh. That wasn’t avial. That was trouble.
You see, Malayalis who spotted this tweet were not too happy with the picture, which barely resembled avial, according to them. Furthermore, the words ‘nothing but’ in the tweet made it sound like avial was just too simple a dish and not that important.
On the contrary, Avial is considered a relevant item in the Sadya, the Keralite vegetarian feast.
So of course, Malayali Twitter was up in arms against this misrepresentation, and even got bit cheeky with the trolling!
— Mama Miyan (@mamaNmiyan) December 11, 2018
This Avial is a disaster!! The least you can do is show the picture of a decently made Avial
— Vinu Abraham (@VinuLive) December 12, 2018
I bet you haven't had a good aviyal.
— Arun George (@saysarun) December 11, 2018
Will the real avial please stand up?
As a Tamil married to a Malayali and therefore at the receiving end of many digs about 'Tamizh nad" avial, all I can say is that this doesn't even resemble "tamizh nad" avial!
— R Srinivasan (@srinivasanravi) December 12, 2018
How could you miss this?
Et tu, Kerala Tourism?
— Sanjay Ninan George (@ninansanjay) December 12, 2018
Some people took the trolling a notch funnier and did the whole galti se mistake thing!
Haaaaaave you met this sambar?
Payasam, tu bohot change hogayela hai re!
Help! Identity crisis!
Kerala Pepper beef fry. pic.twitter.com/PZJoQzFqmM
— Rafull Gandhi (@RafullG) December 12, 2018
Someone needs to take stock of this mistake!
When shutterstock cant give you the image you want. https://t.co/IDdBfNLVQL
— Shahid (@shahidm) December 11, 2018
Others were more helpful and shared some better photo options!
— யுசரா (@naanjilnaataan) December 11, 2018
A band names Avial was also dragged into this hilarious conversation somehow!
A summary of everything that’s wrong with the tweet!
No, this is NOT aviyal!!! I refuse to accept this… NO NO NO
First, please take those tomato pieces out. Second, do you mind adding some curd, please???
Lastly, "nothing but.."??? Heh? #Aviyal https://t.co/fetySkB3nn
— Shiba Kurian (@shiba_kurian) December 11, 2018
Wrath of the Malayali grandmas is coming for you, Kerala Tourism!
You guys better watch out my 70 year old mother is going to wring your neck for putting tomatoes into avial. Sack the person who made this.
— Sunil Nair (@spuriousmallu) December 12, 2018
You may want to rethink… pic.twitter.com/qUSZFg849s
— Mohan (@_beingmo) December 11, 2018
Whoa whoa whoa. Emotions are running high here!
I'm on my period and feeling very hormonal and the below tweets made me cry. 🤪 https://t.co/sK9IGMWZqA
— ! (@AceFeminist) December 12, 2018
You cannot mess with it! It’s sacrilege! Blasphemy!
— Vaisakh Krishnan (@vaisakh_kris) December 11, 2018
Be afraid, Kerala Tourism. Be very afraid!
Dear @KeralaTourism , we like your quirky posts, your subtle sense of humour and your taste for finesse. But don't for a moment think we'll take an insult to The Aviyal lying down! Choose your next words very carefully. https://t.co/ixW7ge2OCP
— Shijoy Varughese (@shijoyvarughese) December 11, 2018
Now you’d think, nice soup Kerala Tourism has landed themselves in! But wait a minute! They managed to make up for that abysmal picture with something quite witty!
Now that’s a sticky aviyal situation!
Coincidentally, the native expression for ‘messing up’ bears the same name as this wonderful dish.
But keep your palate ready for tomorrow as we are not done here. Sweet dreams.
— Kerala Tourism (@KeralaTourism) December 11, 2018
Oooh, curiosity rises! What would it be? Well, see for yourself!
Because their version of the avial was so affronting, they invited the people to go ahead and share their own versions of the beloved dish!
The way you make it, the way your favourite restaurant serves it; we are inviting everyone to share their aviyal. If you haven't before, pick up an uruli; it's still not too late to give it a try. #AviyalBlues pic.twitter.com/I3suGSZBo3
— Kerala Tourism (@KeralaTourism) December 12, 2018
Well played, Kerala Tourism! Well played!
Of course, the peeps recognised this smartass way that Kerala Tourism handled the whole thing and were quite appreciative of it too!
Stung by criticism of its 'avial' pic that looked thrice removed from 'avial', @KeralaTourism has come up with a collage of many shades of 'avial', inviting food connoisseurs to showcase their own! https://t.co/NKfjLYfVI2
— S Anandan (@Anandans76) December 12, 2018
— Jisha Surya (@jishasurya) December 12, 2018
— name_me_wrong (@guessedmewrong) December 12, 2018
Well handled, you guys! *applause* https://t.co/W7Z239hVnC
— Aaths🌈 (@meh_ugh_meh) December 12, 2018
A delicious lesson in how to save a dish when it goes sour!