Though we are happy to accept that India is a land of unity in diversity –still we never leave a chance to optimize out states individually when it comes to gastronomy. With no offense, a person from the West Bengal capital Kolkata will compare its food and especially, that are available on the streets wherever he/she will go across the world. For many, along with the cultural capital, Kolkata stands out of the crowd with its finest culinary delicacies not only served in the posh eateries but also on the busy city streets.
Do you mind if anyone considers it the gastronomic capital of India!! We have a bouquet of facts garlanded in favor of such assertion. Take a look and if you are in Kolkata or about to visit the Bengal Capital soon, don’t miss out any one of the given street foods when you are there, otherwise, you may have to repent later!!
Photo by offbit2010
Not Panipuri or Golgappa, We Call It Fuchka
In Kolkata, the famous panipuris and golgappas are known as fuchka- the queen of all street foods according to many Bengalis. One of the finest mouth smacking delicacies that is available at almost all the posh city streets. Fuchkawalas or the vendors only sell this mouth watery delicacy along with the brother of fuckha, churmur- a chat preparation which is made from the ingredients used in plating the fuchka.
Usually, you can get multiple options for mouth smacking fuchkas. They serve it will the mix of boiled potato, fresh coriander, secret spices, dash of fresh lemon, onions (optional) and the tangy tamarind water that Bengalis call as tok jol. The vendors are bound to offer you the complimentary tok jol as much as you want and don’t forget to ask for the extra phao which they offer at the end of each plate.
Like every other cuisine and cultural differences within North and South Kolkata, the ingredients and taste of the fuchkas also differ. In many North Indian fuchhka stalls, the golgappa connoisseurs are served with different spices and ingredients like that of the South Kolkata food stalls. For example, there are a few fuchhkawalas in Sovabazar and Shyambazar area that are famous for preparing the churmur with dal bora (small fried balls of mashed lentils along with spices). Want to try the best fuchhkas in the South Kolkata area- don’t miss out the Vivekananda Park fuchhka vendors which is located in the Southern Avenue area.
Rolls: Yummy Goodness Wrapped In Parathas. What you wish for?
If you are a huge fan of wrap snacks such as Lebanese shawarma or the usual wraps, you will fell in love with the quickest and the cheapest rolls in Kolkata that are mainly sold by roadside vendors. Popular roll makers are Zaika in Park Street, Shiraj in the Esplanade area, Bedouin in South Kolkata area and more.
You can get a variety of fillings inside the lachha paratha (the pancake made of different layers and textures). A north Indian zest is given in preparing the food. Mainly they prepare egg roll, chicken roll, egg chicken roll, mutton roll, chicken/mutton tikia roll, paneer roll, tandoori chicken rolls and so on.
Whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian—you have all the options in hands per your requirements. Don’t forget to add the extra lemon and green chills given in your packet to add more taste to the rolls.
Photo by jasonlam
Tele-Bhaja- The Bengali’s Roadside Pakoras
‘Tel’ means oil and ‘bhaja’ means fried. We all know that usually any food is fried in oil still, the Bengalis for ages call their pakoras tele-bhaja! When you are in Kolkata, your evenings are incomplete without the tele bhajas.
We have mentioned earlier that the North and South Kolkata share a cultural difference and so as their foods and lifestyle. You can get a plenty of options for tele bhajas in the morning and all throughout the day in the North while none of the vendors start making the fries before the 4 pm in the afternoon. In south, this is absolutely an evening delicacy, while many people in the North Kolkata consider tele-bhaja as one of their staple breakfast delicacies.
Don’t miss out the famous tele-bhaja shop of Kalika at College Street area. Try their famous dal bora, alur chop, beguni, mochar chop, dhoka etc. There are many popular pakora shops are there besides the local train stations. In South, you can get the best by the Dhakuria Station road.
Along with the veggies, many tele-bhaja vendors serve fish chop, chicken chop, mutton chop, devils (egg chops) and more.
Photo by atlai
Bengalis love fish and if you are in Kolkata, you must take a bite of the famous fish fries served hot and fresh in some of the finest places across the city for generations. With authentic marinated Bhetki fillets, the restaurateurs offer the mouth smacking fish fries along with a generous amount of salads and mustard sauce they call kasundi.
Bijoli Grill and Sangu Valley at Bhawanipur, Das Cabin at Gariahat area, Mitra Café at Shyambazar are some of the flagship places where you can get the best fish fries. These are small roadside cafes that are in business for generations and have successfully maintained the food quality for which the pull crowd even today.
Photo by Soumyadeep Paul
Luchi and Aloordum
Luchi and Aloordum is the perfect morning breakfast in Bengali household. Even in the times of the health conscious generation—the deep fried puris and aloor dum (potato with spices) are loved by the foodies withstanding the threats of increasing weight or cholesterol. Sunday mornings are simply incomplete without this amazing platter.
There are many food stalls by the city streets that can serve you fresh and hot luchi and aloordam or cholar dal (lentils). If you ever visit the office areas such as Esplanade, Camac Street, Sector 5, BBD area in Kolkata, you will get the street foods easily where the office goers gather in flocks to try this amazing food in less than twenty bucks per plate.
Visit China Town: Get The Authentic Chinese Food
You will get two places in Kolkata serving authentic Chinese food from Chinese people. Once, this city was the home of more than 20,000 Chinese families which has now declined with the socio-economic drifts. At Tiretti Bazar area and China Town at Tangra- you can get the authentic Chinese cuisine. At the Tiretti Bazar area, try the morning breakfast with rice dumplings and hot chicken soups.
They start serving the food on the city stalls from around 5.30 am in the morning. Being the business center and office area, the food has become more popular and it’s cheaper unlike the posh Chinese restaurants offering the same food.
Your street food hoping in Kolkata is incomplete without the Moglai Paratha. Again the Anadi Cabin, Das Cabin, Mitra Café are some of the best places serving the best Moglai Paratha along with many other small eateries that are available in almost every here and there across the Bengal Capital.
Photo by Nupur Dasgupta
This Bengali term means to conclude with sweetness. When you are in West Bengal, you should explore the widest variety of sweets prepared here. Bengal has revolutionised its sweets which is now globally imported and appreciated. Try the rosogolla, misti doi, charar payesh, raabri, kheerkodom, charar jalebi, chocolate misti, ice-cream sandesh and more from the quintessential sweet shops of Kolkata.
So, these are of some of the finest street foods that are exclusively available only in Kolkata.
Featured Photo by kkalyan