Street Food In Kolkata, India

Street Food In Kolkata
Alyssandra Raiza
Alyssandra Raiza 
Diya Sen
Endorsed by Local Expert
Diya Sen

Kolkata is called the “City of Joy” for a very good reason. The capital city of West Bengal is widely regarded as India’s cultural center and remains a popular destination for its literature, art, and architectural treasures. However, these aren’t the only things you can enjoy in Kolkata! There are plenty of gastronomic treats that you can find here, as well, and you won’t have to find a fancy restaurant and break the bank for you to try them! In fact, you can find these delicacies right on the streets of the city. Traveling to Kolkata soon? Be sure to check out our picks of the most delicious street food in the city, so you don’t miss out on these great eats on your trip!

1. Kathi rolls

India, Day 5 (Happy New Year)
Source: Photo by user Scott Dexter used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Kathi (sometimes spelled kati) rolls are a staple street food in Kolkata! It is believed that these rolls were first made at the Nizam Restaurant, a popular eatery in Kolkata, which opened in 1932. Originally, kathi rolls were skewered, roasted kebabs, wrapped in paratha, a type of flatbread. Nowadays, the term is used to describe any sort of flatbread wrap with a filling.

Though there are plenty of delectable variations of the kathi roll that you can try, they normally contain a filling made with coriander chutney, egg, and chicken. Kathi rolls remain one of the most popular street foods in Kolkata because they are a delicious and filling meal that anyone can enjoy on the go!

2. Pani puri

Pani Puri
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sometimes called “puchka” or “golgappa”, pani puri are hollow bread balls that are deep-fried and filled with a delectable combination of vegetables and other ingredients - typically, these include flavored water (or imli pani), potato, onion, chickpeas, tamarind chutney, chili, and chaat masala (a special powdered spice mix).

Though they are commonly sold by vendors on the streets, restaurants have also taken to serving more modern versions of this popular street food. One particularly popular variation is the cucumber pani puri, which makes use of cucumber juice instead of imli pani, to give it a more refreshing taste.

Tip from our local expert

This is my all-time favourite and, as a local, I swear by these vendors - 1. the lot selling at Vivekananda Park - the place is packed usually in the evenings, from college kids to senior citizens. Try the 'Dahi Phuchka' i.e. the yogurt specialty. 2. the vendor standing just outside the main entrance of Dakshinapan (an old establishment housing cottage industries). If you have a strong tummy and high heat tolerance, ask for their 'Aloo Dum' (spiced potatoes). 3. the award-winning vendor at Russell Street - you can just pick anything from his menu, and it will be amazing!


Trip101 Local Expert for Kolkata

3. Sev batata puri

Sev Puri
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user https://www.flick... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you love potatoes, you’re definitely going to love sev batata puri! This popular street food is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. It is made with “puri”, a type of bread that is hollowed out and fried to a crisp. The puri is then stuffed with a potato mixture, which typically contains shredded carrot, raisins, coriander leaves, and a mix of spices. It is also usually topped with chutneys, sev, or crunchy chickpea noodles, and onions.

Tasty and easy to eat, sev batata puri is another favorite among busy commuters. You’re sure to want more than just one of this totally addictive snack!

Tip from our local expert

Chelo Kebab

When it comes to food, there is no place like Kolkata in my heart! This is a signature dish from Peter Cat, one of the most iconic restaurants in the Park Street area. The dish is called “Chelo Kebab.” Though kebabs are North Indian dishes and are mostly eaten with naan. But this dish serves chicken or mutton kebab with rice. The rice is steamed and topped with a dollop of butter and a poached egg. This wholesome meal comes with blanched veggies, seekh kebab, tandoor kebabs, and butter rice!


Trip101 Local Expert for India

4. Chhanar jilipi

Sweet Chanar Jilapi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Aashaa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, then you should definitely try some chhanar jilipi! This sweet and savory dessert is typically made with paneer (a type of fresh, non-melting cheese) or chana (chickpeas), full cream, and flour. The ingredients are combined to form a soft dough, which is then rolled into ropes and deep fried in ghee (clarified butter) until it turns golden brown. Then, it is drenched in simple syrup. Chhanar jilipi is best served warm and is especially great on a cold, rainy afternoon - truly an indulgent treat!

Tip from our local expert

If you've got a sweet tooth - this is the place to be! There's a sweet shop at every nook and corner that offers a wide variety and flavours. The city is famous for 'Roshogolla' - soft spongy sweet filled with sugary syrup. You can squeeze it dry or just pop it whole into your mouth. Either way, it's divine! Some of my favourites would be 1. Balaram Mullick & Radharam Mullick (a chain that has numerous branches), 2. Banchharam (famous for a Western spin-off on 'roshogolla' called 'baked roshogolla' - haha!), and 3. Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy - tucked away in North Kolkata and famous for they dry sweets, especially 'chanar sandesh' or cottage-cheese sweet.


Trip101 Local Expert for Kolkata

5. Churmur

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Churmur is another common roadside treat in Kolkata. It is quite similar to pani puri or phuchka, except the puri and potatoes are crumbled into much smaller pieces and mixed together. Churmur is made with the crumbled puri and potatoes, mixed with chickpeas, cilantro, chili, and a mix of other aromatic spices. Lime juice and tamarind are also added, giving this spicy snack a delicious sour twist! But what really makes this treat addictive is its texture - “Churmur” literally translates to that “crunch” sound made when you take a satisfying bite!

6. Ghugni chaat

Ghugni chaat
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marajozkee used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ghugni chaat is a favorite among those who are a little more health conscious, but still looking for something yummy to enjoy! It is especially popular in the Northern and Eastern parts of India, including Kolkata. Made primarily with dried white peas, onions, tamarind chutney, coriander leaves, and roasted masala, ghugni chaat is packed with flavor, as well as nutrients, like protein. For a truly delicious and hearty meal, you should definitely try some ghugni chaat served with some bread.

7. Jhalmuri

Source: Pixabay

Filling and delicious, jhalmuri is a popular street food that is often enjoyed early in the morning, for breakfast. Jhalmuri is made of puffed rice, chanachur (or Bombay mix, a mix of fried lentils, peanuts, rice, and other savory ingredients), mustard oil, onion, chili, lemon, and a variety of other spices. Vegetables, like onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, and coconut, can be mixed in, as well. The ingredients are placed in a bowl, which is shaken until the ingredients are thoroughly integrated. Jhalmuri can also be enjoyed in a soup, mixed with some tomato, pudina (wild mint), or cucumber.

8. Pav bhaji (paw bhaji)

Pav Bhaji
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rishika Palvankar used under CC BY 2.0

First served in the 1850s as a quick, but heavy meal for textile mill workers in Mumbai, pav bhaji (also called paw bhaji) has since become one of the most popular dishes in street carts and restaurants across India. This spicy vegetable curry is prepared on a tava (a large, flat griddle) and is often served with a soft bread roll. Sometimes, it is also topped with onions, cheese, or mushrooms. Pav bhaji is very dense, nutritious, and easy to eat, making it a staple among workers and students.

9. Keemar doi bora

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Keemar Doi Bora is a variation of the dahi vada (fried flour balls dipped in yogurt) that originated in Kolkata. This version of the street food favorite is made of minced meat, rolled carefully into balls and deep fried. It is also served with sweetened and spiced yogurt and is sometimes garnished with seeds, like fenugreek and black mustard, or spices, like cumin, cinnamon, and red chili powder. Unfortunately, keemar doi bora can be somewhat hard to find, though it is known to be sold at Burrabazar (or Bara Bazar), in central Kolkata.

10. Telebhaja

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Aritra gupta1989 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Telebhaja is the perfect combination of salty and spicy. It is made with a mix of vegetables, which often includes eggplant and onions, and a protein (either fish, meat, or egg). The mixture is then covered in a batter of corn flour and deep fried in mustard oil. It can also be topped with a garnish of mustard seeds or poppy seeds. There are plenty of shops in North Kolkata that are well-known for their telebhaja. This treat is also quite popular during local fairs and festivals.

Tip from our local expert

This street delicacy is also a favorite home-made number for evening snacks, to be had with tea, especially on rainy days. But if you were to try it off the road, stop by ' Lakshmi Narayan Shaw & Son' (located at 158 Bidhan Sarani) if you can. Things to try here, or in any shop for that matter, are: *Aloo Chop* (boiled potato fritters, well spiced), *Piyaji* (onion fritters), Beguni (egg-plant cutlet) and the signature Aam Chop (mango fritters). May be the last one is not available everywhere but the others are. They may not be fried in the healthiest of oil, but the taste is unbeatable!


Trip101 Local Expert for Kolkata

Find joy in the different flavors of Kolkata

street food in kolkata | find joy in the different flavors of kolkata
Source: Pexels

Home to breathtaking architecture, fascinating art, literature, and mouthwatering food, the City of Joy is sure to fill you with just that. Whether you prefer spicy, salty, or sweet, there are plenty of hearty treats that can satisfy your palette and keep you full, as you explore the colorful streets of Kolkata!

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This article has been endorsed by Kolkata local expert Diya Sen and 1 other(s)

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