Friday, March 8, 2024

Oh Calcutta!

The " City of Joy' - Kolkatta is always full of pleasant surprises. No matter how many times you have visited this city there is something new waiting to be discovered. Maybe a lifetime is not enough to explore this lovely city. It is said that what happens in Kolkata today happens elsewhere much later and there is enough testimony to prove this. Be it the first capital city, the first tram, or the first metro, Kolkata was always at the forefront. This time around, I decided to experience the iconic food trail of Kolkata which also boasts of several firsts like making Rosgollas, chenna sweets( curdled milk sweets) and several others.

One morning at the crack of dawn we drove down to the Kolkata Stock Exchange near BBD Baug. It was rather early, but a surprise of all the glitzy cars trying to accommodate themselves in the narrow street awaited us. They were all the well-heeled businessmen, young GenZ, and trendy people who had come to have an early morning snack and 'Kullhar chai' in the ram-shackled shops buzzing with activity. After finding a place to sit sipping the hot tea with tiny hot 'samosas' we understood the reason for the mass popularity of this place. There is a repertoire of snacks from Jalebis, Poha, Sandwiches, Dhokla, Chaat plus more. On the weekends and holidays, the crowds are even bigger.

One morning while going around the New Market area, I remembered having read about an old Jewish Bakery called Nahoum's that was in the vicinity. After, a bit of exploring we found a place where several people were buying the stuff which I could never imagine one could get here. Just to name a few, the heart-shaped orange muffins, the truffle cakes, green onion baked cookies an assortment of cakes and pastries besides a variety of breads make one drool. The heavenly melt-in-mouth flavors of this 121 -year-old iconic bakery have delighted thousands of people year after year. It is a must-try place if one has a sweet tooth and love for bakery items

The old part of Kolkata especially around Shyam Bazar has tiny eateries set up two centuries ago. One such place is Haridas Modak. Before we could reach the place we were caught in a traffic jam on the street at an unbelievable 7 AM! The reason was a local market 'haat' that starts around 6 AM and winds up by 8.30AM. This can happen only in Kolkata. Just around the corner of the main junction notice a queue of people who are waiting to be served a traditional Bengali breakfast at a tiny restaurant. The shop is none other than ' Haridas Modak' which has been serving Kachouri, Aloor Tarkari, or Luchi and Cholar Dal with a sweet Jalebi/ Rosgulla/ Kala Jam or locally prepared delicacy for the

last 250 years! Does it not sound incredible. By the way, one can get only one combo Kachouri or Luchi, not both on a particular day. Hardly twenty people can sit at a time while being served piping hot all-day breakfast on a banana leaf. The place has been keeping the tradition of 'Bengali Food Culture' alive, in a rat race for serving fast food with a Western twist. Their food which is loaded with flavors and freshness costs a meagre Rs 12 per Poori/ Kachouri with unlimited Aloor Torkari or Cholar Dal. According to legends the likes of Subhas Chandra Bose and Ramkrishna Bose have eaten here. An adjacent shop prepares a range of Sandesh which you will remember in times to come, once flavored here

The list is endless. The aroma of food and the friendly environment in these eateries transport you to a bygone era where the nice things and simplicity meant much more than the flashiness one sees all around these days. The 'City of Joy' is in fact a city of endless joy to relish the good things of life. So on the next trip to this amazing city do try some of these wonderful places.

PS- All pics are mine


  1. Happy to know you are still active with blogging. (Jerly)