Preface: 3 Food Bloggers. 3 Street Food Destinations. 1 Unique Collaboration. That’s the idea of what you’re about to read and feast your eyes on! This is the story of how Foodie Dada, Kolkata Foodie and A Pinch Of Salt decided to head out for not your regular food walk, but to explore those gastronomical terrains that satiate the hunger of 1000s of employees in the city. Read on!
Before I start with anything, you have to admit that NOTHING beats Kolkata when it comes to street food! Hec! even a National daily had come up with a poll that declares Kolkata- the undisputed champion of street food!
And yes, there have been a plethora of food walks that claim to denote the cultural anecdotes the city is hankering on, alongside its regular touristy escapades.
“So what is that one thing one can write about a city, that has practically seen every food idea been done to death, copied and repeated on and on?” I wondered, and just then, the flickering lightbulb of an idea lit up with pride.
Debajyoti, Ritika and I wanted to explore something that went beyond the quintessential terrains of Chitpur, Tangra, Bow Barracks, College Street or Bhowanipore because let’s face it, we’ve seen them all- either enveloping themselves in some seriously good stories or just hankering around in posts that use these places like a stepping stone of being accepted in a social sorority!
And then came the thought of exploring those gastronomical terrains that satiate the hunger of 1000s of employees and workers in the city. After all, Kolkata is a place for actual work and not just a place that enjoys its afternoon siestas.
Rather Food For Thought, we came up with a Food For Walk and ventured out to broadly 3 areas in Kolkata that is flanked by Office Communities, namely- Calcutta Stock Exchange, Camac Street, and Salt Lake Sector V.
Calcutta Stock Exchange
Also known as the Bank Street of Kolkata, is the Calcutta Stock Exchange, which is located near Calcutta’s central business district, Dalhousie, and Writer’s Building. While we are all familiar with the quintessential Tea and Malai Toast, CSE is much more than just these delight bites. As you enter the premises, you will come across Bhola Snacks: A small stall that makes over 30 varieties of sandwiches one could think of. The price? Just ₹40!
Want to stick to the basics? Then I suggest you go with the foolproof option on their list- The Malai Toast. Generously spread on two delectably thick slices of toasted bread and sprinkled with lots of sugar- this can uplift anyone’s mood! Be sure to gulp down with a refreshing concoction of fresh sugarcane juice from the pan shop right across the footpath. Moving forward, you’re bound to strike gold on every corner of the CSE as you take a left towards the Tea Board juncture!
There’s Lassi starting ₹7, hot and crispy malpuas for ₹6, freshly made dosas for ₹15, Biryani for ₹60, Chowmein and Chicken for ₹25 , even the quintessential Saada aaloo torkari (potato juliens tempered with black cumin and green chillies) for just ₹10!
Another thing to watch out for is their Dahi Vada for ₹20.
Want more options? Then head to Sardarji Dhaba and devour their Cheese special Maggi (opposite Mukti Chambers near Clive Row) that’s priced ₹35.
Who said good food can only be gourmet all the time!
Another hub for office goers is Camac Street.The road was named after William Camac, a senior merchant in the days of Lord Cornwallis and Lord Wellesley. In the mid-1970s, the Park Street ‘razzmatazz’ spilled onto Camac Street which is, today, considered to be a high street of Kolkata with many commercial establishments & high end shopping destinations, with lots of shopping malls, boutiques, restaurants and stand alone retail outlets.
Starting right opposite Nizam Palace all the way till Allen Park- there’s something for every pallet and pocket!
And while most people opt for the street delights of Chaat Street- Vardaan Market, the stalls right outside Shantiniketan Building has equally good food and non-vegetarian options!
What can one have? Well right from Ghugni Toast (₹10), to Chicken and Vegetable stew (₹15) , Luchi Cholar Dal (₹15 for 2 pcs of big fried Luchis and delicious Chola Dal) to stuffed Bengali style aaloo parantha with aaloo dum (₹25). You can even get a full fledged bengali meal of masoor daal, rice, and fish fry for just ₹50!
If you ask me my favorite from the lot, it has to be the Bengali Khichudi with Aaloo and Begun bhaja(Egg plant and potato fritters), Aaloo Bhete (Spicy Mashed Potato) and Papad; and all you need to shell out is ₹22 from your pocket.T
The taste? Well simply divine is how I would like to define it.
Salt Lake City, Sector V
Our last stop for this epic food walk was Salt Lake City. Salt Lake was developed between 1958 and 1965 to accommodate the burgeoning population of Kolkata. Today, it has become the hub for many brands and is technically called the IT hub of the city.
While Sector V, in particular, is bustled with offices, famous dining establishments and pubs, it’s street food too deserves a very special mention, read on!
If you happen to venture out towards RDB Big cinemas opposite the Omega building, you are bound to encounter a small space with branded kiosks pulling some good crowd.
My top pick from the lot definitely would roll from Jabbr Afghani- Huge, wholesome, filled with lots of egg, cheese, chicken/veg, and generously topped with cheese- making it an all in one meal starting ₹60.
Even though a majority of fine/casual dining spaces have opened up in the vicinity, the popularity focus lies on its pocket-friendly street lunches.
From momos to north Indian options, Bengali thalis to mughlai paranthas or just some seriously good sandwiches and biryani- every taste bud is catered here with full satisfaction.
As Debajyoti explained to us, that these road-side stalls which I call shacks, are also called ‘jhupris’ (roadside shacks) in Bengali and Sector-5 techies call them ‘jhups’.
Where should you start from these jhups?
Start with some delicious sandwiches Saran Sandwich Corner, particularly the Egg Sandwich and Cheese Corn Sandwich (priced ₹35 & ₹40).
If you have an above average hunger, definitely head to Gopal Ji Da Dhaba- a small jhup right in the lane opposite RDB Boulevard- for their yummy Chicken Biryani (₹60), the taste is par with the fine dines and there is no compromise on quality. With the likes of famous food blogger The Food Ranger mentioning it with rave reviews, be rest assured of the hygiene and quality checks.
Indian food lovers should definitely try some Naan with Butter Paneer or Aloo Dum all starting from ₹22!
The Webel Canteen (opposite to Azad Hind Dhaba & beside the Technopolis building) is your tryst to savour local Fish Thali, Chicken curry & Biryani all under ₹60.
After this very exhaustive food walk, all we could say is that the only thing we love doing apart from talking about food, is Eating! Let us know if we missed anything from this list so that we’ll definitely try those on our next visit!