Kolkata is one of the best cities in India which offers you an array of tasty food on the streets. Not only are its very own phuchka, jhal-muri, telebhaja famous – Kolkata has incorporated various street foods of not only other Indian states but other countries as well. You will also come across the name Dacres Lane in Kolkata. Well, this is situated in the Esplanade-Dalhousie crossing and the World Health Organization has certified that the food available on this joint is among the best street food available anywhere. Tasty as well as cheap, here is a list of 20 lip-smacking street foods available in Kolkata which you must never miss:
This, you might not have missed, but the ones who have been careless enough to miss this – don’t do it again. Also known as ‘golgappa’, the taste of phuchka is different. It is offered with a stuffing of mashed potatoes mixed with spices and a dash of ‘tetul-jol’ (tamarind pulp water). Phuchka stalls are present almost at every nook and corner of a street in Kolkata, but the best are available at Vivekananda Park and Gariahat.
2. Dahi Phuchka
This is a lot like phuchka but slightly different and not available everywhere. As the name suggests, it has a topping of curd mixed with spices which is delectable to the tongue. The best is available at Vivekananda Park! But during Durga Puja, it is prepared by many ‘phuchka-walas’.
An offspring of the phuchka family, this is made by crushing the phuchkas into the tasty mashed potato mixture. This is also very tasty and is served in paper packets and has to be eaten by itself. Have the phuchkas and then take this.
It is made by mixing puffed rice with various ingredients and spices and served in a paper bag. Tangy and filling, it is a Kolkata favourite when it comes to traveling in trains or as an evening snack. The sellers often carry the ingredients and packets with them in different alleys to sell, or, make a permanent shop. This is available everywhere in Kolkata and you don’t need to investigate too much! Maybe it’s just outside your apartment.
5. Shingara aka Samosa
This is a deep fried snack which is made out of flour and mixed vegetables used for the stuffing. Served hot, it has no competitor. You can have it with sauce or with nothing at all. Again, Shingara is available at every alley in Kolkata and does not have a specific outlet for the tastiest. But you can have from most shops and see which one fits your taste.
Kolkata is the destination for rolls. Kathi rolls, egg rolls, chicken rolls, mutton rolls, egg-chicken rolls, egg-mutton rolls, double egg roll, paneer roll, vegetable roll, tikia roll – the list will never stop. This has traveled from being an essentially street food to becoming an important part of restaurants. They are made by wrapping up chicken, mutton or other ingredients inside the ‘lachha paratha’ which looks like a rolled up paratha. It is one thing you must never miss out once you’re in Kolkata. Best places are Arsalan, Bedouin Roll’s Hut and Nizam’s to name the least.
These are deep-fried food items made like the traditional ‘pakodas’ but mostly with potatoes, brinjal, beetroot and various other vegetables. Under the generic name of telebhaja are many items named ‘aloor chop’, ‘beguni’, ‘vegetable chop’ and ‘mochar chop’. They can be eaten alone or with puffed rice. These are roadside stalls and therefore difficult to find the best, so it’s mainly based on the locality.
You must have tasted this outside Kolkata but the Ghugni available here is a thing of its own. Made from ‘matar dal’ this is a delicacy served with salad topping and chillies. Available almost everywhere this is a favourite with shoppers at Gariahat. This works as an appetizer, because the more you have it, the more you want to have it.
9. Bhel Puri
This is also made out of puffed rice, bhujia and has a topping of a tangy tamarind juice. You will get the best at the back gate of the Victoria Memorial. That doesn’t mean that its not good elsewhere – they are also available close to shopping and tourist destinations.
10. Papdi Chaat
This is served in a plate and made by using ‘papdi’ which is made out of flour and is a circular flat shaped crunchy ingredient and is served with other ingredients along with curd and coriander. You will get the best in the New Market area and Gariahat. But do try elsewhere because there are wonderful outlets which have their own magic recipe.
11. Bread-Butter Toast
This is made by stuffing the omelette inside two butter toasts. Very tasty and terribly cheap this is available again everywhere and specially in the mornings. Where to find them? Well, go out in the morning and you might be surprised to find that the man who makes ‘telebhaja’ in the evening is the one making bread-butter toast now.
This is mainly available in the mornings because many office goers have it as breakfast. It’s actually a form of ‘puri sabzi’ but the sabzi is replaces with ‘chola’ dal. You will also get ‘Chola Bhatura’ at these joints. A platter of Kachori will be easy on the pocket but extremely satisfying for the stomach as well as your taste-buds. The best is at Sharma Tea House.
13. Mughlai Paratha
They are parathas made with potato stuffing and served with a vegetable, salad, tomato/chili sauce and green chillies. It is essentially had as main course, so if you have it in the evening – be ready to skip dinner. It is very heavy and the parathas are huge in size. Tasty to the core, it is very cheap and can also be brought home and had.
The street kebabs are as good as the ones available at high-end restaurants. Specially the ones available at Lord’s and Arsalan. They serve these hot and spicy kebabs with green or red sauce and one plate can easily be shared with a friend. You will get all kinds of kebabs here – just name it and you get a plateful of it in front of you.
The Chinese food available at Kolkata is distinctively Kolkatan. It has been modified to a great extent catering to the needs of the people but you do get the original at many restaurants. But a plate of veg, non-veg, chicken, mutton and egg chowmein is available everywhere. It is a favourite with youngsters and office goers. Very cheap and quantitatively huge it serves as a great substitute for lunch. Available 24×7.
16. Momo and Thukpa
These are traditional Tibetan dishes but have been incorporated by Kolkata’s street food culture. You will get the best in the New Market area which come at very cheap rates. Steamed or with gravy, momo is a recent Kolkata favourite. It is a kind of dumpling, but originally did not have chicken or vegetables as the stuffing. That’s Kolkata’s input. Thukpa is a soup made out of noodles and chicken and is best if you want a light yet filling dish. Extremely tasty, these are the new additions to the street foods of Kolkata.
Well, the people of Kolkata cannot stay without a cuppa for more than an hour. Probably the most available is tea among the lot. You will also get ‘lebu-cha’ (lemon-tea), ‘raw-cha’ (tea without milk). You get them everywhere but if you want a tasty cup you can visit Sharma Tea Houses.
18. South Indian delicacies
You will occasionally notice a man making dosa or vada at a roadside stall. Idli, dosa, vada are the ones mostly found at these shops where demand is the highest for dosas. The taste has been slightly altered to meet the taste needs of the Kolkatans. You can try the original ones at restaurants but these will make a cheap and tasty substitute.
19. Coconut water, Lassi and sugarcane juice or ‘aakher rosh’
Lassi is a favourite and these are in demand during summers. The lassi is best found at roadside dhabas like Azad Hind Dhaba while aakher rosh is available everywhere. Coconut water is again found everywhere where a man carries the coconuts and serves you the water with a straw.
You cannot leave Kolkata without having sweets. While these are mainly used as dessert, you have to be particular about where you want to have it from. Roshogollas are divine; you must also try out rosho-malai, sandesh, nolen-gurer sandesh, kachagolla, gulab jamun, kaju-barfi, laddu, jilipi and many more. Must checkout for ‘mishtis’ – Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick, Hindustan Sweets, Kamdhenu’s, K.C. Das, Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra Nandy, Gupta Brothers and Sen Mahasay. I bet, you’ll remember Kolkata because of this.