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Kolkata Street Foods: There’s a reason why Kolkata is referred to as the ‘City of Joy’. Though historians believe Kolkata (then Calcutta) has been inhabited for thousands of years, its documented history begins only after the arrival of Job Charnock on behalf of the British East India Company in 1690. Since then, the city has undergone various social, cultural, and economic changes, shaping the character of what modern Kolkata is today. Kolkata’s food also has a major role to play in shaping the city’s vibe. If you explore, you will come across different types of dishes with different origins, hinting at the cultural impressions each community has left over the years. You will find Bengali food of West Bengal and East Bengal (now Bangladesh), Anglo-Indian cuisine, Indo-Chinese foods, Parsi cuisine, Sheherwali food culture, Mughlai cuisine, Bohri foods, and more – each has a significant spot on the food map of Kolkata. It stands true for the street foods of Kolkata as well.

Kolkata Street Foods: What Is So Special About The Street Foods Of Kolkata?

Rightly referred to as the melting pot of cultures, street foods of Kolkata have a strong influence of Chinese, Marwari, Nepali, and various other cultures. Take the classic phuchkas for instance. Phuchkas and pani puris are the same or not has been a constant question for all. Kalyan Karmakar explains that they aren’t the same. While they might look similar, “the puchka casing is flakier than the hard and crunchy one of puris”. Next, unlike the ragda and bundi of pani puri, phuchka is served with spicy aloo filling and tangy tamarind water.

Koyel Roy Nandy, co-head chef at Sienna Calcutta, weighs in, “What I find unique about Kolkata food is its versatility. Here, food doesn’t restrict itself to Bengali cuisine. It is more about different communities, their use of ingredients, flavours, and strong cultural influence. It is the same for the street foods as well. You will find a wide variety of street foods across the city, each carrying an interesting history and story of its origin. In fact, each era has left a dominating influence on the foods, making the cuisine stand out in the lot.”

Get ready to drool! In this article, we’re taking you on a mouthwatering journey through Kolkata’s most legendary street foods that have been wowing foodies for years. Get ready to discover the hidden gems of Kolkata’s street food scene!

Tandoori Veg Kathi Roll is extremely versatile.

Photo Credit: iStock

Here Are 12 Top Street Food Places You Have To Try In Kolkata:

1. Phuchka:

How can we even imagine starting the list without mentioning phuchka. The all-time favourite of every person in the city, you will find the dish being widely sold at every nook and corner. While phuchka is claimed to have its roots in Bengal, what makes it interesting is the fact that many puchka vendors in Kolkata hail from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and are not Bengali, bringing a new perspective to the dish.

Phuchka places you must try:

  • Near Vivekananda Park, Southern Avenue
  • Hathibagan, Shyambazar
  • Outside Dakshinapan, Dhakuria

2. Kachori:

Did you know, the kachori culture in Kolkata has been there for years now? Be it the khasta kachoris or the regular ones, these delicacies will instantly remind you of the streets of Lucknow and Varanasi. But what makes it unique is the sabzi served along. Made with very Bengali spices, these sabzis give kachoris a layer of flavour and uniqueness. You will easily find kachori-sabzi at the sweet shops or street carts at every nook and corner of the city.

Kachori places you must try:

  • Badri Ki Kachori, Bara Bazar, Jorasanko
  • Maharaj Snacks, Deshopriyo Park
  • Sharma Snacks Center, Bhawanipur

3. Momo:

If you think momo is the most popular street food in Delhi, then dear reader, you must try the ones available in Kolkata. From street-side shops to local eateries, this Nepali delicacy works as a major attraction for customers. As per food experts, these momos, served with clear soup and spicy chutney, are juicy, soft, and considered the closest replica of the ones prepared in the Nepali community. Check out the momo stalls in Kolkata, you will find various unique versions of the dish, including fish momo, kurkure momo, gondhoraj momo, and more.

Momo places you must try:

  • Tibetian Delights, Hamro Momo, Momo Plaza at Suburban Hospital Road, Elgin Road
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Photo Credit: iStock

4. Chaat:

Papdi chaat, bhelpuri, dahi vada, sev puri, samosa chaat, and more – these delicacies never fail to win hearts at any given point. While different types of chaat have different regional origins, you will find them all in Kolkata, with some added uniqueness. Kolkata is big on chaat, but unlike the ones available in North India, here we find lesser use of dahi and more use of roasted Bengali masala (bhaja masala), made with cumin-coriander-red chilli. This makes the chaats crispier and drier than the ones available outside the city.

Chaat places you must try:

  • The street-side shops in Shyam Bazar, Hathi Bagan areas

5. Chop:

A Kolkata food trail is never complete without savouring some hot and crispy chop. Bengal’s very own pakoda (or fritters), the chop is basically a spicy mashed filling, dipped in besan batter and fried until golden and crispy. You can find different types of chops across the city. From the quintessential aloo chop and peyaji to the rich mutton chop, egg chop, and fish chop, there’s something available for every type of palate.

Chop places you must try:

  • Apanjan, Kalighat
  • Mitra Cafe, Shobhabazar
  • Das Cabin, Gariahat Bazar

6. Cutlet:

A dish possibly with an English origin, cutlet in Kolkata is basically fish or chicken fillet, wrapped in desi masalas and breadcrumbs and deep-fried until crispy. It is served with ketchup, kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce), and salad for evening snacking.

Cutlet places you must try:

  • Chittoda’s Suruchee Restaurant, James Hichek Sarani
  • Shankar’s Fry, Panditia Road
  • Allen Kitchen, Jatindra Mohan Avenue

7. Chow Mein:

If you are in Kolkata, you must try chow mein available at the corner of the streets across the city. This desi-style Chinese hakka noodle has a dedicated fan base, thronging the street carts in the evening for some indulgence. Chow mein in Bengal has both veg and non-veg versions and is served with ketchup and salad on the top.

Chow mein places you must try:

  • Restaurants and street carts in Territi Bazar and China Town
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8. Churmur:

If you have tried phuchka, then churmur is a must-have. It is basically a phuchka mishmash, served like an aloo chaat. Here, the crispy papdis are crushed and mixed with the aloo filling and tamarind water and served on a plate to savour. Some churmur-wallahs in Kolkata drizzle sweet chutney on the top.

9. Aloo Kabli:

To put it simply, it is a Bengali aloo chaat that involves no oil in the preparation. You just need to chop boiled aloo and mix with overnight soaked black chana, boiled safed matar, onion, green chilli, freshly chopped coriander, roasted cumin-coriander powder, red chilli, black salt, and enough tamarind water. Trust us, it’s a mass favourite any time of the day.

10. Ghugni:

To put it simply, it is a Bengali-style ragda, spruced up with various types of spices in it. Ghugni, also popular in Bihar, is cooked safed matar, served with spices, tamarind water, onion, green chilli, and coriander on top. You can have it as is or pair it with pav, roti, and paratha. Ghugni can easily be prepared at your home as well.

ghugni

Visit any chai stall in the Central and North Kolkata in the morning, you will find patrons of malai toast thronging the place for a delicious breakfast. Wonder what the dish is? It is a local bread loaf, cut into two slices, toasted on tawa, and served with malai (the top layer of boiled milk) and white sugar sprinkled on the top. Try this dish someday to understand how the simplest of ingredients can come together to make a delicious dish.

Malai Toast places in Kolkata:

  • Tea stalls at Dacres Lane and Old Post Office Street

12. Kathi Roll:

And how can we miss kathi roll? The iconic street food of Kolkata offers the goodness of crispy parathas and juicy chicken and mutton kebabs in one dish. All you need to do is, get it hot and enjoy.

Kathi Roll places in Kolkata:

  • Hot Kathi Roll and Kusum Roll Centre at Park Street

Happy indulgence, everyone!