Okay, so maybe I feel a little homesick; or that would be putting it at its extreme. Let’s relent at: I am simply nostalgic and will like to describe something which you may already know – that is, Kolkata. Also known as the city of joy (though I still haven’t figured out that part properly) is a cheap place to live and eat, especially roadside delicacies which are worth lusting over. But before you move on to the next article or the next big news update, let me tell you that I am no outsider giving information second-hand or by some online research (though that is the first thing that came to my mind, pardon). On the contrary, I will be speaking from my own experience and my capacity of retention. Let me then, not waste any more time and dig in!
PhuchkaYou want to call it ‘Panipuri’, or maybe ‘Golgappa’ if you are a Delhiite (which I currently am), but I would like to tell you that none of them holds even a candle in front of Phuchka. Invariably you will ask why – so the answer to that is the recipe. There is usually no peppermint in the water and God! There is no sweet chutney. It is pure tamarind water with lots of spices and grams sprinkled. During summers doi Phuchka is also available. When you get down from your commute after a long summer day, head straight towards the nearest phucka wala and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
Luchi-Aloor domSunday mornings are apt for this one. Not only weekends but holidays and Pujos are also incomplete without this authentic Bengali cuisine. This is a somewhat similar rendition of what is called ‘puri’ and that is one of my favourite bread preparations as well, but Luchi will be Luchi and the best place to try it would be in Fairlie Place near BBD Bag situated in central Calcutta.
Bhaat-mutton koshaBengali food is incomplete without bhaat, that is boiled rice. And hard-core non-vegetarians cannot think of a meal without meat, preferably red meat, especially during Durga puja which comes around early to mid-October. The weather is perfect for a heavy meal and we Bengalis anyway just need an excuse for sumptuous food. Wink Wink!
SingaraThe Bengali version of ‘samosa’. But there are some variations to it. During winters the ones in Burrabazar area puts ample amount of cauliflower and green peas with the usual mashed potato. With a special chai, singaras become a snack to die for.
RadhabollobiThe hype around Kolkata sweets are not untrue (even though I don't have a sweet tooth). ‘Ganguram’ is the place to go for such cravings. But their specials menu will have to have Radhabollobi, which again is prepared using flour, though very different from Luchi. There are multiple outlets of ‘Ganguram’ all over the city; one just needs a google map and a willing heart.
Telebhajalife will have no meaning without telebhaja in Kolkata. It is basically a deep fried snack with a filling of diverse things – ranging from vegetables like eggplant, potato, beets to non-vegetarian options of egg, whipped fish and meat. The evening addas always have to have those with gorom cha. P.S – For more happening sweets like the conventional rosogolla or slightly lesser known but mouth-wateringly tasty jol bhora sandesh you cannot skip Balaram Mallik O Radharaman Mallik. Not to worry, they have a lot of outlets as well. Just come down to the city of joy, the food sure will make you joyous.