Chembu, Mammootty and Aquatic Tourism
If you are in Kochi, Kerala and want to check out a picnic spot with some authentic Kerala food, read on. Day 20 of “One Day, One Blog” — a challenge I set for myself for the month of January 2019.
I have always been fascinated by the Vembanad Lake. I have traveled by car along its side, taken a couple of boat rides into the lake — but walking into the lake? That did not even cross my mind as a possibility till my visit to this little village called “Chembu” in Vaikom.
Prior to this impromptu trip, if anyone mentioned “Chembu”, the only thing that would come to my mind was the Mega Star of Malayalam movies, Mammookka aka. Mammootty who was born in this picturesque little hamlet. Being a hardcore Mammootty-fan in my teenage, I think I even tried to talk my Dad into taking me to his village once.
As our friends know, Chandu and I are incorrigible foodies. We are on an eternal search for authentic local cuisine wherever we land. And this search is not confined to exotic locations but even where we live.
This was in the summer of 2018 when we heard about a restaurant run by “MATSYAFED” — the state co-operative for Fisheries. We were told that they apparently served the freshest catch from the sea — and when you live in Kochi, your definition of “fresh” is at the highest imaginable level. we decided to go check it out on a Sunday.
We are in the middle of summer. To say it was hot during lunch time is an understatement. After parking at the entrance we paid 300 per head ( 200 is the entry fee and 100 for food) and started walking into the grounds.
Something unexpected happened. Suddenly there was a lot of breeze. It felt cool. The “walkway” was extending right into the lake — or so it seemed. Coconut palms swayed in the breeze. Water on either side. The perfect example of cross ventilation, perhaps?
My train of thoughts went somewhat like this — We had so much more land like this. We went around building large apartment complexes. Created walled in spaces with tiny windows. And then to escape the heat we fix air conditioners. And lament the lack of breeze.
At the end of the walkway, you find a well maintained building serving typical Kerala meals with fish curry and fish fry. Very simple but delicious fare. If you are lucky there would be additional items like prawns, karimeen ( pearl spot — the mallu trademark), mussel fry and so on.
There are options for people to do fishing; boat rides — if it weren’t for the high entry fees, I think it would be a favourite spot for college couples.
The evenings should be fantastic here — with the cool breeze and setting sun.
For the people in Kochi — given that it is a Sunday today, why don’t you drive out, check out the picnic spot and have some spicy fish curry meals?
More info on the location: