Ahead of New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and other metropolitan cities, Kolkata has recently won ‘The Title’ of ‘India’s Best Street Food Hub’ according to the survey called ‘Taste of Travel’, as mentioned in a report from ‘The Times of India’. The research was conducted independently among approximately 56,727 respondents from over 30 markets. Every city had its own set of mouth-watering ‘Street Food’ to offer. India is the country of ‘Food-Heritage’ and ‘Foodie-Heritage’, so there was nothing to be astonished.

However, when it comes to Kolkata (Ahem), it not only has a great variety of street-food and shop-food but also that the varieties of food that it has to offer, are extremely inexpensive as well. Other than street food you have the options of choosing between what could be termed as semi street-food (Served At A Shop, But You May Stand Outside The Shop And Have It) or shop-food (Book A Table Inside The Shop). Depends on your very mood at that very point of time.

Kolkata, which is popularly known as the ‘Cultural Capital of India’, is a paradise for all food lovers. The streets of Kolkata are filled with exotic delicacies which would not only satisfy your tummy but would also satiate your soul and pleasure your taste buds. Kolkata serves as a treasure-trove for a gourmand and the delicious street food are capable of tempting almost anyone after accepting a due challenge. Every little lane, every little corner in the city has at least one tiny area, where you can find a food-cart, food-stall or a food-shop ready to pacify your hunger.

Here are the best street, stall and shop-food items one must try while exploring the ‘City of Joy’.



Panipuris of Mumbai and Golgappas of Delhi have a soul-sister in Kolkata and is called Phuchka (Sometimes Spelled As Puchka, However Mostly Pronounced Or Referred-To As Phuchka Or Fuchkaa). In Kolkata, Phuchka is known to be the ‘Emperor of The Street Foods’, though now it has also cemented its position in certain semi street-food shops! These tangy mouthfuls of ecstasy have cemented their unique place in the heart of street food lovers of Kolkata. Phuchkas are like tiny crispy puris (Hollowed Maida-Balls) stuffed with mashed potatoes, sprinkled with spices and dunked into tamarind water before they are served and gobbled-up by a desirous customer. Lime and Pudina (Mint) are also added in the tamarind water and add to the dash. There are approximately 25 varieties of Phuchkas including the Dahi Phuchka (One Of My Favourites), and the overpowering aroma of these Phuchkas start to invade one’s senses, even before the person could attempt the first bite. Say Hello to Happiness (Clap)!

Recommended Hubs: ‘Dilipda’s Phuchka’ at the Vivekananda Park, Southern Avenue, Gariahat, ‘Ram Gupta’s Stall’ at Victoria Memorial, Bhawanipur,etc.

Kathi Roll (Egg, Paneer, Chicken, Etc):

If Phuchka be designated as the ‘Emperor of Street-Foods in Kolkata’, then ‘Kathi Roll’ has to be designated as the King. Kolkata is the originator of ‘Kathi Rolls’, and people from all over the world visit Kolkata for trying this delicious food item. ‘Kathi Roll’ is basically like ‘Taco’. A Parantha, made of flour, stuffed with customers’ choice of filling, like chicken, mutton, egg or paneer, and laced with sauces and spices. Experts warn you of certain consequences of having a Kathi Roll. Once you get the first bite from the ‘Kathi Roll’, your senses are usually transported to cloud number nine.

Recommended Hubs: ‘Nizam Rolls’ at New Market, ‘Hot Kathi Roll’ at Park Street, ‘Kusum’s’ at Park Street, ‘Anamika Roll Center’ near Triangular Park, ‘Zaika’ at Park Street, etc.


Churmur is like a cousin of Phuchka family. Maybe we can call it ‘The Prince’. It is made of crushed phuchkas, mixed with mashed potatoes, spices, onions, lemon, pudina and of-course tamarind water. The outcome is nothing but a flavour-bomb that explodes on your taste buds. So next time you’re in Kolkata, please don’t miss the experience of an immense flavour burst inside your mouth. It’s a pure divine delight. It’s mouth-watering, tongue-tickling and too hard to resist. It tastes crunchy, crispy, tangy, sweet and savoury altogether. Sounds tempting? Tastes even more! Then what are you waiting for? Hurry up! Go take a bite and brace yourself to the experience of the zesty lively flavours of Churmur.

Recommended Hubs: Southern Avenue, Vivekananda Park, Victoria Memorial, Bhawanipore, etc.


‘Teley-Bhajas’ are nothing but lip-smacking deep-fried snacks! People call them Pakodas too, but typical Bengalis would call them ‘Teley-Bhaja’. Teley-Bhajas can be tea’s favourite companion on a rainy day when you are tempted to have something hot and spicy along with a cup of chai while the entire city undergoes heavy downpours with a gentle yet aromatic breeze during the rainfall. In Bengal they are mostly made out of onion, eggplant (Brinjal), pumpkin, potato, capsicum or coriander leaves fried in gram-flour or battered corn-flour. Despite the upgrades in our culture, surprisingly enough, ‘Teley-Bhajas’ have maintained their popularity among both the younger and older generations. In Kolkata you can find these smoking hot delights offered by small stalls in almost every corner of the streets. The aroma is probably fashioned to provoke a customer and the taste, to take someone gastronomically to the new heights of pleasure. You will realize why Bengalis are crazy about them!

Your ‘Kolkata Street Food Tour’ remains incomplete if you ignore the ‘Teley-Bhajas’. Ten points to someone who praised them!

Recommended Hubs: Any ‘Street-Food Corner’ or ‘Shop Down The Street’.


‘Shingara’ is usually known as ‘Samosa’ in the other regions of our country but ‘We Bengalis’ prefer to call it ‘Shingara’ because… I forgot the reason (Smile)!

Let’s come to the point! They are made of flour and are triangular in shape. They are usually stuffed with mashed potatoes but you can also get mutton or chicken-stuffed versions in some parts of the city. Although, to me, the stuffing of mashed-potatoes can outmatch the other versions! Shingaras taste best with a cup of hot tea and can lift-up your mood within seconds during rainy days that are dull. They are widely available at all street food vendors across Kolkata because an evening adda (Chat Meet) is incomplete without them.

Recommended Hubs: ‘Tiwari Brothers’ at Boro Bazar (Baraa Bazaar), ‘Sharma Tea Stall’, ‘Arun Tea Stall’, etc.

Bhelpuri and Paapri Chaat:

If you are craving for something too spicy, Bhelpuri is what you are looking for in Kolkata. Puffed Rice with freshly chopped onions, along with spices, coriander leaves, chillies, mashed potatoes and a few little crunchy curls form this amazing dish called Bhelpuri. Before serving, it is garnished with tangy tamarind on top. Your taste-buds will charge up the moment the smell of it invades your senses. Every Bhelpuriwala has his own unique recipes. Paapri Chaat are little deep fried fritters that look like chips served with spicy potatoes, onions, chutneys, sauce and coriander leaves. It is like Indian-version of Nachos that comes with a melody of flavours and makes its taste dance upon your senses. Feeling that pastime hunger?

Recommendations: For the best Bhel Puri and Paapri Chaat in the city, please visit the street stalls near the Victoria Memorial or Maidan.

Jhaal Muri:

‘Jhaal Muri’ ‘Jhal Muri’ or ‘Jhalmuri’ is a readily available and appetizing street food of Kolkata. It is a pick-n-chew kind of snack and understandably ideal to carry around while you engulf in the beauty and heritage of the city, or are rushing off to work. It’s like doesn’t matter where you are standing in Kolkata, you will find a vendor selling Jhalmuri or ‘Puffed Rice’, mixed with chopped onions, chillies, slices of coconut, spices, coriander leaves, fried dal and peanuts, with a mild drizzle of edible oil or pickles added to the mixture. They are all mixed in a metal can, stirred up with a spoon and served in a small newspaper bag. To delight your random evening, you may buy a packet of Jhalmuri and take a walk along the banks of Hooghly River or at the Maidan.


Try this amazing combination of Chanachur (Mixture), onion, lemon juice and chopped raw mangoes for at least once in your life. I bet you won’t regret. In the evening, I often buy a packet of Ghotigorom and munch on it while walking, till the time I reach my destination (By When I Had Finished It). It will definitely give you a few moments free of stress. It is a savoury snack which is kept warm and crunchy by keeping it in a container that has a little fireplace full of burning coal placed on top of it. The familiar jingle of Ghotigorom bells will always grab your attention and pull you towards a nostalgic down-memory-lane, if you were born and brought up in Kolkata. It’s inexpensive and every class of people loves it quite as much.

Recommended Hubs: Princep Ghat, Rabindra Sarobar Lake, Maidan, etc.

Radhabollobi and Ghugni:

Radhabollobi is something similar to ‘Stuffed-Kachori’. It is a spicy staple, stuffed with varieties of ingredients like mashed potatoes, spices, chillies, onion, etc, whereas Ghugni is a boiled and pan fried dish, made with white and yellow gram peas, onions, green chilli, spices and fresh coriander leaves. Plain-Kachori and Ghugni can also be found in many stalls just like ‘Luchi and Aloor Dom’, especially near office buildings and it is popular the same, among the rich and the poor. They will not only refresh one’s taste buds but are also capable of filling up one’s tummy. Sometimes they are also served with tamarind chutney which neutralizes the heat and adds a nice tangy sweetness!

Luchi and Aloor Dom:

‘Luchi’ is same as a ‘Puri’, while ‘Aloor Dom’ is nothing but Dum-Aloo with an essence of Bengal in it. Although it is available at any time of the day, it is mainly considered for breakfast and most of us swear by Luchi and Aloor Dum for Sunday Breakfast. It can easily be found in many places of the city and that too at affordable price due to the sales volume. They have hijacked a special place in every Bengali’s heart. It is no less than a life saviour for bachelors. Don’t miss the scrumptious taste of the blissful combination of mashed potatoes and ‘Bengali-Style’ choice of spices accompanied with Luchis, simply because of some fear about gaining weight or something. That is unacceptable!

Recommended Hubs: Fairlie Place, Central Business District, ‘Tasty Corner’ at Ballygaunge or ‘Arun Tea Stall’ near St. Xavier’s College.

Fish Fry and Fish Kabiraji:

Fish Fry is nothing but fish fillets deeply fried in corn flour batter and bread crumbs and Fish Kabiraji is made with minced fish which is wrapped in egg net and deep-fried. Bhetki (Asian Sea Bass) is the fish mostly used for ‘Fish Fry’ as it is fleshy and has fewer bones. Fish Fry used to be cooked during the British Rule to please the British officers by replicating the western cuisine. It tastes best with Kasundi (Mustard Sauce) and salad made up of thin slices of onions, cucumber and squeezed lemon. Don’t call yourself a Kolkatan if you have never tried Fish Kabiraji! For the people who stay outside Kolkata and who are non-veg lovers, your trip is incomplete without the ‘Fish Kabiraji’ at Mitra Café and ‘Fish Fry’ sold at the Golpark crossing. Needless to say, they are utterly delicious and have won the hearts of millions. I bet that the taste will linger in your memory for a very long time.

Hubs: Once in Kolkata, it’s ‘All Around You’!

Mughlai Parantha:

Although it is called Mughlai (From Indo-Persian Mughals), the present version of it is said to have originated in Dhaka-Bangladesh during the ‘British Raj’. It became a popular tiffin-time snack in Kolkata and it has now become a well-known street food of Kolkata. Mughlai Parantha is made up of a roti (Bread) made of flour and stuffed with minced meat (Popularly Known As Keema), onion and eggs and then shallow fried in hot oil until it becomes golden brown in colour. However now you can also get Veg Mughlai Parantha in some shops where crumbled paneer tossed with veggies are stuffed in the roti. Mughlai Parantha not only fills one’s stomach but also satisfies the the taste buds. It is crispy outside but melts in the mouth as soon as you start cherishing the bite. It tastes best with dry and spicy potato-curry, garnished with sliced onion and lime-wedges. Although these Paranthas are oilier and heavier, foodies love them the same! It is worth a try. The aroma, the taste, the tenderness of those Paranthas… Oh my! Highly recommended!

Hubs: ‘Anadi Cabin’ at New Market Area, ‘The Royal Bengal Tiger Café’ at Golf Club Road, ‘New Aahar’ at Salt Lake, ‘Samrat Snacks’ at Prince Anwar Shah Road etc.


Momo is a type of steamed bun with delicious fillings stuffed in it. Although it is one of the most famous fast food of Nepal and the unofficial national dish of Tibet, it is also very popular among Kolkatans and are sold in almost all parts of the city. The secret to a well-cooked Momo lies in the wrapper and the perfect Momo wrapper is supple with just a tiny bit of stretch. Plateful of these melt inside your mouth like tiny pillows, can make you skip your meal. Don’t take them lightly! The fillings that are stuffed inside them can be made up of veggies, chicken, mutton, paneer or cheese. Momos are aromatic and leave a mushy aftertaste or maybe sometimes a lingering burn on your tongue. Momos are usually served with soup. If you are lucky enough, then you will be also be served with a delicious chutney along with the soup.

Recommended Hubs: ‘Denzong Kitchen’, ‘The Blue Poppy’, ‘Tibetan Delight’, ‘Momo Plaza’, ‘Wow Momo’, etc.

Authentic Chinese and Indo-Chinese Delicacies at ‘Tiretti Bazaar’:

Tiretti Bazaar (Kolkata’s Own Little China-Town) is a Paradise for every ‘Chinese Food Lover’! It is located at ‘Sunyet Sen Street’. It opens at 5 AM and disappears sharp at 8:30. To get the maximum choice in terms of menu, one should reach this place as early as possible because most of the food items start getting sold from 7:30 AM onwards. As compared to other days, Sunday will serve you the best varieties of these awesome mouth-watering delicacies. The gourmet extravaganza is situated near ‘Poddar Court’ at the backstreets of ‘Lal Bazar Police Headquarters’ and close to the ‘Central Metro Station’. It is better to take a bus or cab or your own car rather than taking Metro as the metro services start only after 6 AM in the morning. From yummy fresh steaming dumplings to breaded pork chops, you will get to taste a wide variety of Chinese preparations. One must try the juicy ‘Chicken Dumplings’, ‘Pork Momos’, ‘Sausages’, ‘Prawn Wafers’, ‘Fish Dim Sums’ (The Size Of A Cricket Ball), ‘Pies’, ‘Thukpa’, ‘Fish Sui Mais’, ‘Kachumba Pakodas’, ‘Spring Rolls’, ‘Rice and Sesame Seed Sweet Balls’ etc. Tiretti Bazaar is a cacophony of people, sounds, wafting aroma and food! Each and every delicacy will leave your senses of taste asking for more. You will also get a range of delicious soups. It is really magical how the Chinese people there have managed to preserve a selection of their original recipes that epitomise the pedigree of their culture and heritage. You can also find people selling prawn papads, pork fillets and home-made sausages, which u can buy to fry at home. The food items are not at all expensive but are astonishingly – quality stuff. A good meal will cost a person somewhere between Rs 70 to Rs 100.


Though a North-Indian dish that has more popular versions from Lucknow and Hyderabad, Kolkata has a reputation of some traditional and modern Biriyani shops. It is also served as a street-food option. In case you do not know (Unacceptable) Biriyani is a mixed rice dish made up of spices, rice, meat (chicken, goat, beef, lamb, prawn, or fish), vegetables or eggs that developed during the Mughal era and can be found all over India. I must not get deeper into details about its taste, because I presume that you had the luck of tasting a plate full of white-golden rice that look, feel and taste like happiness.

Hubs in Kolkata: Dalhousie area ‘Street-Carts’, ‘Arsalan’ at Circus Avenue, ‘Amenia’, Amber, etc.

Mishti (Sweets):

There are so many varieties of Bengali sweets in Kolkata that you would end up going to a dentist in a span of 5 years, in case you are unable to control your hunger pangs and love for those chews. It is no secret that Bengal is a hub for sweets. From the legendary Sandesh to the royal Nolen Gurer Rosogolla – immense varieties of sweets are available here at the ‘City of Joy’. No wonder why people of Kolkata are so sweet and soft hearted. You can find sweet shops in every nook and corner of the city. Many of these shops have been established during the 19th century and are handed down from generation to generation while the recipes have been patented over time. K.C Das is one of those legendary aristocratic shops which has been feeding the population of the city with sweet delights like Rosogolla and Sandesh since 1866. Their Rosogolla is legendary to the extent where a stamp has been released by the name of the shop’s first owner and developer of sweets ‘Sri. Nobin Chandra Das’.

Sandesh is made by churning out sweetened fresh milk curd (chhana). ‘Girish Chandra Dey’ and ‘Nakur Chandra Nandy’s’ Sandesh shop was first established in 1844 and it is the ‘Sandesh Capital’ of the country. Don’t forget to experience the taste of ‘Chhanar Sandesh’ and ‘Jol Bhora Sandesh’ if you pay the shop a visit.

Another sweet dish that is famous in Kolkata is the ‘Chanar Jilipi’. ‘Chanar Jilipi’ is a Kolkatan breed of Jalebi made of cottage cheese, fried and dunked in sugar syrup. It is thicker than a normal Jalebi and the texture is similar to ‘Gulaab Jamun’. It is juicy, soft and chewy. It is best-eaten warm and fresh. I swear you won’t regret trying these.

Since I am talking about the famous sweets of Kolkata, it would be a sin if I don’t mention about ‘Nolen Gurer Payesh’ and ‘Misti Doi’. ‘Nolen gurer Payesh’ is made especially on special occasions and is a winter delicacy for the Bengalis. It is made by boiling basmati rice in milk and adding date palm jiggery into it instead of sugar. Before serving it is garnished with nuts and pistachios.

Misti Doi (Fermented Sweet Yoghurt):

It is one of the most popular and well known desserts of Bengal. It is made of a blend of thick milk and jiggery, tastes delicious and creamy and is often sold in clay cups in sweet shops along with a wooden ice cream stick to eat with. For the best experience, have it chilled and straight out of the refrigerator.

When it comes to Bengali sweets, it hardly matters whether you have a sweet tooth or not. There are also other varieties of sweets. If you want to know, please email me at storyminsweb@gmail.com. Anyways I will write about them in a separate blog. Beside these above mentioned street, semi-street, and hotel foods, there are many other varieties like the Chowmein, Aloo Kabli, Dimer Devil, Pitai Parantha etc that are found in Kolkata, because when it comes to food, Kolkata is a paradise.

Forget about hygiene and gaining calories for a while. Even the street foods make Kolkata one unique destination that distinguishes it from all the other places and people who plan a tour to Kolkata, go back to their homes with a happy belly. They are as ingrained into the city’s culture as the tram routes are on its streets. Kolkata has everything that can make a foodie’s dream come true. The options are endless and there is always something new to try. Plan a trip to the city as soon as possible, grab a bite of these delicacies along with enjoying the vibrancy of the ‘Bengali Culture’ and ‘Bengal’s Cuisine’ and you will understand what love feels like.

Bon Appetit!

Featured Image Courtesy: pexels.com (Thank You)
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