I am a Bengali; thus genetically blessed with appetite and royal taste.My favourite pass time is to taste different food and beverages.All through my childhood, college life I worshipped street foods…tasty, easy to avail, cheap and forbidden by parents. So from my taste buds due permission I give you the list to try at least once.
1. Panipuri / Phuchka / Golgappa : Arguably the winner of favourite street food in Kolkata. It is a gobble sized crisp hollow deep-fried flour ball eaten with a stuffing and sour juice. Stuffing is either based on potato or bengal gram.But typical authentic bengali phuchka is stuffed with a mashed potato mixed with spices, salts, coriander leaves and lemon juice and served spicy “tentul jol” (tamarind juice mixed with spices).
There are numerous phuchka vendor in Kolkata but my personal favourite is one who sells phuchka near 8B busstand just beside the bank opposite to Jadavpur University Gate no. 2.
Tip: Dont forget to ask for “faou” (free) phuchka.Typically a single piece of phuchka is for 1 rupee.
2. Jhalmuri : Typical bengali street food it is almost trade mark of Kolkata streets.A mixture of puffed rice (muri) with “chanachur”, sliced boiled potato, green chilli, onion, cucumber, coriander leaves, ginger, coconut, tomato, lemon juice, mustard oil, pickles, salt and garnished with semicircular coconut is the typical jhalmuri of Kolkata….the healthiest snacks available on earth.
My favourite is from an old man of Maidan opposite Victoria Memorial who probably mix a secret magical masala to his jhalmuri.
Tip: Ask for extra coconut slice if you like. A ready packet (“tthonga”) is of 5-10 rupees.
3. Rolls: If you are hungry and don’t want to spend much then opt for rolls. Though rolls are not typical bengali delicacy but they are integral part of bengali street foods. They are shallow fried chapatis with stuffings. Stuffing is generally an onion salad with chicken/ mutton / fish / paneer (cottage cheese)/ kababs / vegetables and thus named chicken-roll, mutton-roll etc. etc. While egg-role is the chapati covered with egg and stuffed with onion salad.
Arsalan, Bawarchi, Azad Hind Dhaba, Nizam have many counters in different streets and they all are really good at making rolls.
Tip: Avoid tomato sauce and add lemon juice in the stuffing. Depending on stuffing rolls are priced anywhere between 10-50 rupees.
4. Phuluri / Chop: Typical bengali delicacy. They are like cutlets but spherical or oval in shape with vegetable or non-vegeterian stuffings served with salads, sauce, or simply with pinch of salt. They hot favourites during rainy evening with “muri”.
Baghajatin has the best shop for “chop” in my opinion. Though all roll counters are tough competition for him.
Tip: You can rarely find chops and phuluri during day time or at late night. They are typical tea-time or evening snack. Depending on stuffing and size they are 2-10 rupees/piece.
5. Fruit salads/ fruit juices: Need no introduction. They are healthy though not guaranteed for hygiene always.
Shops opposite New Market and near Sreeram Arcade are best in business.
Tips: Insist on serving fresh fruits peeled and cut before you. Fruit juices are typically priced 15-50 rupees/glass.
Here I did not consider rosogolla, sandesh, misti doi, machh vaja (fried fish) etc as they are not “street foods” but you must try them also.