We are sure that you must have heard of Roshogullas & Sondesh, and may have even tasted the magic of these cultural inventions. But when it comes to Kolkata cuisine, there are endless surprises for foodies like you and us. Right from the starters to the main course followed by dessert, the city offers culinary treats on a silver platter, and we bet you can’t just have one! (Shotti!)
So whenever you take a trip to this paradise, make sure you go out and relish these 15 Bengali dishes that would make for an absolutely lip-smacking full course meal!
Traditional Culinary Delights
1. Macher Jhol (Fish curry)
There is no doubt that both rice and fish are the staple Kolkata cuisines. Every restaurant with a Bengali food menu has the famous Macher Jhol. While this traditional dish is a spicy fish curry made along with potatoes & tomatoes, and usually seasoned with turmeric, garlic, onions & grated ginger, it is best relished with rice. If you’re a seafood lover, make sure this is on the top of your list.
Best places to eat: Bhajahori Manna, 6 Ballygunge Place, Peter Cat, and more.
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2. Kolkata Biryani
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Inspired by the Awadhi style, the Kolkata Biryani is a heart winner! It’s captivating aroma and the finely flavoured rice with potato cooked in rich spices is served hot with juicy mutton or chicken, which makes it a must-have when you’re in the city. If you’re not an experimental kind of a foodie, and wish to bet safe, rest assured and order this one from the menu.
Best places to eat: Arsalan Restaurant, Royal Indian Hotel, and more.
3. Kosha Mangsho (Mutton curry)
One of the famous Bengali food recipes, Kosha Mangsho is a curry cooked with mutton, a variety of vegetables like tomatoes and onions, and topped with a lot of different spices. It’s dense brown color adds on to the feel, and there is no denying that it tastes like heaven, especially if one is a meat lover. To make the most out of it, you can savour it with steamed rice, luchis, or paranthas.
Best places to eat: Golbari, Koshe Kosha, Oh! Calcutta, and more.
4. Alur Torkari with Luchi
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While it may come across as our usual aloo poori from the North India, know that it is not. With potatoes cooked in a thick tomato gravy, this scrumptious curry is the safest Kolkata food to try in the city. Served mostly with breads like luchi or chapati, it is an ideal toothsome snack to have for breakfast.
Best place to eat: Arsalan Restaurant
Counted as one of the best Bengali vegetarian recipes, Shukto is a traditional cuisine that consists of a variety of vegetables like potato, pumpkin, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, and more. Its partly bitter and partly sweet taste makes it a unique concoction, which can be had along with rice or a traditional flat bread.
Best places to eat: Bhajahari Manna, Oh! Calcutta, and more.
6. Chelo Kebab
If you’re a hardcore chicken lover, this platter of mutton seekhs and chicken kebabs is one thing you must definitely try in Kolkata. Served along with steamed rice and veggies, it is an exceptionally lip-smacking cuisine and can be enjoyed both as a starter or in the main course.
Best place to eat: Peter Cat
Also known as gol gappas and paani puri, these tiny water-bombs with spicy masala and meethi chutney are one of the best things to have in the streets of Kolkata. While they look light, they are quite filling and toothsome, and that is exactly the reason why you just can’t stop at one.
Best places to eat: Dilipda’s phuchkas in Vivekananda Market, Krisnakant Sharma’s stall in Vardan Market, Kiosk near Triangular Park, Ram Gupta’s Stall at Victoria Memorial, and more.
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A famous snack in the city that continues to successfully retain the essence of Bengali cuisine, Telebhaja are best enjoyed in monsoons with a cup of tea. From beguni and phuluri to peyaji and alur chop, these crunchy snacks covered in besan (corn-flour) have something for everyone’s taste buds.
Best place to eat: Kalika Mukhorochak at College Street, Dacre Lane, and more
Amongst the best street food in Kolkata, Jhalmuri is the most perfect snack that you can relish whilst exploring the streets. These look like puffed rice or muri and are mixed along with peanuts, coriander and other spices, which make it an appetizing quick bite.
Best places to eat: Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Triangular Park
Also known as cutlets in a few parts of North India, Chop is one of the most filling yet delicious snack to have in the city. This Kolkata cuisine is prepared by stuffing alur, prawns, or chicken into a ball made of dough, which is then deep fried for attaining crispiness. You can enjoy it dry or have it served with your favorite chutney and tea!
Best place to eat: Dacre Lane, Mitra Café, and more.
11. Kathi Rolls
Unlike any other ordinary roll, the Kathi Rolls in this city are exceptionally lip-smacking. Egg, mutton, chicken, or paneer, you just name your favorite and you’ll get it. They are mostly made like a flaky flour paratha, which is further rolled up with the chosen stuffing and is laced with irresistible sauces, spices, and veggies.
Best places to eat: Anamika Roll Center near Triangular Park, Hot Kathi Roll at Park Street, Nizam Rolls in New Market, and Kusum’s at Park Street
Popular across the states for being the best dessert in the city, Bengali rasgullas are like balls of cottage cheese and semolina dough, which are dipped in a sugary syrup to add sweetness to them. They are best had right after the main course, but it’s true that if you have been born with a sweet tooth, one just won’t be enough for you.
Best places to eat: K.C. Das & Bheem Nag, Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick, Hindusthan Sweets, and more
Sandesh is a popular dessert in Kolkata, which is made from milk or cottage cheese and sugar, and is one of the most famous snacks that you would come across in the city. Molded into a variety of shapes like the little balls and circular discs, this doughy and buttery sweet dessert puts a perfect end to our any main course traditional Bengali cuisine.
Best place to eat: Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick
14. Chom Chom
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There is quite a high possibility that you may have heard of Chom Chom if you love taking a tour of the sweet shops. Also called as chum chums, this sweet is made of flour, cream, sugar, saffron, lemon juice and, coconut flakes, and is usually served during the festive season.
Best place to eat: K.C. Das
15. Mishti Doi
Consisting of a fermented sweet yogurt, Mishti Doi is one of the area’s most famous culinary delight. While you can also buy packaged mishti doi in grocery stores in your own city today, the fresh ones from Kolkata’s legendary sweet shops is definitely worth trying at least once.
Best places to eat: Bheem Nag & Jadav Chandra Das, Jugal’s, Amrit Sweets, and more.
Both the food and culture of Kolkata speak volumes about it, and there is nothing that could even be a little close to its beauty. So, don’t think too much and give your tummy a treat by heading on a gastronomical joyride to this city!
Frequently Asked Questions About Kolkata Cuisine
A. Macher Jhol is the most popular food of Kolkata and is usually had with rice. One can find it in any of the restaurants in the city as it’s a staple food for the people.
A. Restaurants like Arsalan, 6 Ballygunge Place, Oh! Calcutta, Peter Cat, and Koshe Kosha are few of the best places to have the best Bengali food in Kolkata.
A. The uniqueness of the Bengali cuisine comes from the way it is prepared. The gravies or curries are usually cooked with spices and vegetable that are different to the ones used in North India. Most of the cuisines are innovations, and are a fusional art.