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Street food you must try if you’re in Kolkata for Durga Puja

Come Durga Puja, Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is transformed into a bride-like figure, all bejeweled and glowing with beauty and spirit. The day-to-day constraints of life are forgotten in an effort to put on a fantastic show for its millions. From rutted roads to broken pavements, spring the most fabulous, shimmering pandals, made from every conceivable (often recycled) material. The clay images of goddess Durga and her family, made by a community of sublime craftsmen on the banks of Hooghly River, are wonders to behold for their artistry and individuality.

However, besides the twinkling streets and larger-than-life pandals, another reason why Bengalis from far and wide flock to the marvel that is Kolkata at puja time is its sumptuous food.

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During Durga Puja, the city of joy is buzzing with street food vendors offering piping hot food and the sound of customers crunching on them. Flanking the pavements are dinky street side stalls selling everything from, tangy, spicy and crispy Jhalmuri to mouth-watering puchka, savoury bombs of crispy semolina filled with mashed potato, chickpeas, tamarind paste and a dusting of chaat masala.

Of India’s great cities, Kolkata is the undisputed street food capital. There is an abundance of street food available in Kolkata. You can try every snack you can think of, from traditional Bengali ghugni (dried white peas mixed with tamarind, chillies and jaggery) to Bengal’s take on Chinese chow mien.

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A hotchpotch of cultures and ethnicities that came during the reign of the British, Kolkata’s street food has borrowed traditions from all. Chinese is big here, thanks to a sizeable Hakka population, albeit an Indianised version with pungent sweet flavours, while the local Bengali street food is all about balancing sweet, sour, pungent and spice. Deep-fried luchi with potato curry and sandesh, cottage cheese and sugar baked into a pudding are must-tries.

Below are a few more famous local dishes found at vendors across the city.

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Mutton Tikia Roll in the making..!! #arsalan #kolkatarolls #kathiroll #yummy

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1. Kati roll is a popular fast food street kabab, mostly chicken or egg wrapped in a paratha.

2. Kachori sabzi is a one of the most popular food you’ll find in Kolkata. It is a deep-fried puffed bread, which can be eaten with potato curry. You can get it off the streets. You can also find a cafe or local restaurant that sells it.

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3. Jhal muri is a spicy and refreshing popular street snack made of puffed rice. Each vendor has their own masala mix from chopped onion, coriander, green chills and chana, roasted peanuts, cucumber mixed with lime and mustard oil.

4. Mishti doi is a rich and textured delicate sweetened yoghurt set into small clay pots.

5. Cham cham or chum chum is a spongy Bengali delicacy made using chenna, a type of cottage cheese.

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First Published: Oct 15, 2018 13:28 IST

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