Mention the words Kolkata and food in the same sentence, and most Indians will start salivating on cue. While the bigger cities like Mumbai and Delhi may have the widest variety of restaurants, it’s hard to beat the West Bengal capital for the tastiest cuisine.
Take it to the Streets
If it’s a snack that you’re after, then you can’t go past Jhal Muri. A crunchy blend of puffed rice, lentils, coconut and chutney all rolled up in a handy paper cone. You’ll find it on most street corners in Kolkata, but for something special try the vendor outside Menoka cinema on Lake Temple Road. Just watch out as it’s seriously addictive, there’s a rumor that even the Queen of England craves a Jhal Muri from time to time.
For a tasty meal on the run, Kusum’s on Park Street is a street side institution serving up piping hot kati rolls made to order. Try an egg and chicken roll, wrapped in a crispy paratha, the spicy filling will satisfy your cravings in a hurry.
Last but not least is the local’s snack of choice, phuchka. Like Pani Puri found in northern India, the bite sized puri comes with filled with an array of tangy and spicy fillings from yoghurt or tamarind sauce to mashed potatoes. The best way to discover your phukcha of choice is to just try as many as you can. Start your phuchka journey at Kali Bari on Southern Avenue.
Mustard is the spice of choice for Bengali cuisine, so no visit would be complete without trying a mustard infused dish, for an authentic mustard fish curry head to 6 Ballygunge Place. For home style Bengali delicacies that are easy on the budget, Bhojohori Manna serves sensational dishes like the fragrant Daab Chingri or coconut prawn curry.
If your taste buds are up for an experiment, then it’s worth visiting Bohemian for Bengali fusion cuisine. Their creamy chilli cheese baked crab is to die for with bags of flavor and just enough mustard for Bengali tang. If you’re in the mood to splurge then head to the world-famous Oh! Calcutta that recreates traditional recipes with painstaking care. And last but not least, for the seafood aficionados, it’s hard to go past the seafood thali at the Peerless Inn for a smorgasbord of the best local cuisine. The meal starts subtlety with a smoky, succulent slice of eggplant before an array of local specialties is placed before you, culminating in the delicately spiced mustard fish.
Finish on a Sweet Note
No Indian meal is complete without something sweet, and in Kolkata you can’t go past Mishti Doi. This sweetened yoghurt is simply divine, traditionally made in an earthen cup, it has just enough tang to soothe the palate without being sickly sweet. You can find Mishti Doi almost everywhere in Kolkata, try Ganguram for a sweet hit on the go, or head back to Bhojohori Manna for their divine Aam (mango) specialty.
Note: Photos in this article are courtesy of Wikipedia