Malabari is a term used for Indians originating from the Malabar region. The region does includes the present state of Kerala in India or southwestern coast. The Malabar coast was a gateway for Arab traders via the Arabian sea. Due to this, many Malabaris have strong Arabic cultural influences in their food and traditions. Especially the Syriac Christians of Kerala.
Aside from this, the term was also applied by the Dutch to designate Tamils of Sri Lanka during the colonial days. This term, or the term Malbar, accordingly was also applied by the French to Tamil indentured laborers coming to Réunion, has been kept by the latter to label their own identity as well until today, even though most have lost the use of Tamil language. There are around 200,000 people of Tamil descent in Réunion Island. They started to be brought from 1848 (official end of slavery in French colonies).
The term Malabar is used in the neighbouring island of Mauritius to describe North Indian Hindus, Lascar is used to describe Muslims and Madrasse (Madras being the capital of Tamil Nadu) is used to describe Tamils ethnic group of South India.