Kolkata food has made a name for itself throughout India. With traditional Bengali food being much in demand as the other cuisines available across the city, Kolkata can definitely be termed as a food lover’s paradise. The ‘Gateway to Eastern India’ is particularly famous for its delicious sweets which include the Rasgulla, a ball made of cottage cheese dipped in a sugary syrup. Kathi Roll, a fast food consisting of fried meat wrapped in a paratha has been served in the city for over 50 years now.
However, the city has a multi ethnic and multi cultural population and boasts of eateries serving food belonging to the other parts of India too. ‘Macher Jhol-Bhat’ is the traditional everyday fare for most Bengalis living in the city and consists of a fish and rice combination. The people of Kolkata are generally non vegetarians.
History of Kolkata Cuisine
The history of Kolkata food can be traced back to the pre Mughal era when the people of Bengal were predominantly vegetarians depending on rice and lentils for sustenance. Fish was plentiful in the rivers and most people included fish in their diet although meat eating was not usual in the region.
Mughal era brought with it the tradition of meat eating and the local desserts based on milk and rice sweetened with jaggery became complex and richer with the use of dried fruits and nuts. Dishes like biriyani and kababs also became popular in the city and its adjoining areas.
The British made Kolkata their capital and European cuisine entered the city in form of cakes, pudding, stews and roasts. Eggs for breakfast became a standard practice among the educated classes of the city.
The partition of Bengal brought with it an influx of refugees and the East Bengal fare pronounced in the use of chilies and coconut. The Chinese population residing within the city have also made their presence via their unique cuisine.
Popular Kolkata Foods
Shukto- A light dish prepared with several vegetables and the bitter gourd served as an entrée.
Doi Mach- Fish dishes based on a thick yogurt based gravy.
Paturi- Fish steamed and cooked by wrapping the individual pieces in banana leaves.
Mishti Doi- Sweet curd usually available commercially.
Sweets- There are innumerable varities of sweets available in Kolkata which include Rasgulla, Sandesh, Chomchom and Shor Bhaja.
Places Famous For Food In Kolkata
Aaheli- Located within the Peerless hotel, it is known for its authentic Kolkata food.
Kewpie’s- The first ever Bengali restaurant that started operating from the home of renowned food expert Rakhi Purnima Dasgupta.
Kolkata Cuisine: Trivia
Ledekany was the name given to the soft gulab jamun created in honor of Lady Canning.