If you’re interested in spices, head to Bazaar Road in Kochi. Running from Fort Cochin to Mattancherry, this 1.5km stretch of road is where Kerala’s commodities come to be sold.
Not sure about the drugs, but the rest makes sense
The northern (Fort Cochin) end of the road is dominated by decaying 17th and 18th Century Dutch and Portuguese mansions. In true Keralan style, many are now stylish guesthouses or awaiting renovation.
You’ll soon come into Bazaar Road proper: a narrow section of road filled with tiny open-fronted shops advertising wholesale, retail or commission sales. The trade here is mainly edible: tea, spices, dried fruit, garlic and cashew nuts feature heavily. (You’ll also find rubber, if that floats your boat).
Cashews are from Kollam - just a short backwater trip away
The ‘hole-in-the-wall’ shops selling a variety of goods out of glass jars are usually the best bet. Best to avoid the shrink-wrapped strips aimed squarely at tourists and choose your own.
Fennel, Star Anise, Black Pepper, Mustard Seeds and, er...
The southern (Mattancherry) end of the road tapers into Jew Town and the Palace. Be warned: this is prime tourist area, with touts outside every shop. Even the rickshaw drivers are in on the act: try to get a ride back to Fort Cochin and you’ll be burdened with the “Just one shop…” act before they’ve turned the engine on.
Now that would mean something completely different in Soho