Watch | Have you visited the seafood stalls at Chennai’s Marina beach?
The scenic Loop Road in Pattinapakkam, Chennai, runs along the Marina beach. The smell of seafood is hard to miss. A row of seafood stalls dot this bustling road.
Fishermen venture out to sea as early as 2 am and return to shore by 5 am with their fresh catch, which is cleaned, cooked and served to their loyal customers who flock to these stalls by lunchtime.
Almost all of these eateries open for lunch by 11.30 a.m. and close by 4 p.m. Meals are priced at ₹50, which comes with unlimited rice, sambar, rasam, one vegetable, buttermilk and fish curry.
While there were just a couple of these stalls in 2018, mostly frequented by passers-by and auto drivers, once Loop Road was developed, the traffic flow increased and more diners began to discover the space.
With some help from social media and word-of-mouth reviews, the road began drawing tourists from across the world, students, professionals on lunch breaks and the occasional movie director or actor, in addition to auto drivers, fishermen and daily-wage earners.
Women play a very important role. Women help in making their own chilli powder and masalas for marinade, which gives the food a distinct home-style flavour. One such stall, Naga Mess, employs women who are differently-abled, widowed and are sole breadwinners.
The Hindu visited these stalls to find out what a typical day is like for this community.
Reporting: Chitradeepa Anantharam, Ananyaa Desikan
Video: Johan Sathyadas J, Vinesh R, Silpa Manoj
Production: Johan Sathyadas J, Ananyaa Desikan