Kolkata Food Guide : Paradise for Culinary Delight
Kolkata, the City of Joy, has many things to offer to locals and tourists alike. Food is of course one of the major highlights of this metropolitan city. Like most other cities in India, Kolkata offers a wide variety of food options. But, Kolkata is best known for its local Bengali cuisine and why not? Where else can you have Sorshe Ilish ! How about a Food Crawl through the streets of Kolkata?
If you don’t spot a skinny hawker walking around and shouting ‘Ei Jhal Muri, Jhal Muri’ then you are probably not in Kolkata. It is Kolkata’s most popular street food and can be found at railway stations, bus stops, busy market places, outside office complexes and almost everywhere.
Jhal Muri is made of puffed rice, chili powder, raw mustard oil and other ingredients like chopped boiled potatoes, coriander leaves and more. This spicy mixture served in paper packets comes with a starting price of INR 5.
Pani Puris of Mumbai and Golgappas of Delhi become Puchkas in Kolkata. Puchakas are round fried hollow puris filled with a mixture of tamrind water, mashed potatoes, chaat masalas, chilis, onions, chickpeas and more. You will barely find any restaurant serving Puchkas, you have to hit the streets for it. Prices start at INR 10 for a serving of 6.
Tele Bhajas are yet another specialty of Kolkata. You can literally find hundreds and hundreds of street side stalls offering these fried delicacies. They aren’t just simple fries. The ingredients are boiled, smashed, dipped in slurry of gram flour and then fried. Stop being conscious about your waistline for at least once and sample Aalur Chop (uses smashed boiled potato), Peyaji (uses chopped onion), Beguni (uses sliced brinjal) and more! Prices start from INR 3 per piece.
Rolls (Mutton, Chicken and Egg)
Though they are not really traditional Bengali fare, these are quite popular in the evenings. The meat rolls are parathas (breads made of maida, the all purpose flour) fried in oil and rolled with chicken or mutton pieces inside it. Egg rolls are slightly different with egg on one side of the paratha and then rolled with chopped onion, cucumber and green chilies. Prices can vary from place to place but starts at INR 12 for an egg roll and INR 22 for a chicken or mutton roll.
Bengali in name, Bengali in soul and Bengali in taste, this restaurant (especially the Ekdalia branch) in Kolkata serves you food that you will remember for years. Shukto, Jhinge Aalu Posto, Topshe Sonar Kellar, Ilish Mach Bhaja, Pabda Sorshe Jhol, Bhetki Sorshe and Bagda Chingri – how much ever you eat here, your taste buds will revolt against you for more! Add more in the form of desserts – Aam Doi and Langcha! Another specialty of this restaurant is Dab Chingri. You cannot afford to miss this preparation that reflects the true essence of Bengali cuisine.
6 Ballygunge Place
If your first meal in Kolkata was at Bhojohori Manna, your second one must be at 6 Ballygunge Place. This popular restaurant, which serves authentic bengali food on banana leaves, is no longer limited to Kolkata. It can be found in other states and countries. What do you get? The list is too long but to name a few, Galda Chingri Chiney Kabab, Chingrir Bati Chorchori, Dab Chingri, Shankarpuri Kankra, Kankra Gal Pethechi, Kankrar Jhal, Bhetki Paturi, Bhapa Ilish, Tel Koi and Chital Macher Peti Roast are a few that you don’t want to miss!
Sweets of Kolkata
Please! If someone tells you that Haldiram is Kolkata’s best sweet shop, that person is not from Kolkata! Haldiram sweets are not Bengali sweets and they can never be. Bengali sweets have their own soul. The Rassogolla of Kolkata is the undisputed king of sweets. When in Kolkata, try not to miss the extraordinary array of sweets. Here are our personal favorites – Rassogollas at K.C. Das in Esplanade, Sandesh at Bowbazar’s Bhim Nag, Kadapak Sandesh at Girish & Nakur located close to Bethune College , and Doi at Shyambazar. Of course one cannot leave Ganguram Sweets and Bancharam Sweets from the list either.