The Marina beach in Chennai is one of the prime tourist destinations for anyone who visits Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu. The beach boasts of a coastline which can rival any of the top beaches and is often called as the “World’s second longest beach”. The place is famous for its stone statues and people who visit Chennai never miss going to this beach. But for the people of Chennai, the Marina Beach reminds of the innumerable kiosks which include the children’s favorite ice cream shops, the famous “bhajji kadai’s” and of course who can forget the cheap, yet tasty fast foods! The Marina Beach offers some of the tastiest yet affordable food in Chennai.
The choice of cuisine is exceptional and almost unbelievable when you look at the price and size of these shops. The Marina offers food at all prices for all seasons.
The Typical Chennai Humid Day
The Chennai weather can be really cruel during summers because of scorching heat and the beach offers a pleasant change during evening’s .It is the most popular place for evening walks and jogs. The people who visit the beach during summer evenings crave for the sugarcane juice which is definitely Marina’s favorite drink. The sugarcane juice is made from fresh sugarcanes as and when they are ordered and they don’t use any essence. The fresh sugarcane juice gives a real pleasurable feeling and at a maximum cost of Rs.10-15 it is certainly a bargain.
The other thing to look out for is the little ice-cream shops on wheels which line up the service road adjoining the beach. These ice cream shops are the hotspots for all the love-birds and family alike. There are various outlets which offer ice creams but “Kwality Walls” is certainly the most preferred choice. The Choco-bar ice-creams and Cornetto are worth a try and the premium “Magnum” range of ice-creams is a feast for any ice-cream lover.
Another life saver on hot afternoons is the freshly cut watermelons. They satisfy your taste buds and also manage to quench your thirst! A real “double dhamaka” I should say!
The Occasional Cool Days
There are days when the weather God’s show some mercy and Chennai has a relatively cooler climate. The Marina offers its classic “filter kaapi” for a true chennaite who loves his coffee. This is not the best coffee you will have in town but certainly good enough on a pleasant evening and the best thing is that “filter kaapi” can be bought from wherever you are sitting as these “coffee-wallahs” walk around the beach selling their coffee and you are saved from the trouble of walking a long distance to buy them. Watching the sea sipping on your coffee on a pleasant evening is a real kick!
If watermelons are for hotter days then definitely cut green mangoes with chilly powder and salt is the perfect way to cap off a pleasant evening. The sour sweet fruit tickles your tongue and can make you yearn for it all the more!
Food for Every Season
There are certain foods though which actually define your day at the Marina and they don’t have any particular season or time. You haven’t seen the best of Marina if you haven’t tasted the “beach bhajji”. There are various joints and several food chains which offer “bhajji” in the city but the “bhajji” you get in the beach is definitely the best. The “bhajji” consists of chopped vegetables incorporated into a dough made from rice and gram flour, spices, and sometimes herbs, then fried until golden. The “chilly bhajji” and “onion bhajji” are certainly the favorite among foodies at the beach.
The other favorite of people who visit the beach often is the “sundal”. It is a familiar sight to see young boys from the nearby fishermen areas who go to schools in the morning sell tasty “sundals” in the evening. The “sundal” like “bhajji” is definitely a specialty of Marina and “beach sundals” definitely taste better than even some of the home-made ones. The “maanga sundal” and “pattani sundal” are something to savor from your visit to the beach.
Finally, the “Marina Fast-Foods” which are merely 10X10 feet shops which get exceptional crowds especially during the evenings. They offer complete dinners at exceptionally low prices and are a must try for any foodie who visits the Marina. These shops offer everything from Chinese to Thai to North Indian foods. They offer starters like Chilly Paneer and Chicken varieties like Chicken 65, Chilly Chicken and some exclusive Chinese starters like Dragon Chicken, Pepper Chicken are a hit with youngsters who are the main targets for these fast food kiosks.
The beach food for all its variety and affordability has always been scorned upon by people because of its obvious hygiene issues. There have been several questions which have been raised about the hygiene and sub-standard products which have been used in preparing these foods, especially the oil used for making “bhajjis” and vessels used for making the food. But the shopkeepers have realized these concerns and have started using standard products and are quite open to suggestions made by customers. Though the hygiene issues are not completely forgotten the people are starting to open their mind to these kiosks after these assurances.
In spite of all these issues, one cannot deny the fact that these food outlets are an integral part of the Marina beach and they deserve to be so, after all “No place is a good place, if it can’t offer you good food!”