FOOD

Breakfast on the Streets of Kolkata- As Diverse as the People of the City

I recommend you to start reading this article with a cup of tea, sipping on it every now and then and nodding your head to whatever agrees with your Calcuttan Heart.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha, Kolkata

I have been living in Kolkata for a little more than two decades now, practically all my life and like everyone else around the world, I am completely and utterly in love with my city, My KOLKATA. There are a number of things about the city that makes a Calcuttan excited and nostalgic at the same time, yet there are so many different things that still remain unexcavated or little talked about. One of those things is the breakfast that Kolkata has to offer.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha, Kolkata

No, I am not talking about the home madeLuchiAlurdum, nor I am talking about the fancy breakfast joints now strewn all over the city, I am strictly referring to the breakfast you find on the street, “The Mango People Jol Khabar”. Hence, in order to get a glimpse of all the different kinds of ‘Nashtas’ that Kolkata offers to its 4.5+ Million residents, Eat Fly Buy Magazine along with Foodzpah and many of its lovely members took a brisk walk around North and South Kolkata to taste some of the most popular Breakfast items Kolkata has to offer.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha, Kolkata

The Kachori scene:

Kochuri/Kachori, like Luchi is a predominant part of Bengali breakfast and is commonly found accompanied by Alur Torakri (Potatoes cooked with slight tempering) and/or Cholar Daal (Slightly sweetened and tempered stewed lentils).

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha, Kolkata

In case you are thinking what these are, Kochoris are mainly deep fried flat breads, stuffed with a variety of fillings. The filling in the kochuri differs from one region of the country to the other. Some of the most common fillings found in Kolkata are- Peas, Hing or Asafoetida and pulses.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha, Kolkata

Some of the best places to try out different kinds of kachoris in Kolkata are Putiram (College Street), Sharma Tea (Elgin Road), Maharaja and Maharani (Deshapriyo Park).

The kochuris at Putiram are soft and melt in the mouth and align beautifully with the Bengali palette. Sharma, on the other hand serves wonderful plates of Club Kachoris. These are small kachoris that vanish with just a couple of bites.The kachoris at Maharaja and Maharani come with the sides of a potato curry, flavoured generously with Kasuri methi and fried green chillies. If you are already craving these hot, puffed bread, drop in at any of these legendary Kachori stops or one that you love.

Eggs are Universal Breakfast:

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Kolkata

Eggs, like any other part of the world, is a top breakfast pick in Kolkata too. You can find them in tea stalls across the city, fried into beautiful bread-y and eggy amalgamations, topped with chopped onions and loads of green chillies.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha

We found the perfect plate of toast and omelette at Chitto Da’s in Dacres Lane. The place is immensely famous for its toast and chicken stew and different lunch offerings as well.

Paratha and Bhatura Love:

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Photo by Rakesh Saha

No breakfast, let me correct myself, no Indian breakfast is complete without a couple of parathas. When seeking the best parathas in town, we found ourselves sitting in Balwant Singh Dhaba and gorging on melt in the mouth Tandoori Alu Parathas and Tawa Paneer Parathas.

Photograph by Rakesh Saha
Photograph by Rakesh Saha

If this is not the breakfast meant for the kings, we have no clue what is. The parathas were served with a side of cold beaten curd and Spicy Mango chutney.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

In case you are already salivating, there is still more to this story. Another hearty breakfast pick at the Balwant’s is their Chole Bhature. The bhature are made out of a yeast-y batter, which gives it their characteristic soft texture, with a slight crunch on the outside. These golden fried beauties are served with perfectly made Punjabi chole, mango achaar and onions. This meal sets your ready for the rest of your day.

Breakfast the South Indian Way:

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

When speaking of authentic South Indian breakfasts, there are two names that immediately float to top of your head, one is The South Indian Club and the other is Rao’s Udipi Home, both in South Kolkata.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

For our breakfast walk, we settled upon Udipi and demolished our way through various plates of paper dosas, butter masala dosas, vadas and idli sambars.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

We gulped all this down with freshly made watermelon juice, with a little sprinkle of lemon juice stirred into it. If you want to settle for a heavier and fuller South Indian meal, you can always order their lemon or curd rice.

 You can’t miss the Dhokla and the Khandvi:

Once done with our South Indian Breakfast, we moved towards Southern Avenue to find ourselves a little piece of Gujarat at Saurashtra Nimki House. The place makes fresh breakfast and farsaans throughout the day.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

Here we treated ourselves to the most popular Peyaz k Samose, Chawal K dhokle and Khandvi and merrily dipped all of them in their delicious Lahsun ki chutney, before popping them into our mouth. The Peyaz ke Samose is particularly recommended as it turned out to be the favourite of the whole team.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

Dudh Jalebi ka Nashta:

One of the most popular breakfasts in different areas of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is the Dudh Jalebi ka nashta. A huge mug of Lassi can also find its way in this combination.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

The fact that you can get your hands on the same delectable combination in Kolkata too made it a must on the list. To try the same, we made our way to Maharaja on Sarat Bose Road and ordered our favourite Jalebis and Malpuas.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

Both equally delectable, equally sinful and equally melt in the mouth, made us swoon.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

While the Jalebis are characteristically thin and crisp, even after they are dipped in a Kesariya Sugar syrup, the puffy Malpuas have a wonderful crunch on the outside and boast of a heavenly gooey centre.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

While the Jalebis are characteristically thin and crisp, even after they are dipped in a Kesariya Sugar syrup, the puffy Malpuas have a wonderful crunch on the outside and boast of a heavenly gooey centre.

A little obsession called carnivore-ism:

We all know that West Bengal is the home to the maximum number of Non-vegetarians, hence it was very hard, not to succumb to our love for the non-veg, even for breakfast. Here is where our basic carnivore instincts lead use to Sabir’s Hotel at Biplabi Anukul Chandra Street.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha

We marched in with a sudden space in our tummies and broad smiles on our faces and randomly ordered 18 plates of tandoori rotis, 4 plates of chicken rezala, 4 plates of daal gosht and 4 plates of liver fry all at 9 in the morning. The Rezala is a must try out here and so is the liver fry. We scooped up every bit of the remains off the plates with the soft tandoori rotis and gulped it all down with cola.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

At the end of our meal, a content smile spread across not only our faces but also of the servers who served us. That is how food bonds people, we are not only happy when we eat, we are also happy when we serve.

Tea Obsession:

Our breakfast walk could not have been complete with a few Bhanrs/ Kulhars (earthen cups) of hot tea. Many tea shops, right from North to South Kolkata, stood witnesses to our obsession for tea. Right from random tea stalls on the street to fancy cafes offering intriguing tea concussions, each and every one of them define the lifeline of Bengal.

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Photograph by Kaushik Saha

Find the best Tea in town at Sharma Tea, Balwant Singh, Maharaja, Maharani, The Tea Junction, Vivekananda Park, or maybe just at the tea stall owned by your Parar Kaku. That ‘More’ in ‘Mach Mishti and More’ stands for TEA and we are bloody proud of it.

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Photograph by Rakesh Saha

With the last sip of masala tea and broad smiles across our faces, the Kolkata breakfast walk came to an end. Let us in on your ideal breakfast and breakfast place in Kolkata or anywhere in the world, by mentioning them in the comments below.

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Food Walk Partner: Shahbaaz Zaman, Follow him at FoodZpah

Photography Partner:

North Kolkata Breakfast Walk: Kaushik Saha

South Kolkata Breakfast Walk:  Rakesh Saha, Follow his work at implicit.expressions

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