Top Kolkata street foods| Kolkata Food Guide,
Certain cities are known for being street food capitals. One of the biggest highlights of Kolkata was the fact that you’ll find its sidewalks are a bazaar of street food. There’s many top Kolkata street foods to try. Walking down a sidewalk is like walking down a buffet line.
10 Top Kolkata Street Foods
Chaat, chai, chow mein, puri chat, samosas, curry,… this city is phenomenal when it comes to street food. Some
hawkers practically work and sleep in their stalls. Each morning, they wake up and prepare food, hot, spicy and savory, for hungry Kolkatan passerbys. As a traveler, I had to try some of Kolkata’s deliciousness. Here’s my 10p 10 must try street foods in Kolkata!
1. Kati Roll
Kati Roll is a popular fast food street kabob, of chicken or egg wrapped in an India paratha bread. Originating in Kolkata, it’s popularity is growing in the U.S.
2 & 3. Kachoori Sabzi, Samosa Masala & Samosa
Kachori and Samosa are popular food items you’ll find on the streets. Kachoori is a deep fried puffed bread, which can be eaten with potato curry (aka sabzi) or with a samosa filling.
Samosas are popular all around India but you’ll easily find them on the streets. Interestingly, they can sometimes be served with ketchup.
Indian chai in Kolkata is a sweet, milky tea often served in clay pot cups. Pots can be disposed after drinking or you can save yours for a souvenir.
5. Jhal Muri
Jhal Muri is a very popular street snack of spicy puffed rice chaat . Each vendor has their own masala mix from chopped onion, coriander, green chills, lime and chana dal, roasted peanuts, cucumber, etc… mixed with tamarind sauce, lime and mustard oil. It’s mixed in a steel bowl It’s spicy to pleasantly mild and refreshing.
Touring Street Food with Kolkata Food Walk
Teeming with street food lining the sidewalks, off-the-bat, I knew Kolkata was the street foodie capital of India. So I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. After all, you can’t be in a foodie capital and not sample what it’s best known for! Through some searches, I found Kolkata Food Walk, a voluntary food tour. Whuh? The word free sounded too good to be true.
But it was true.
Kolkata Food Walk is all about taking travelers to famous local food chefs and small local eateries. They’ll take you to the back alleys of the city so that you feel the local sense of the city. But for travelers who are reluctant to eat foods they are uncertain of, it’s a wonderful way to eat from street hawkers and cafes, worry-free and having a local guide take you to popular local spots is invaluable. Kolkata Food Walk’s local guides are volunteers, some are students working towards their PHDs, but they are passionate about their own city, its food and cuisine. You’ll “go dutch” and you pay for what you eat, but you’ll hardly feel a dent in your wallet.
I met Srotoswini at Andomela, a huge and busy electronics department store in Ballygunge Gardens. She was a young and tiny bespeckled college student with a hearty knowledge for Bengali food. Hardly not the plump tour guide I was expecting. She led me around the neighborhood, showing me a variety of foods from street hawkers to hidden restaurants and 200 year old sweet shops.
My advice– come with a very empty stomach! All the food you sample will be to die for. By the end of the tour, you’ll be gorging yourself, just so you can experience all the deliciousness at your fingertips. Tipping your guide is recommended; it’s easily worth a tour price for a local’s time and hospitality. It also encourages volunteers to offer their time to the tour. I had an amazing time and you will too!
A few of the things I tried through Kolkata Food Walk tour are below (but there were certainly more!):
6. Kolkata Style Papri Chaat
Around India, Papri chaat is a popular street snack. Papri is a deep fried crust that’s used as a bed for the chaat. It contains everything from potatoes, cilantro, coriander, onions, bhuja and sweet sauce. It has sweet, sour and spicy flavors and a crunchy texture.
7. Vada with Coconut Chutney & Sambar
From the outside, Ram Krishna Lunch Home did not look like a restaurant or popular eatery of South Indian cuisine. It looked like a cross between a guesthouse and a non-descript building, which might entail a secret door knock. Inside, the ambiance was bright and lively. Here, Srotoswini introduced me to Vada, a type of deep fried Indian donut with a soft and creamy texture inside. It came with two dipping sauces of coconut milk chutney and a vegetable lentil stew called Sambar.
8. Ras malai
At Makhan Lal Das & Sons, a 200 year old sweet shop, I tasted ras malai, a sweet and spongy cheese dessert soaked in saffron milk. Absolutely yum.
Shondesh was my favorite sweet of the evening. West Bengali sweets are mostly milk solids and I love my milk solid sweets! Shondesh is made of milk product, sugar and pistachio nuts and has a creamy and smooth taste. My favorite!
10. Malai Chumchum
Malai chumchum is similar to ras malai in that it’s cheese soaked in a sugary, milky juice. This dessert was a little more sweet than the others and could see the juice ooze as you cut into it.
How much does street food cost in Kolkata?
Indian street food is relatively inexpensive, compared over restaurants. On average, I paid 5 -15 Rs (around 8 to 23 cents USD) at the street stalls on dishes and snacks that were all filling. Laborers come from other regions for work and they don’t rent apartments, but earn on average $5/day. A large population of Kolkata survives on street food.
For more read: Kolkata Culture Shock and Kolkata Travel Guide | Things to Do, See, Eat