Street Food One Must Try Kolkata During Festivities
If you are in Kolkota during Durga Puja, try the vast variety of street food to have taste of some authentic Bengali dishes.
In Kolkata, Durga Puja is not just a religious festival. It is a deep receptive experience that shows the echo of city to the rhythmic beatings of the dhak, mingled with the sound of conch shells and sounds of chants interspersed with the kanshor and a hundred different blarings.
The air is fragrant with the smell of blooms and flowers being offered to the ten-armed goddess and the sizzle of delicious being fired on roadside stalls or the sound of cutlery hitting eating utensils as innumerable chaats find their way from the vendors’ hands to a hungry soul’s mouth.Whether it is the sizzle of a Mughlai Paratha (fried flatbread with egg and minced meat stuffing), or the crunch of a freshly fried Alu Chop (potato croquette) or the smell of a freshly made Makha Muri (puffed rice mixed with spices and a host of other condiments), come Durga Pujo (or Dugga Pujo, if you are a Bong at heart) the streets of Kolkata get lined with number of food stalls selling wares to be eaten while out pandal-hopping.
Perhaps Durga Puja is the perfect time that enriches diversity in Kolkata’s street food culture that gets best exemplified as one dig into a plethora of quick edibles which have over the years made the city their home. The twinkling of larger-than-life pavilians become even more crowded. Thanks to the innumerable dinky street food counters that dot the pavements leading up to the temporary temples seating the Goddess and her family for the five days of Durgotsav.
Kolkata street food evolution can cleanly be divided into the neighbourhood they are housed — for example, scrumptious prawn cutlets from Allen in Sovabazaar, or dumplings from Tiretti or even the conventional Hinger Kocuri from College Street, street fares that one should definitely not miss while pandal hopping includes:
Chowmein, Rolls, Chops and Cutlets
The roll has to be extra saucy — the dripping down your fingers type. Flaky parathas that are filled with chunky pieces of chicken, mutton or paneer and are sometimes fried with a battered egg and layered with sliced onions, secret spices and slog of ketchup, chilli sauce and wrapped in butter paper, rolls are a Durga Puja staple. Apart from that spicy noodles tossed with julienned veggies along with eggs and meat which is topped with tomato sauce and salads in some cases, roadside noodles have no competiton when it comes to Kolkata.
Chops and cutlets are however, more institutionalised. There are old-timed shops dotting neighbourhoods which shell out amazing croquettes, chops and cutlets that are filled with minced meat, fish, vegetables, banana flowers (mocha) or the humble potato. They are a perfect foil to hunger pangs while on teh go during pandal hopping as perfectly paired with slices of onions and the tangy kasundi.
Phuchka and Jhal-muri
A Bengali out of Bengal, cannot take their wish for a proper Kolkata phuchka, out of them. Delhiites may have their pani puri and Mumbai may have its gol gappe, but nothing beats a good old, large, crisp and potato and tamarind water filled Kolkata puchka. Every tent has at least three to four puchkawallas lined up selling their articles and usually a queue is seen before every seller.
Jhaal-muri is another staple. Puffed rice mixed in various spices along with potatoes, cucumber, tomatoes and onions is mixed in raw mustard oil, giving it an amazing flavor. It is perfect for those adda session that one can have while pandal hopping.
Durga Puja celebrations can be completed without Mishti Sondesh (and there are varieties of them), mishti doi(Sweet Curd) and the rasgulla. Every neighbourhood talks big of its special mishtir dokan (sweet shop) and one can defile on them at economic prices outside most pandals they visit.