It was a long journey to the East Coast. You’re weary. You’re weak. You’re parched. As your tuk driver deposits you at the top of the road heading towards the Passikudah beach, you wonder if there’s somewhere you might find some sweet relief for your dried lips and throat. As you press forward with what little strength you have you see a glow, a comforting neon glow of a friend, coming closer and closer.
The Machang franchise is not new to anyone familiar with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. It’s at least the most well known, if not the only, bar franchise in the country. It feels like every time you turn around there’s another one popping up. This is about the one in Passikudah.
Honestly if you’ve seen one Machang you’ve kinda seen them all. Yellow lamps hanging from the beams of the ceiling making just the right balance of light and darkness to indulge in some intoxication. The bar off to the side against one wall. A pool table in another corner. In the middle you have wooden tables and chairs, varnished and polished to a shine.
But unlike the sterile, plastic feel you usually get from a franchise, Machangs manage to feel cosy and comfortable. Passikudah was no exception.
Passikudah had the benefit of a larger space to work with and it also had a single strip of concrete tables on the side that was open to sky. Since we went in the off season for Passikudah, there were hardly any people, which felt weird. But we think even when it’s packed to the rafters, you wouldn’t feel like you were in Sri Lankan public transport at rush hour.
Drinks and Food
One thing we did notice was that they had a bigger menu. It was a few pages extra than what we’ve previously seen and had quite a few things that we hadn’t seen on a Machang menu before. But all of them were still in keeping with their usual price range.
Drinks were standard. We ordered Lion Strongs (Rs.220 each) and a Jose Cuervo tequila (Rs.200 for 25ml). They had more on the list if that’s not your cup of tea so to speak. However we really liked their food.
We first had the Pork Stew (Rs.490). The meat was a little chewy but it wasn’t too bad. Combined with the sauce the meat was practically swimming in this turned out to be pretty tasty. As usual, we ignored the vegetables.
The Battered Prawns (Rs.650) however were the complete opposite. Without a hint of sogginess, this ample serving of prawns was fresh and delicious. The batter was crispy and that crunch was a great addition to the taste of the prawn.
The Mongolian Chicken Noodles (Rs.450) came while Buddika and I were enjoying a nice game of pool (Rs.350 per hour). While it wasn’t really the most optimal food to have bites of between turns at the table, we couldn’t help it because it was so delicious. The noodle was spiced well, with maybe a little too much pepper than necessary with deep fried chicken pieces tossed in too. The whole dish was shining with just enough oil that maybe the Americans might have considered sending in a small force for democracy, but who's complaining on a bar night?
Machang is a great place to get your booze on out there on the Pasikudah strip. It lives up to the solid Machang name and in our opinion you’ll undoubtedly have a great time there.