Calcutta is famous for three things- Culture, chaos and chaat! It is therefore a no brainer that the cultural capital of India should be home to a plethora of delicious, soul satisfying, economical reasons to escape the sultry summers and bustling traffic of the city.
Calcuttans take their food seriously and when its about their legendary, beloved street food, you would do well to know your macher jhols from jhal muris. Any true blue Calcuttan will have the fondest memories of strolling through pavements with a snack safely tucked in a paper cone.
New to the extensive street food culture of Calcutta or a Bengali out of home. This list is bound to leave you craving for a sumptuous snack or two straight from the streets and homes of Calcutta. Hot and spicy or sweet and chewy just the way Calcuttans like their fares!
One of the most iconic street foods of Bengal, it is another version of the famous pani puri or gol gappa from northern India, This water bomb will explode in your mouth with unique and contrasting flavours, served with meetha jol (sweet tamarind water), with a filling of mashed potatoes providing just the right amount of softness to the crunch of the hollow, round chip. Sweet water with a spicy hollow ball. A perfect round world it is!
2. Jhal Muri
The quintessential Bengali bhadra lok snack, jhal muri is basically rice krispies (muri) with an assortment of chopped vegetables thrown in. It makes for a light yet incredibly tasting snack All this at a throwaway price, you need to experience this with your buddies on a walking tour right away!
Place- Decker's lane
Craving for something oily and totally unhealthy yet super tasty and filling snack? When in Calcutta, satisfy this craving Calcutta style- with telebhaja! Essentially fried fritters or pakora, the most famous from them are beguni, alu'r chop, phuluri and peyaji.
4. Veg Chow
It is basically cool and hip for vegetable chowmein, of course highly Indianised. Its prepared in an Indian style wok gives it a unique flavour is stir fried noodles topped with chicken strips, fried scrambled eggs,
Word to the wise: Eat with caution. You might never want to stop!
5. Ghoti Gorom
Place- Princep Ghat
Every Bengali once made memories of summer evenings with Ghoti gorom sellers walking past dark lanes, while their bells/keys sound as they move. Ghoti Gorom basically is chanachur with chopped onions, chillies, peas and nuts. Try it while taking a quiet walk in Maidan after sunset.
6. Aakher Rosh
Place- Any street vendor really!
Sultry summer stress buster? Calcuttans swear by their aakher rosh!
It’s a sweet syrupy sugarcane juice which refreshes you like nothing else and shakes you out of lethargy when the calcuttan summers invite you to hibernate and sleep your way through it!
7. Macher jhol
Place- Bhajahori Manna
Macher jhol (fish curry) with rice is perhaps a staple of this city, owing to its wide spread sea food culture. Feeling a little lonesome? Knock at your neighbour's door and be assured of a great time bonding over the irresistible bowl of steaming macher jhol and rice!
7. Ghugni chaat
Place- Decker's lane
A typical Bengali dish, ghugni, is made of yellow dried peas or white peas. A spoonful of Ghugni will burst into a plethora of unthinkable flavours into your mouth.
8. Kochuri – Torkari – Jilebi
Place- Maharaja/ Maharani
What to do when you cannot make up your mind about having a sweet or a salty treat? You get a plate of Kochuri – torkari – jilebi!
The utterly bizarre combination works on the crazy formula of serving everything at the same time! You get hot, piping jalebis with a spicy, flavourful dish of vegetable along with a crispy flat bread. Stairway to heaven? Perhaps!
9. Dai Bora
They are deep fried vadas that are softened in water and then transferred in a bowl of beaten yoghurt. Mostly, the yoghurt is seasoned with masala and coriander leaves.. Dahi vadas are not harsh on your tummies and in fact, serve as nice snacks to have during the months of summer.
10. Alu kabli
The soul of Calcutta and perhaps the easiest to find in the by lanes of the city. This hot and spicy street food is light on the pocket and yet filling at the same time.
11. Batata Puri
Place- Camac Street
Deep fried chips are laid down first and topped with spiced potatoes, chopped onions, coriander, chillies. It’s quite like the Mexican nachos, only Indian, and way tastier.
Place- Yadav chanchur in Shova Bazar
A spicy mix of loads of dry ingredients and a fusion of different flavours combined together to create an unforgettable experience in every bite. It's tangy, sour, sweet and spicy, crunchy all at once!
13. Radha Ballavi
Place- Salt lake
A very popular breakfast dish of Kolkata, radha ballavis are fried, lentil-stuffed puris. They sell like wild-fire and are a huge rage in Calcutta. Radha Ballavi is usually served with ghugni/ chhola’r dal/ alu’r dom or alu’r torkari.
Place- Nakur Nandy
Made from rice flour, this exquisite item can be both sweet and salty. Depending on the type, they are either fried or steamed. In any case, your taste-buds are in for a treat.
15. Mishti Doi
Place- Bheem Nag and jadav chandra Das
Source: Shruti Nargundkar
Did you really think it would not feature on this list! Calcutta and mishti doi are quite synonymous to each other.It's a perfect blend of sugar and milk, cupped together for a tempting treat. Dig in, now!
So much to eat and so less time! What are you waiting for? Plan a last moment trip with your friends and bask in the culture of Calcutta through its culinary lineage!
Do let us know if we missed your favourite snack or your experience of the above mentioned ones in the comments below!