Kolkata food has often been synonymous with fish and rosogulla for the residents of other states. Yet this lazy, colourful city has much more to offer! Let me compile for you the gastronomic treats it has to offer. And no, rosogulla and fish curry will not feature in the list! The next time you visit the ‘city of joy’, be sure to try out these delightful culinary feasts.
This goes for all the biryani lovers out there! Kolkata prepares its biryani with an alu (potato) and differs from the Lucknow, Hyderabadi or Delhi biryani in its use of exotic spices. The best places to scoop up plates of Kolkata biriyani are Arsalan at Park Circus, Aminia at New Market and Nizam’s at New Market.
Kolkata’s counterpart of gol-gappas and panipuri, puchka is the indisputable King of street foods. Lip-smacking to say the least, puchkas are stuffed with peppery mashed potatoes and dipped in tamarind water. Come, gulp down your share at Vivekananda Park near Southern Avenue, Vardaan Market or in front of the historical Victoria Memorial.
Sondesh is a delicious Bengali dessert made with milk, chenna, kheer and sugar. Available in a wide range of varieties, sondesh completes a Bengali meal. Some shops also tweak the recipe to include chocolate-sondesh. The best bets to try this delicacy are Girish Chandra Dey and Nakur Chandra Nandy near Hatibagan, Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mullick near Bhawanipur.
Savour a fried fish like you have never before with this special, crispy, marinated dish! These are nothing like the usual fish steaks and you can indulge yourself in Kolkata’s fish fries with a dollop of tomato and mustard sauce. You can find numerous stalls selling piping hot fish fries. Try them out at Mitra Cafe, Bijoli Grill and Basanta Cabin.
Luchi and Alur Dom
This is typically the special Bengali breakfast consisting of fluffy, white, pristine luchis made of flour and an enticing hot and spicy curry made of potatoes. You can relish the perfectly puffed luchis with other dishes like cholar daal or mangsho (meat). Try them out at Bhojohori Manna or make them at home, for it’s easy to cook!
If you are a chole fan (chickpea dish), then this one is a must try for you. Best served with pooris which is more well known as luchis in Bengal, this will top your list of favorites, once you get to know it. It’s again easy to make and super delicious! You will find it any regular restaurant in Kolkata or if you are lucky enough to be at someone’s home out there, you just might be served with this delicacy.
Another sweet delicacy from Bengal, this one looks a bit like jalebi from North India, but the Kolkata version is made out of cottage cheese with the texture of a gulab jamun. It is thicker, softer and juicier than jalebis and to simply put, Chanar Jilipi is goodness of two sweets combined and transformed into a heavenly delight.