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If you are a foodie and have landed in Kolkata – either on vacation or due to work, don’t forget to take your taste buds on a scintillating journey of sampling some delicious street foods available on the city’s streets. From the quintessential phuchkas and kathi rolls to jhal muri, chat and more, you would have no dearth finding something or the other to satiate both your palate and stomach. So, here’s a quick guide to not miss out on delicious Kolkata street food.
1. Phuchka: Throughout India, you will find its many avatars (called golgappas and panipuris) but the die-hard fans swear that nothing beats the Kolkata phuchkas. Wondering what it is? Well, it’s a hollow, crispy, round puri that the seller would break at the top to fill it up with a spiced mixture of mashed potatoes and lentils, after which it will be dunked into and filled with tamarind water before it comes onto your plate. The trick is to eat the whole of it at one go to savor the explosion of taste in your mouth. Don’t forget to taste phuchka’s cousin – churmur - another yummy treat, once you have had your fill of this street food.
2. Jhal muri: This is a mixture of puffed rice with fresh chopped onions, coriander and tomatoes to which a little amount of peanuts, fried dal and masala seasonings are added. All these ingredients are mixed in a metal can after drizzling it lightly with mustard oil before serving it in a newspaper envelope. This street food is omnipresent in almost every street or the other in Kolkata.
3. Kathi Rolls: This handheld treat is a parantha (a type of flatbread) that’s stuffed with your choice of filling, which could be anything - eggs, meat (chicken or mutton), vegetables or paneer (fresh cheese) and rolled to be served, wrapped in a sheet of paper. If you are looking for a filling snack, this street-food is your go-to option.
4. Chaat: You will find it in many varieties – ghugni chaat (yellow split peas served piping hot with onions, coriander, tomatoes and tamarind water) to aloo chaat (mashed potatoes over which a variety of spices are sprinkled, which is then topped with sour curd and tamarind water) and much more. Try some of these to find which one appeals to your taste buds the most.
5. Momo: People of Kolkata have made this South Asian dumpling their very own. Served in vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties, momos accompanied by a hot bowl of soup is sure to up your sagging spirits at any time of the day, not to mention filling your stomach as well.
The streets of Kolkata have several other gems – some hidden from the obvious sight (that need you to do some legwork to unearth them) and some easily available, which are sure to take you on a scintillating gastronomic journey that would keep your taste buds asking for more. So, the next time you are in Kolkata, make sure to taste these five street foods without fail. And if you feel any other name deserves a place in this list, drop your opinions in the comment section below. We may soon expand the list based on how enthusiastic you are about Kolkata’s street foods.