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Kolkata Street Food: An Eternal Love Story

Kolkata Street Food: An Eternal Love Story

Street food dwell in people’s hearts, souls, and of course, the tongue! Unlike restaurants, Kolkata street food provides us with perennial support filling our stomachs and heart amidst the day’s hectic schedule.

The culinary hotspot in the eastern part of India and the queen of an array of lip-smacking street food, Kolkata is the paradise for all gourmets. Amidst the bustling cacophony, we see people waiting patiently for their turn at their favorite street food corners. From North Indian, South Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, Bengali to Tibetan, you name it, and Kolkata has it all!  


And this whole range surely has left you bewildered as to which one you will start with! 

Here’s a curated list for you that lists down the top 7 street foods of Kolkata along with its popular food joints.

Kolkata Street Food – Phuchka:

Kolkata Street Food - Phuchka

Talking about street food and not mentioning Phuchka, is it even possible?! Popularly known as Paanipoori in Maharashtra, Golgappe in Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab, Phuchka is undoubtedly the queen of all street foods. 

They are tiny, deep-fried flatbread balls of semolina filled with a tantalizing mix of mashed potatoes, spices, and chickpeas. And these are dipped into the tangy water of tamarind, coriander, lime, and mint. The way this mouth-watering delight explodes and slurps in the mouth is just heavenly! 

Everyone’s favorite Phuchkas are available in every locality with a good number of known, loyal customers. Each ‘Phuchkawala’ or the vendor has their own way of making them, and at the customer’s request, he can make them spicy or tangy. Also, don’t forget to ask for an extra Phuchka or “phau” with a smile!

Best places to try- 

Dilipda’s phuchkas in Vivekananda Market, Krisnakant Sharma’s stall in Vardan Market, Kiosk near Triangular Park, Ram Gupta’s Stall at Victoria Memorial, Nankuram Gupta’s stall at Russell Street, Bada Phuchkawalla at New Alipore.

Kolkata Street Food – Kochuri Alurdom:

Kolkata Street Food - Kochuri Alurdom

A popular meal in Bengali households, Kochuri-Alurdom is a puri stuffed with dal served with moderately spicy potato curry. This hearty breakfast is a great option to kickstart the day and is extremely pocket-friendly!

Best Places to try

Maharaj at Sarat Bose Road, Balwant Singh Dhaba at Harish Mukherjee Road Bhowanipore, Calcutta Stock Exchange at Dalhousie, Maharani at Sarat Bose Road, Arun Tea Stall at Shakespeare Sarani, Putiram Sweets at Surya Sen Street, Sree Hari Mistanna Bhandar opposite Asutosh College.

Kolkata Street Food – Kathi Roll:

Kolkata Street Food - Kathi Roll

These delicious, flaky, tender, and layered paranthas rolled up with juicy, roasted fillings of egg, mutton, chicken, or paneer, irresistible spices, sauces, and veggies are among the most-loved and heartiest street foods of Kolkata. Kathi rolls need to be served hot, and once the layered paranthas are prepared, one needs to speed up to assimilate the whole filling into it evenly. 

Widely known as ‘rolls’ in Kolkata, Kathi Rolls are said to have originated in 1930s Kolkata at a popular restaurant mainly for the British officials to minimize the use of hands. At the same time, they savored kebabs and also for portability. Soon after its origin, Kathi Rolls made its way across the Indian cities with some variations and twists. 

Although this delicious treat was born to satisfy the demands of the British, it occupies a major place in the heart of Kolkata. This delicious, wholesome treat can be enjoyed as an evening snack or dinner.

Best Places to try

Nizam’s restaurant at New Market, Kusum’s at Park Street, Zaika at Park Street, Anamika Roll Centre near Triangular Park, Hot Kathi Roll at Park Street.

Kolkata Street Food – Jhalmuri:

Kolkata Street Food - Jhalmuri

The easy and quick munchy, which even made its way to the pages of the Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel “The Namesake”, is a fine concoction of puffed rice, finely chopped onions and tomatoes, peanuts, coriander, sev, coconut, and spices all mixed with the pungent mustard oil. 

The final outcome is wrapped in small, conical newspapers or ‘thongas’. When served with piping hot, this light, breezy go-to snack provides the best company to the quintessential adda(chitchat) with friends!  

Best Places to try

Triangular Park, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Lord Sinha Road, etc.

Kolkata Street Food – Mughlai Parantha:

Kolkata Street Food - Mughlai Parantha

A deep-fried rectangular-shaped parantha folded like an envelope and filled with egg, chicken or mutton keema, onions, and a whole lot of spices- that is Mughlai Parantha for you. 

Just like Kathi Rolls, Mughlai Paranthas, too, have a rich history of its origin. Bored of usual paranthas and keema, Emperor Jahangir ordered his cook from Bardhaman Adil Hafiz Usman to cook something unique and magical for him. And then the scrumptious delight that he created came to be known as the Mughlai Parantha. 

Its recipe was kept a secret from the khansamah in Old Delhi and Lucknow. Still, it was fostered for several generations in his own family until their later descendants started selling the dish across Bengal during the British rule and occupied a little corner in the people’s hearts. 

Best Places to try

Anadi Cabin at Esplanade and also Basanta Cabin at College Street. 

Kolkata Street Food – Telebhaja:

Kolkata Street Food - Telebhaja

Unlike “pakoras,” which are sold like hotcakes in monsoon throughout India, Telebhaja is like a permanent evening member in the Bengali household. This crispy, deep-fried snack is prepared by dipping various items like onion rings, potato, pumpkin, egg, fish, mutton, and even eggplant in a besan or cornflour batter. 

This is undoubtedly a Kolkata classic without which heated political debates are incomplete!

Best Place to try

Kalika Mukhorochak at College Street

Kolkata Street Food – Momos:

Kolkata Street Food - Momos

Just like all other loved street foods, this wonderful Tibetan delight holds a special place in our hearts. Like wontons or dumplings, Momos are steamed or fried buns with vegetables, chicken, pork, and fish stuffings. Momos are served here with a piping hot soup and the perfect sauce for accompaniments at a very reasonable price, making it the very definition of comfort food!

Best Places to try

Rabindra Sadan Metro Exit, China Town, Tiretti Bazaar, Camac Street, Jadavpur 8B.

Here’s wishing you good luck for unraveling the gastronomic delight in Kolkata that will be exhausting yet will leave you craving for more!

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