I’m sure many would agree that half the fun of a vacation is gone if you don’t get good food. So here’s a low-down on Kolkata’s ever-vibrant street food scene. Most of these places are well-known local favourites so for exact location all you have to do is ASK.
Jhaal Muri: This is by far one of THE most popular and pocket-friendly street food in Kolkata. You will find a muriwala at every nook and corner of Kolkata but some of the more famous ones are at Lord Sinha Road Crossing, Pratik (Kankurgachi), Russel Street and Ice Skating Rink (Park Circus).
Puchka: This is another hot favourite amongst Calcuttans. Hygiene is not a priority for those who love this sweet or spicy treat. But you can always opt for the ‘mineral water’ version which some believe is not as tasty. The best places to sample this yummy treat is: Russel St, BK Pal Crossing, Lighthouse Cinema (New Market), Verdean Market (Camac Street), Kwality (Salt Lake), Lake (Southern Avenue). For the ‘sanitized’ version you can visit Haldiram’s (Ballygunge) or Shiv Sagar Restaurant (Camac Street).
Kathi Rolls: Hot kathi rolls are a filling street food option if you don’t mind the oil. The ones that have been around since time immemorial are Golden Spoon (Middleton Street), Zaika (Park Circus), Kusum Rolls (Apeejay House Park St), Sher-e-Punjab (Theatre Rd), Roll Centre (Camac St) and Anamika Roll Centre (New Alipore Triangular Park).
Bhel: This is also a much enjoyed street food. The best place to get this is Flavors (Lansdowne Rd), Lake (Southern Avenue), Ice Skating Rink (Park Circus) and Khidki (Alipore).
Momos or Dimsums: Another hot favourite. Momo I Am at Lake Gardens, near Lord crossing is a small joint with hardly four tables but the queue for their sumptuous momos often becomes a traffic stopper. Their chicken and pork momos have become a hot favourite with south Kolkata residents for whom the momo street on Elgin Road is a bit too far.
Continental delights: Be it the club sandwich or chilli chicken sausages, Hungry Tide at Purna Das Road near Gariahat-Golpark is a great place to grab a quick bite.
Chhola Bhatura: This started out essentially as a ‘North Indian’ dish but has luckily seeped into most parts of India. Here’s where you can try a plate or two of delicious chhola bhaturas in Kolkata: Mission Café (Mission Row near Chandni Chowk Metro Station), Lighthouse Cinema (New Market) and Kwality Restaurant (Park Street).
Club Kachori: This breakfast favourite consists of bite-sized deep fried puris served with spicy aloo sabzi. You might want to try Gangaur (Russell Street), Chagani (Burrabazar), Chitrakut (Girish Park), Nasta (Kankurgachi) or Gupta Brothers (Ballygunge and Alipore). It is usually had with piping hot jalebis.
Samosas: These are best at Tiwari Brothers (Burrabazar, Minto Park), Annaras (Theatre Road) and Mithai (Park Circus).
Late-night eateries: If you happen to be out and hungry after 11pm you can grab a bite at these places: Azad Hind Dhaba (Ballygunge and Sector V Salt Lake), Bhowanipore Sardarji, Jai Hind Dhaba (Lansdowne Road), Infinity Towers (Sector V Salt Lake), Egg And Cheese Maggi (opp Gokhale Memorial Girls’College, Bhowanipore) and Gautam’s (EM Bypass).
Bakeries: You won’t be able to stay away from the sweet smelling aromas of the bakeries in this part of the world! Flurys (Park Street) & Nahoum’s (New Market) have been around for eons! They have a distinct old bakery taste in their products. You can’t get enough of the hard sugar icing pastries here. Kookie Jar (Rawdon St, South City Mall, Alipore, City Centre Salt Lake) and Cakes (Rawdon St) are relatively contemporary in their décor and taste.
Paan: Round off a perfect meal with a paan from the following places: Shibuji (Theatre Road), Ghanti Wala (Alipore), JP Paan (Burrabazar) and Flavors (Lansdowne Road).
So go on, hog till you drop!