The street food in the corners of Calcutta

While it is true that I was never in Mumbai, the business city of India, Calcutta, is the city that is most western I found of all visited so far. Not only for its physical appearance, with buildings such as the Victoria Memorial, but also for the infrastructure, its people and why not say its prices.

We arrived at 10 in the morning to the famous Howrah station. As soon as I get off the train, the overwhelming feeling returns to my body. As they had already told us, just after leaving the station we found the prepaid taxis. So the first thing we do is stop in a long queue, which in the end was not so much. In 15 minutes we were requesting our taxi to the backpacking neighborhood of Calcutta, Sudder Street, and its surroundings.

Our welcome to Calcutta could not be better. We were surprised by the monsoon as soon as we got off the taxi that left us in front of the hotel that was recommended in our Lonely Planet, which becomes our bible during a trip. So, we got into the first hotel but the rooms cost 2000 INR, a price that we were clear that we were not going to pay. We waited for it to stop raining to go out in search of more.

We ended up in a one that cost us 900 INR and the state was not at all comparable with its price. I do not remember the name but it was parallel to sudder street and on the way to the new market of Calcutta. We enjoyed some great chicken skewers at the end of Sudder Street, although I notice that they sting a lot!

Grabbing a rickshaw and giving some good walks I start the tour of the city. I visit its vibrant markets and not forgetting to taste the Bengali cuisine. The food stalls on the street are the most succulent. As I have already said many times, in India, there is a great culture of "eating". It is eaten anywhere, at any time of the day.

The street food in Kolkata, although not always healthy (only God knows how many times this oil is reused), has a price that makes it accessible to most of the population. For very little money, it takes away your hunger with a plate of noodles or a masala dosa. There is fried rice with vegetables. Any of these dishes, in one of the countless stalls on the street, will never exceed 15 or 20 rupees. And if you still want to spend less, or just want a snack, for five or, at most, ten rupees you can be equally satiated.

Here are some of the popular ones:


The street food par excellence. Something like a dumpling, chubby and triangular, singara is made from a dough of flour and stuffed with vegetables, potatoes or even meat, less often than not. Watch out! They also carry chili and many spices, so it's better to have a bottle of water nearby. Once you get used to it, they are very good, and for five rupees you buy a piece (people usually eat them in pairs) that fills you up for a long time.


Fried vegetables, as a donut, in chickpea flour. The most popular are those of spinach, onion, eggplant, cauliflower although it is also possible to find of meat (chicken). They are taken as a snack, or as an entree at meals. A good cone of newspaper paper full of them costs five rupees on the street.


Flour dough rounded and crushed, stuffed with moong dal (green soy), lentils, chickpeas. All very spicy and fried afterward. Like the samosas, they usually serve in pairs on a leaf like a bowl, bathed in different sauces. There is also a sweet version, filled with ingredients such as coconut and sugar.

Aloo Tikki

Cooked potato and then fried that can be eaten alone, crumbled and bathed in different sauces (some spicy, and other sweet, to soften its flavor), served on a banana leaf. It is also not uncommon to find them in their original form (that is, without shredding) in hamburgers, as a substitute for meat. It is very popular, and it is seen everywhere.

Fritters in general

There are so many that it would be impossible for me to name them all. For example, in the third picture of this entry (that of the pakoras), you can see some triangular things in the foreground. What are they? Well, nothing more or less than what it seems: mold bread. Fried bread mold in the same flour as the pakoras, on oil, and sometimes filled with meat or vegetables.

In addition to the fritters, the amount of carts with nuts, homemade cookies, fruit is immeasurable. Another of the star appetizers, of which I do not remember the name, is a kind of "salad" made from everything that the man could carry in his car, but especially chickpeas, parsley, tomato, pepper, onion, peanuts. all very minced and seasoned with chili, pepper and a splash of lemon. Despite its light appearance, it fills a lot.

Sweets (Mithai)

The Indians love sweets. To prove it, you just have to go for a while on any street, and in less than five minutes you stumble upon two or three bakeries full of these little delicacies wrapped in aluminum foil (which, although your first instinct is to remove it, you must know that it is eatable).

Indian sweets are very sweet. Tremendously cloying, or delicious, depending on what you see. The base of all of them is sugar, flour, and milk, to which is added coconut, honey, dulce de leche, pistachio, almond ... depending on what you touch. The variety is so much that I'm just going to leave you with the photo, and everyone who imagines what they want.

Its flavor is at the height of its appearance. As a curiosity, the only one that I do not like at all, is also one of the most popular. The Jalebi is a dipped mass in syrup that is poured into a kettle full of oil where it is fried forming the most capricious forms.


To finish the meal, nothing better than a good paan (or so say the Indians). The betel nut, lime pulp, spices and many condiments are all wrapped in a sheet with edible betel leaf. There are two varieties of the sweet and the salty, which also carries tobacco.

In theory, it is taken as a digestive and mouth refresher, but the betel nut also has narcotic-stimulating properties. It is rare to find an Indian who does not like it. That's why everyone has red-blackish teeth, since the consumption of betel, in the long run, rots the root of the tooth.

Drinks: the chai

The chai is the national drink. The milk tea is very sweet and almost always, with many spices (masala chai), which give a very intense flavor. Simply delicious

Chai sellers are countless, and it is not uncommon to find five in the same corner (the Indians have no sense of competition), around which accumulate mountains of ice cubes of small clay containers used as a glass that go you know why they are of a single use.

Drinks: the lassi

The lassi we have already spoken many times is a drink based on yogurt smoothie. The variants are plain lassi, with sugar or salt. Within the sweet variety, in any restaurant, we can find banana lassi, orange lassi, mango lassi and even chocolate lassi. The options are endless.

Drinks: fruit juices

And to finish, there are the juices of orange, pineapple, mango, sugar cane. Made with fresh, refreshing and delicious fruit. For the watermelon, which I had not tried so far, I simply do not have words. One warning. If you drink on the street, be careful with water or ice!

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