Residing in North India for most of my life, Dosa and Idli were the first things that would come to my mind if pondered upon South Indian dishes. The stereotypes held against South Indian food were proved false when I was invited to celebrate the culinary flavors of South India along with Master Chef Mahesh Naik at Vivanta by Taj Ambassador.The ‘Mangalorean food festival’, which started on August 24 and will last until September 2, aims at promoting ethnic Mangalorean cuisines which predominantly originates from the Tulu region of India, and can be best described as pungent and authentic.The menu has a lot to offer for food lovers, but it has to be agreed that South Indian dishes are best defined by its non-vegetarian cuisines.For lunch, a separate À la carte menu has been prepared by Master Chef Mahesh Naik along with Chef Sanjeev Chopra and his team, whereas a buffet dinner is also on offer for those who drool to eat infinitely.Upon reaching the ‘Yellow Brick Road’, a dining room decorated with vintage posters and splashes of colour, which well compliments the heritage Vivanta building, I was welcomed with a glass of refreshing Kokam sharbat followed by a bowl of Kokam rasasm, which seemed a bit fiery, and probably the only low point during my entire phase of drooling. A plethora of choices did make me wonder what to eat first, but my natural instincts backed up the non-vegetarian menu.Being a meat lover, Kori Gassi was probably one of the best chicken dishes I ever came across, enriched with a great fusion of home spices. It was further eulogized when served with Neer Dosa (rice crepes) and is a must try for any food lover. I could not resist myself in asking for more even after having a full bowl of Kori Gassi. Other main course dishes to choose from include Anjal da Kajippu (fish in Mangalorean coconut curry), Yetti Pullimunchi (tangy prawns in spices), Patlakodu Uppu Kari (snake gourd and stir-fry coconut tempered with mustard seeds and fresh coconut), Endakaya Sambar (Mangalorean okra sambhar) and many more. Famous sweet preparations like Kadalebele Payasam (roasted gram and cashew nut stewed in coconut milk and jaggery) and tender Coconut Payasam (cold tender coconut payasam sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with cardamom dust) will satisfy everyone’s craving for desserts. Don’t miss out on these cuisines if dosas and idlis define your South Indian menu. Even if they don’t, escape a conventional meal and pamper your taste buds with exciting South Indian flavours.