Now and then, I have much trouble answering a simple question, do we live to eat or eat to live? I leave the right answer to you all, but since I am a huge food lover and I find it satisfying and pleasing to think that we live to eat.
Bengalis are well known for two things and surprisingly both start with the ‘F’ word… Nah!!! It’s not the ‘F’ word you think it is. Its FOOTBALL and FOOD.
To everyone who’s reading this, if you haven’t visited Kolkata, please do. And for those who already live in there but haven’t tasted these yet. Life is too short pal. Live it!
Okay so here are five of the numerous food items that you should definitely try and taste once you visit the City of Joy.
• GOLBARIR KOSHA MANGSHO (MUTTON)
Did someone just say Mutton? You bet I did. This is no ordinary mutton and obviously not for the faint-hearted. Behold! Golbarir Kosha Mangsho is here. This is a restaurant in Shyambazar, Kolkata, maybe you find the place small but its fame is spread far and wide. Most people here order the Kosha Mangsho and Paratha. The dark oily gravy with pieces of mutton is a heavenly treat. The paratha, soft, neither too dry nor too wet is perfectly balanced and feels like it is the best companion for the Kosha Mangsho’s gravy.
So folks, come to Golbari, taste deliciousness at a surprisingly affordable price.
Um hmm no! It’s not FUCHKA, its PHUCHKA. This food has different names all over the nation. Some call it Golgappe, others call it Panipuri. Here in Kolkata, we call it Phuchka. This word has a different emotion for people of all age groups from 9 to 90. No wonder it is the king of street food in Kolkata. Dahi Phuchka, Papri Chaat, Churmur, these delicacies must not be missed. Crispy hollow balls filled with tangy masalas, tetul gola jol (Water mixed with tamarind pulp) and mashed potatoes are simply appetizing. Bhawanipore is the place where you get good…NAH! Great Phuchkas.
• MACHER JHOL (FISH CURRY)
How often do we scroll through our Facebook newsfeed and find a meme or two that teases the Bengalis for their eternal love for fish? Quite a lot right? Yes, we Bengalis have placed macher jhol in an eternal state of dibs and if you want to know the reason why then there’s one simple way out , come to Kolkata and taste it. Ilish mach (Hilsha Fish) with Shorshe Bata is a must for lunch in every Bengali household during the rainy season. Bhetki mach er jhol, Pabda mach er jhol, Rui mach er jhol, you name it and the Bengali cuisine has it already prepared and is ready to give you the ultimate taste of fish curry.
• MISHTI DOI
After the mouth-watering, tummy-satisfying heavy meals it’s now time to settle down for some dessert. In the list of dessert, we have Mishti Doi occupying the first position. This dish requires no introduction. Mishti Doi has a range of uses. One can eat it during the summer in the scorching heat and get instant relief which cools the body down. You can also make a nice, sweet glass of Sharbat from it. Lastly, this can serve as a perfect dessert after a meal. For us Bengalis, Mishti Doi is not just a dessert, it’s an emotion.
Did you just pronounce it as Rasgulla? You dare not do that again. It’s ROSHOGOLLA for us and it’s not just any sweet, it is the king of sweets in Bengal. I agree you can get it almost anywhere in India. But here in Kolkata and all of Bengal, this soft, juicy, round ball of sweet (Chena) is a habit for everyone. And you can’t find a Bengali saying no to a Roshogolla or rather a bowl full of Roshogollas. So for all the sweet-toothed people out there (and also not the ones), try it because I bet you won’t regret.
So these were the five must-be tasted foods of Kolkata. The list, however goes on and on because this is West Bengal, the sweetest part of India. Do have them if you’re here and enjoy!
-Written by Anupam