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Aug 02, 2017 at 11:17

For most of us kids and our families, it’s always air conditioned, well lit up restaurants, that we visit. But Kolkata is a city where people believe in street food. Living in Kolkata has been a transformation, for somebody like me who was a Delhi boy. Harshvardhan Pandey writes

Kolkata is the city of finger licking, addictive street food. The ‘chaats’ here are different because of the different kinds of spices they use. One of the famous ‘chaat’ here, is the ghugni puchka, which is just golgappa without the water, instead, there is a hot mixture of white peas served on it. Though, they have golgappas here, the taste is not the same as Delhi’s. Chola bhatura becomes lucchi sabzi, but instead of chole, a gravy of potatoes and tomato is served with it; which has a unique taste to it, you probably won’t like it the first time you eat it but with time, you will begin to relish it. You take a stroll on any road in Kolkata, be it the iconic Elgin road, or Park Street, or some low profile street, you will find a kathi roll or a masala muri shop (which is just bhel puri without the chutney, I still don’t understand the concept behind it). Due to the popularity of the egg roll and chicken roll, tourists also try rolls in apparently shabby looking places, but when they take a bite of this heavenly treat, they are often left shocked. The rolls of Kolkata are one of its prized possessions.

There are other multiple street foods. Fried fish fingers, and for those vegans out there; there is fried brinjal or eggplant (called baigun bhaja) and chilli. A lot of people here in Kolkata are vegans, so for them, the variety is less, but that too is great. A fun fact: the British Prime Minister David Cameron ate fried pakoras at a street side shop, and even today, when you go there, there are photos of the Prime Minister and the owner. That’s the influence of Kolkata’s street food. The rich and the poor, eat the street food. There is a shop named Sharma tea stall, which is famous for their saffron tea and breakfast.

Though there is a place in Kolkata that is called China town, it is filled with shops that sell authentic Chinese food. Sandesh is a sweet which is a specialty of west Bengal. There are multiple flavours available. There is a shop at College Street, which packed and delivered sandesh for Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan’s wedding.

Street food or small shops is what Kolkata strives on. People don’t believe in show off, they believe in the quality of food they eat, not where they eat. That’s what makes the city beautiful and great in its own way. I think Delhiites know how to party, but Kolkatans know how to celebrate with what they have.

Harshvardhan Pandey
Student Reporter