For anyone who embraces the idea of eating local, street-side delicacies, a visit to Kolkata is an imperative item on the bucket list. The city of joy not only offers local delicacies, but it also has its own versions of snacks from all over the country. With even a hundred bucks in the pocket one can treat oneself to mouth watering tid-bits. High on taste, low on cost, Kolkata is arguably the reigning queen, when it comes to delectable local food!
While the puchka and rasgulla are clearly the most popular local eats, here’s listing some of the other favourite delicacies that are MUST try!
#1. Roll: Available at most roadside fast food eateries, rolls have been local favourites since ages. A very basic roll is an egg roll which is a flaky, crispy rolled flour paratha, filled with a layer of egg, chopped cucumber, onion and chili. The stuffing is often dressed with ketchup or lemon juice. There are various other options of rolls – chicken egg, mutton egg, double chicken-double egg … it’s a long list that also has a couple of vegetarian and paneer options. Where to find the best rolls? Park Street, Vivekananda Park. Prices vary between 25-40 bucks per roll.
#2. Telebhaja: The most pocket friendly yet lip smacking snack, telebhaja with muri (puffed rice) is soul food for Bengalis. ‘Telebhaja’ literally means ‘fried in oil’. These fritters or pakoras are made by coating the main ingredient in besan, followed by deep frying. A variety of vegetables like slices of brinjal (beguni), potato (aloor chop), onion (pyaaji) can be used for making telebhajas. Among the best joints for good telebhaja is the one outside the Jatin Das Park Metro station. In fact, a telebhaja shack can easily be found at the corner of every other street in Kolkata.
#3.Momos: Finding its way down from the hills of Darjeeling, this Tibetan delight has established itself well on the list of favourite snacks in Kolkata, which is quite evident from the increasing number of momo vendors propping up in every nook and corner of the city. Served with a light soup and a hot spicy sauce, momos are commonly stuffed with chicken or vegetables and are sold either steamed or fried. Pocket pinch? Rs 40-50 per plate.
#4. Chana Bhatura: As mentioned, Kolkata has its own version of dishes from around India. The much loved chole bhature from the north is here referred to as chana bhatura. The bhaturas here are smaller in size, puffier and oilier. The chana bhatura is usually accompanied by salad and a pickle. A plate of two bhaturas usually comes for 20 bucks. Visit Dacre Lane or the New Market area for the best.
#5. The ‘Kolkata’ biryani: Yes! The city has its very own, unique version of Biryani, as any true-blooded Bengali will point out. The feature that makes the Kolkata biryani stand out from the others is, the big chunky potato pieces that come along with it. Some shops even serve a boiled egg along with the mutton/chicken. The orgasmic aroma that wafts out of a biryani shop ensures that it is on the favourite-dishes list for most Bengalis. Aminia, Arsalan & Dhaka Biryani are the best known joints for Biryani.
#6. Chowmein: Reflecting the influence of Chinese cuisine on the city, chowmein in Kolkata is made hot and spicy, in contrast to the way the Chinese make it. Mostly made with chicken and egg, it is also topped with tomato ketchup and cucumber juliennes. A plate costs Rs. 30-35. Many street side stalls offer chili chicken as an accompaniment to chowmein.
#7.Kulfi: Ending the list on a sweet note, kulfi is Kolkata’s very own ice cream! Found in a variety of flavours like mango kulfi, fruit kulfi, malai kulfi, etc. the kulfi has been a favourite generation after generation. The tastiest kulfi in Kolkata is available at Camac Street opposite to Vardhaan Market. Typical cost – Rs. 50.