Kochi is the fifth in our Live like a local series. Check out our editions on Bangalore, Delhi, Jodhpur and Mumbai too! Find out where to stay, what to eat, where to go, what to do, what to say and a bunch of extra tips to help you drop the tourist tag.
Where to stay:
Beena Homestay. Run by the eponymous Beena who serves by day as the Health Inspector of the Corporation of Cochin, so you know quality won’t be a problem! Well-located and well-managed, you’ll be a sucked into their family life without being imposed upon.
What to eat:
Hit one of the local toddy shops like Mullapanthal, and pair some local liqour with amazingly exotic dishes like crab, frogs legs, rabbit, duck and fish heads cooked Kerala style. Seek out smaller establishments if you want to avoid the college crowds, especially on weekends. These shops are usually open all day but if you go too early the day’s catch won’t be in from the beach yet and if you go too late it’ll be gone. Stop at one of the thattukada (street food) joints for some spicy fried quail and soft buttery parotas.
Where to go:
Move past the fishing nets to Ernakulam’s main harbour. Abuzz with life, this may not necessarily be where the locals go to take a break, but it is where you’ll find them. Find a tea stall or awning to shelter under as you people-watch at this throbbing centre of commerce. If you’re approached by a resident you can rest assured that they’re not a tout.
What to do:
Take the ferry to Vypeen Island. Both the journey and the destination are equally mesmerizing. Drift along the network of backwaters packed tightly between the colourful and curious passengers in their autorickshaws on the car ferry. At Vypeen make your way to Kuzhipilly Beach rather than Cherai for some alone time, especially if it’s a weekday.
What to say:
Sheri sheri. Say it as often as you can, in response to absolutely anything and they’ll take you for a genius. It basically means ‘okay okay’, but it’s used more as punctuation than in actual agreement.Venda (no) will keep the touts away.
- Make a pit stop on the highway when you see a tender coconut stall and make a special request for fizzy coconut water.
- Carry your heaviest conditioner and lightest cotton outfit because it will be HUMID. SO HUMID. You can never fully prepare for this level of humidity, but you can try.