Kolkata (also known as Calcutta), the third largest city in India, also happens to be one of the country’s friendliest cities for street food lovers.Vendors are everywhere serving everything from famous Bengali snacks to full meals of rice and curry. Serenaded by the constant stream of honking, foot traffic, and hawkers, there’s nothing better than biting into a tasty snack and washing it down with a clay cup of chai.
1. Jhal Muri
Jhal Muri is one of the most famous and omnipresent Bengali street snacks represented in Kolkata. Nearly everywhere you look, you’ll find a vendor selling jhal muri. It consists of puffed rice (like rice krispies), fried dal, peanuts, random crunchy things, fresh chopped onions, a few bits of fresh tomatoes, coriander, a handful of masala seasonings, and a light drizzle of mustard oil to top things off. The ingredients are all added to a metal can and stirred up so the mustard is fragrant throughout the mixture. It’s eaten like a bag of chips, almost always from a newspaper bag.
2. Pani Puri
Known throughout the country by different names, this is one of the most iconic and beloved Indian street food snacks. It begins with a puri, a hollow round chip, that’s filled with spiced potatoes, and dunked into tamarind water before being served and eaten in a single bite. Pani puri is an explosion of crunchy spice and flavor with a burst of watery goodness.
3. Veg Chow
Until arriving in Kolkata(and all over India), I had no idea how popular Chinese influenced street food was. Veg chow (short for vegetable chowmein), as it’s commonly known in Kolkata, is stir fried noodles mixed with a few sprigs of veggies. The noodles are scorched on high heat in Indian style woks so they are smokey flavored, and a bit on the greasy side. A plate of veg chow is salty, and dangerously tasty.
4. Kati Roll
One of the most famous Kolkata contributions to the world of Indian street food is the Kati roll. It’s essentially a paratha that’s stuffed with a choice of filling and wrapped into a handheld treat – like a burrito. Chicken or mutton kebab meat, and eggs, are the common fillings, but paneer is also an option. As for Kolkata street food, when you’re craving something greasy and tasty, a kati roll is sure to please.
Along with the delicious realm of Kolkata street food, you’ll need a beverage to wash it all down, and throughout India, chai is a widespread. In Kolkata they use clay cups to serve nearly every cup of chai
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