Globetrotting On A Dime: Kolkata Eats

October 19, 2015

best kolkata street food


You’re a stylish jet-setter who’s committed to travel. You need to see, feel, taste, touch, but your coins are limited, so you don’t go as frequently as you would like to. You can’t afford to. But when you do go, you submerge yourself in the destination’s culture as much as you possibly can. Those are the globetrotters we’re talking to. Sound like you? Keep reading

Ah, India. The sights, sounds, smells, it can all be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start—but lucky for you, that’s why we’re here! We ate our way through Kolkata so you wouldn’t have to. I mean, you could, don’t get us wrong, but if you’re trying to avoid getting bitten by that vicious Delhi Belly Bug, take our advice. From street-side-favorites that we’ve tested over and over and over again to five-star dining that we can only afford when someone else is treating (what?), globetrotting on a dime is definitely possible in India’s second largest city.

ZEESHAN183, Sarat Bose Road, D. P. Park, Kolkata, India

best kolkata street foodKati Rolls Galore! Once the meat, spices and onion mixture is heaped onto the paratas, chili sauce is squeezed on and the rolls are tightly wrapped to perfection.

My grandmother, or didu as we call her, lives on Sarat Bose Road, so I cannot even begin to count the hundreds of times my brother and I have eaten here. The shopkeepers know us by name, and by order—we always tell them to hold off on the chili, which in India is basically a sin. Zeeshan has the most amazing rolls—the best late night, early morning, any time of the day Indian snack. It’s affordable, and the rolls are huge (about 10-11 inches long.) Each is filled with meat (chicken is my fave), onions, chilis, fried egg and spices, then rolled up in a perfectly buttered paratha (an Indian hybrid of a tortilla and puff pastry.) Sounds delish, right? It is! 


OH! CALCUTTA 4th Floor, Forum Mall, 10/3, Elgin Road, Elgin, Kolkata, India

best kolkata street foodWhen you visit, order: Luchi, Koshar Mangsho and Chingri Maacher Cutlet

If you fancy something a tad bit fancier, head over to Oh! Calcutta. Fair warning, the portions here are large so travel with a few growling bellies. The food of course is delicious and is presented on beautiful platters, but pace yourself. Bengali cuisine at its best, reminds you of down-home-cooking you’re certain to find in any region of the world. From Nedešćina, Croatia, to the sunny shores of Tobago, the trick is always to sample of little bit of everything before going HAM on your favorite thing. This way, even if you do get full, at least you can say you sampled it all. Do order the luchi (a fried Indian bread,) koshar mangsho (marinated chicken, it’s not spicy,) bhetki maach (fish, which I don’t usually do but at Oh! Calcutta, I make the exception) alu bhaja (fried potatoes with Indian spices) and my favorite, chingri maacher cutlet (shrimp cutlets). 



6 BALLYGUGE PLACEHouse No. 6, Ballygunge Place Rd, Kolkata, India

best kolkata street foodBengali Thali Platter at 6 Ballygunge Place. Look at how huge those Luchi are! Yum!

If you’re looking for an authentic, sit-down, multi-course Bengali meal, look no further than 6 Ballygunge Place. After our large religious celebrations or Pujas, it is customary to sit down with the whole fam and eat. Growing up with a Bengali family you learn to pace yourself because you know there are a hundred plates about to be set down in front of you, and 6 Ballygunge Place reminds me of all my fondest multi-course memories. Featuring a menu that caters to every taste, from vegetarian to meat lovers, highlights include: kasha mangsho (a traditional Bengali spicy mutton curry dish) and daab chingri (prawns cooked in mustard and coconut sauce, a staple amongst Bengalis, and cooked inside of a hollowed-out coconut).



GANGURAM SWEETSBou Bazaar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

best kolkata street foodA heaping 1kg of Mishti Doi from Ganguram Sweets. It may look like a lot, because it is, but trust us, you’ll devour it all within seconds!

Ganguram Sweets was established in 1885 and not only will satiate your desire for traditional Bengali sweets but will also introduce you to innovative variations of old favorites. Bengalis are known for their sweets, and while you cannot go wrong with any street vendor, or any sweets shop recommendation, Ganguram Sweets boasts Kolkata’s best mishti doi (sweet yogurt.) It’s very hard to find one that’s not too sweet with just the right hint of tart, but Ganguram hat it! The Mithai sweets shop also has a huge variety of sandesh flavors including mango and strawberry, milk chamcham, rasmadhuri and kesharia rasmalai. Remember not to fill up too much of the other stuff because Ganguram is definitely where you’ll be wanting to munch! Added bonus (as if you needed one) Ganguram is in a bazaar, meaning after you get your sweets there’s so much more to explore!


Eat Away, Globetrotters!


-Durga Ghosh

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