Enjoying a plateful of appetizing crispy and hot piyaju under the twilight sky with a serene river view can make you realize the gift of life.
The moment becomes more fulfilling when you feel the ethereal breeze of Karnaphuli river caressing your cheeks. With a bright smile, you look at your accompanying friends or family to share the joy.
After a while, plates of piping hot kakra (fried crab) arrive at the table.
It grabs your attention with its mind-blowing aroma and bright color. Your mouth gets filled with the finger-licking taste of the crab the moment you take a bite.
In a jiffy, it touches your heart before reaching your stomach.
As the sun disappears into the dusky sky, the light goes from dim to dark. You discover yourself captivated by the moonlit sight of Karnaphuli river meeting the Bay of Bengal in its outfall.
Anyone who has visited the Naval Road of Patenga, Chattogram can relate to the scenario.
There is a saying in Chattogram that if you do not have the Naval Road of Patenga on your travelling bucket list, you will miss out on the best part.
"The combination of kakra, piyaju and jhalmuri is an ideal assortment for an evening hangout with friends at Naval. Sitting along the walls of the Naval Road and watching the ships floating in the river is worth a lifetime of feelings," Anuj Soren, a tourist from Dhaka, told The Business Standard while visiting the place.
A young entrepreneur from Chattogram, Sazzad Karim Tinku, shared his experience, too.
He said, "Whenever I need an escape from my work and city life, I come to this place with my family and friends. Today, I came with my family and experienced the mouth-watering taste of kakra and piyaju. This is such an amazing place and you'll never feel bored here."
According to the Naval Avenue Small Shop Entrepreneur Welfare Association, there are almost 66 shops along the roadside.
The shops offer various street food items where kakra, piyaju, and an assortment of other delicacies are on the favorite list. These shops are built like a small hut with temporary structures.
Md Nasir, one of the shop owners at Naval Road, said, "Kakra and piyaju is a decade-old popular and traditional food item here. Most of the shops have existed here since 2000."
He added, "A plate of kakra with five to six pieces now costs between Tk50 to Tk60, while a small plate of piyaju is sold for Tk30."
Raha Kamal, a government employee at Chattogram, is a huge fan of the Naval Road kakra-piyaju platter.
"I hardly miss having these when I visit Naval Road. Although it is street food, I have never faced troubles with my stomach after eating them. These are tantalizingly delicious and served hot. To me, this platter is worth more than five-star hotel meals," commented Kamal.
Despite welcoming tourists after a long break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Naval Avenue Small Shop Entrepreneur Welfare Association leaders claim to have fewer visitors than the pre-pandemic days.
One of the association leaders, Md Parvez, regretfully said, "At present, many shop owners have had regular sales while some of them can't even fire up their cookers for the day. Most of us have to depend on our sales from Fridays and other holidays."