Like several other metropolises, Calcutta has been witnessing an unprecedented and sudden urban growth that has resulted in the increase of the labor force and working professionals in the city. Service related activities have witnessed a surge. This coupled with the increase in population, has made many people to settle down in distant areas and the suburbs. Daily commuting has become apart of people’s lives. This has directly or indirectly brought a change in the attitudes, schedules and tastes of people when it comes to food consumption.
The eating habits of people in Kolkata and of course West Bengal, has changed to great extent. The cheap eating places or houses that could be seen in large numbers in Old Calcutta, thirty years ago, can hardly be seen today. The street sellers, who were into selling raw commodities earlier, are presently selling prepared food items. Transportable stands have now replaced the small shops. Street food in Kolkata have now come into picture and are being adopted hugely and gladly by people because they are cheap, tastes good and are conveniently sold anywhere and everywhere where people wherever people gather together as for instance offices, market places, schools, railway stations etc.
The street food in Calcutta has managed to shed off its disorganized image, thereby making itself more viable and important for the people. The activity is also a source of income for many. Talk about street foods and you cannot just miss out on Kolkata! Instead of the fact that there has always been an increase in the number of food courts and restaurants in India, yet a huge section of the urban population in Kolkata depends largely on the street delicacies to pamper their taste buds and at the same time meet their daily eating needs as well. The reason for this could be anything from cheap price, fast service, and scarcity of time to variety of eateries!
Streets vendors with their assortment of lip-smacking delicacies can be found easily at any place in Kolkata, where people gather. While the school students enjoy the phuchkas, jhaal muri, crispy bhelpuri etc, the office-goers on the other, feed themselves with chowmin, ghoogni, Puri Sabji, chop and many more.
For the foodies, Kolkata comes with a wide variety of amazing delights at almost every corner of the city. Offering an unending buffet, the Kolkata Street food would tempt you to the core and leave asking for more!
When it comes to food, name it and you would get it in the streets of the City of Joy! Be it phuchka, snacks, jhalmuri or chat, Chinese items like chowmein and chili chicken, Tibetan eateries such as momo, thupka or south Indian food like idli, dosa etc, you would get it all in Kolkata. We bet, you would keep coming back for more! Street Food in Kolkata is high on taste yet low on cost!
Some of the popular streets and areas in Kolkata where you would get street food at its best are:
The street just outside the AC Market is a wonderful place to hangout with family or friends. After a tiring shopping spree at the AC Market, you would surely feel hungry! All you need to do is step out of the market and find a suitable food stall for yourself, by the road side. Have a bite of the pav bhaji or taste the phuchkas, jhaal muri, papri chat or bhel puri. You can find here things like “chana garam” as the vendors bawl for it! The chana mixture is served in the typical Mumbai-style, with lime and chili powder. There is also the soda shikanji or the masala Thumps Up to add to the taste! Give this amazing start of yours, a perfect ending, with the famous Kulfi!
For the food lovers, Camac Street is the place to be in, while in Kolkata. You would hardly be able to resist yourself from having the moong dal vadas served with chilli garlic or pudina chutney. Other specialties in the region are batata puri and papri chat. If you move towards the Vardan Market, you would get to see people waiting in long queues to get hold of their share of food at the food stalls. The tangy taste and the flavor of a variety of chats found along the foot paths at Camac Street would surely catch hold of your attention. The puffed rice, pappri chat, batata puri and the phuchka found here are surely worth your wait. The variety of chats that one can get here are many. It ranges from chats made of different fruits or chats with papris and potatoes. The chats are garnished with curd, spices, two types chutneys made of pudina, chili, salt, lime and coriander and the other one with tamarind, dates and jaggery. They would leave you craving for more!
At a stone throw distance from Park Street, Russell Street is among the popular places in the City of Joy, where you explore the street foods more! The place is well-known for the chat and phuchka stalls. You would also get vegetable rolls, egg rolls and chops. Go out with your friends and try out the ghugni there served with spiced, shredded ginger, chilies and lime! Russell Street is there to lure you with an assortment of palate teasing items.
Along the very popular place in East Calcutta, BBD Bagh, you would find a cluster of street hawkers along the road from Lal Bazaar to The Great Eastern Hotel. They make amazing food items cooked in front of you. And if you are worried about the quality of food on the streets and afraid of falling sick, then let us tell u that since a large number of people come to meet their eating needs, on a regular basis here, so the sellers take in that extra effort and care to make sure that no one gets sick because otherwise there business and livelihood is also at stake. This is something that they cannot let happen!
If you happen to be in busy places such as Chowringhee and Esplanade, in Central Kolkata, then you must visit ” Dacres Lane” near the Peerless Head Office, at least once! Some of the better street side food stalls can be found here!
Take on the EM bypass and as you cross the Ultadanga Hudco Crossing there are a group of food stalls along the roadside, where one can catch hold of a variety of delicacies!