A potpourri of cuisines and culture, Kochi is also known for its lush greenery, quaint houses, Jewish, Dutch and Portuguese architecture, and an immaculate shoreline. While the city served as an important spice trading centre in the 14th century, it has today become one of the must-visits on the list of an intrepid traveller. Here’s how to explore this gem like a local:
Explore Jew Town in Fort Kochi
The narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Jewish Synagogue in Fort Kochi is a favourite among antique lovers. Once home to the Jews, the shops sell antiques and spices of Jewish, Indians, Chinese, Arabic and European origins. Remember to visit Koder House, a heritage hotel, to taste the traditional Jewish pudding.
Use public transport to commute
Surrounded by Arabian Sea and its backwaters, Kochi comprises of several islands that command a visit. What better way to navigate them than by taking the local ferry. Ferry services link islands of Fort Cochin, Willingdon Island, Vypeen to mainland Ernakulam. On land, to travel like a local opt for the auto-rickshaw or the bus.
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Tour the local market
Some of the famous markets of Kochi have a well-curated collection of everything from traditionally woven sarees, antique furniture to artsy drawings and rustic jewellery. For spices head to the shops in Mattancherry and for traditional white cotton sarees with gold zari borders head to MG Road.
Have a multi-cultural culinary experience
Since Kochi was ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch, and French for a long time, the local culinary scene here got heavily influenced by each of them. The region is most celebrated for its seafood, however, be sure to try the street-side parotta with beef fry. The tea stalls offer a kind of black tea – known as Sulaimani – accompanied with mouth-watering fried banana fritters, roasted peanuts, fried lentil cakes and an assortment of steamed or baked snacks.