Kolkata is a melting pot of various food cultures from across the globe – each having a history of its own. Today, the city has made it to the list of best food destinations in the world. Yes, you heard us! As per popular food website Eater’s list of the best 11 culinary destinations in the world, Kolkata is one of the places every foodie must explore in 2023. Other cities from across the world that made it to the list are- Tamaki Makaurau (New Zealand), Asheville (North Carolina), Albuquerque (New Mexico), Guatemala City (Guatemala), Cambridge (England), Dakar (Senegal), Halland (Sweden), Sardinia (Italy), Manila (Philippines) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
The announcement was made recently via social media. As per Eater, “In picking 2023’s dining destinations, we thought not just about hit lists and must-try dishes (although those are important, too), but also the aspects of meals that make them feel immersive: the people, environment, culture, and history behind foods that force us to pause and tempt us from pre-planned paths.”
Now that Kolkata has been declared as a food destination for the world, here are some delicious food items to try in West Bengal’s capital.
1. Luchi and Aloor Dum
That’s a pair made in heaven! Luchi, also known as, ‘poori’ in Hindi, is prepared with maida and is deep-fried in refined oil, and it is best served with ‘aloor dum’, (baby potatoes cooked in Bengali spices)
2. Kathi Rolls: Rolled up paratha with a stuffing of mixed vegetables, potatoes, or paneer for the vegetarians. For the non-vegetarians, they are made with egg and little chunks of meat, fish smothered with sauce, onions, and lime juice.
3. Mochar Chop: These are banana flower croquettes made with ‘mocha/banana flower’, potatoes, green chilies, tamarind, and some spices. These deep-fried chops are perfect for serving with tea as an evening snack. Apart from this, Bengalis also prepare ‘Aloor chop’ and ‘vegetable chop’ (Potato and vegetable fritters) during the Durga puja festive season.
4. Fish Rolls and Fish Fry: Bhetki (Barramundy) fish fillets stuffed with a delectable filling of bhetki and shrimps, coated in bread crumbs, and fried till golden. Fish Fry is the Indian version of Fish and Chips where boneless Bhetki fillets are marinated with ginger, garlic, lime juice, salt, coriander, and green chilies and then coated with crumbs before deep-frying them. They are served with Kasundi (Bengali mustard sauce) and cucumber salad on the side.
5. Kolkata Biryani: Even though biryani is not native to the city, but this sub-variant of the Lucknawi-style of biryani is a fan favorite not only in Kolkata but has gained popularity around the world. This biryani draws more inspiration from the Persian pulao than any other version available in the country. It’s lightly spiced on the yakhni (in fact it’s a close cousin of the Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao) and also comes with a huge chunk of flavored potato and a boiled egg. Much lighter than the Biryanis of Hyderabad and Kerala, trust us, once you’ve had the Calcutta biryani, with the slow-cooked yakhni oozing, there’s no other biryani you would enjoy as much.
6. Chowmien: Basically a variation of the Hakka Noodles, but in Calcutta they say that this is not just noodles, it’s food for the soul. A typical Kolkata chowmein is served on a plate with the noodles drenched in a mix of tomato with schezwan sauce and heaped with generous portions of onions, capsicum, and cucumber.
7. Phuchka: These spiced water balls with potato filling are easy to make and tastes delicious. It is a spicy, tangy, and thirst-quenching street food that is loved by all. And no they are not Pani Puri or Golgappas. They are Phuchkas (we only serve it with khatta pani) and are to be taken as seriously as the potatoes in the Biryani!
8. Kacha Aamer chatni (Mango Chutney)
So, here we end the list with a sweet recipe because no Bengali can live without sweet dishes! This sweet and sour ‘chatni’ (chutney) is prepared with raw mango, dry red chilies, and sugar, and is traditionally served with ‘blog khichudi’, but you can also enjoy it with ‘fried papad’.
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