Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Amanda P. Brown
Known as “City of Joy”, Kolkata is home to some of the world’s most delicious street cuisine. An award-winning international media company devoted to all things food and eating, “Eater” prepared a list of locations to enjoy the world’s greatest street food in January 2023. Kolkata’s renowned street cuisine was one of them.
You can find Kolkata’s most flavorful and unique street food, from panipuri and kathi rolls to the rich Bhel puri, samosa, rasgulla, and mishti doi.
In an era of inflation, this city is among the few where you can have a substantial meal for a relatively small amount of money. However, if you find yourself in Kolkata and are interested in trying some street cuisine, I have created a list of Kolkata street food you must try. Read On…
30 Must Try Kolkata Street Food
Table of Contents
Here is the list of some popular Kolkata street food items:
- Ghugni Chaat
- Pav Bhaji
- Kathi Rolls
- Chola Bhatura
- Dahi Vada
- Mughlai Parathas
- Egg Paratha
- Bhel Puri
- Aloo Kabli
- Mishti Doi
- Chanar Jilipi
- Vada Pav
- Kochuri Aloo Dum
- Tela Bhaja
- Egg Rolls
- Doodh Cola
- Fruit Kulfi
- Pani Puri (Puchkas)
- Luchi & Alu Dom
- Dragon Chicken
- Veg Chowmin
- Non-Veg Thali
1. Ghugni Chaat
The skill of the cooks behind the popular food of Kolkata Ghugni Chaat is on full display in how they elevate plain ingredients to a delicious treat.
This recipe calls for boiling peas, either yellow or white, and a combination of aromatic spices, including cumin seeds, onions, and tomatoes.
The dish is presented in bowls with a garnish of fresh coriander, green chilies, and crunchy onions. When served with tamarind and mint chutneys on top, the flavors of sweet, sour, and spicy come together in perfect harmony in every bite.
The triangle-shaped samosa is a signature dish of the Calcutta food. Usually filled with potatoes, peas, and aromatic spices, this dish has a crunchy, golden-brown crust and a savory center. In every bite, the earthy potato meets the spicy cumin, coriander, and garam masala in a perfect symphony of flavors.
This crunchy, fried shell gives the rich filling a perfect balance, making for a delightfully decadent snack. Enjoyed with tamarind sauce or mint chutney, the samosa is a classic and varied street food in Kolkata.
A popular savory snack in food of Kolkata is kachori. Typically, the filling consists of a flavorful blend of potatoes, lentils, or peas seasoned with chili, cumin, and coriander.
Some popular variations are pyaaz kachori, mainly composed of onions and spices, and dal kachori, filled with a blend of lentils and spices. Additional varieties could have fillings made of potatoes, peas, or meat.
The kachori’s exterior is fried till golden brown and crispy, and it’s usually produced using dough that’s either all-purpose or wheat flour. Because of this, kachori has its distinctive crunchiness and softness.
It is typically served with different sauces or chutneys to enhance flavor. It is a favorite dish during the festive season in Kolkata.
In India, Kolkata, and Bangladesh, jhalmuri is a common street snack. Puffed rice, various spices, veggies, and chutneys combine to make it. “Jhalmuri” is a fusion of the Bengali words “jhal,” meaning spicy, and “muri,” meaning puffed rice. Delicious and airy, jhalmuri is best consumed as a snack and served in paper bowls or cones.
Peanuts, onions, tomatoes, coriander, and lemon juice are just a few of the items that may be added to this dish to make it unique and delicious. Jhalmuri is a beloved street food choice for individuals of all generations, renowned for its crunchy texture and sour and spicy flavors.
5. Pav Bhaji
Even though it has its roots in Mumbai, the Indian street food Pav Bhaji is just as well-known food in Kolkata. Pav bhaji masala, red chili powder, turmeric, and a variety of vegetables—including potatoes, peas, cauliflower, and capsicum—are the primary ingredients of this Indian dish. Butter, lemon juice, and coriander leaves serve as garnishes.
The vegetables are boiled, mashed, and then cooked with spices to make a thick and flavorful curry. The buns are toasted with butter and served alongside the bhaji.
Pav Bhaji is usually served hot and is accompanied by a side of diced onions and lemon wedges. It is often garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a dollop of butter.
6. Kathi Rolls
A kathi roll is a popular street food originating from Kolkata, India. Wrapped in tasty toppings, this mouth-watering dish is made on a grill with a paratha (Indian flatbread) or roti and cooked in oil or ghee. Next, the paratha is filled with a compelling mixture of ingredients, such as grilled chicken, lamb, or beef, fresh veggies, sauces, and spices.
Additionally, they can be customized to suit individual preferences, with options for vegetarians, vegans, and meat lovers alike. Fillings for vegetarian options can range from lentils and mixed veggies to paneer, an Indian cottage cheese. Because of these variations, Kathi rolls are a street meal many can enjoy, regardless of their dietary preferences.
Momos, a food dish with Tibetan origins, has become a mainstay foods in Kolkata culture after making its way into the city’s kitchen.
To make momos, a thin dough wrapper is filled with a mixture of minced chicken meat and finely chopped vegetables, including carrots, onions, and cabbage. The filling is seasoned with a mixture of spices and herbs, which imparts a flavor that is both tasty and savory.
After assembly, momos can be either steamed or fried. The steamed has a soft texture, while the fried is more crunchy. Serving both varieties with a spicy dipping sauce prepared with tomatoes, chiles, and garlic makes them just as appealing.
8. Chola Bhatura
The Chola Bhatura is quite famous in the Indian kolkata food. Kolkata is home to several street sellers who sell Chola Bhatura from their stalls in crowded marketplaces or on bustling street corners.
It is a delectable combination of spicy chickpea curry, known as chola, and deep-fried bread called bhatura. Chickpea curry, or Chola, is prepared with fragrant spices, including turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala. The flavors combine throughout the ideal slow cooking process, producing a thick and tasty gravy. The delicate chickpeas absorb all the flavorful spices, so every bite bursts with savory pleasure.
On the other hand, bhaturas are deep-fried breads with a golden, crispy surface and a soft, fluffy inside. The unique texture and flavor come from the combination of all-purpose flour, yogurt, and a sprinkle of baking soda.
Chola and bhatura, when presented side by side, provide a flavorful and texturally pleasing duo. Yogurt, crisp onions, and spicy pickles are common toppings for Chola Bhatura.
9. Doi Vora/Dahi Vada
Doi Vora, a tasty and famous kolkata food made with yogurt, is ideal for scorching summer days. The distinctive crunch and texture of doi vora come from the large quantity of yogurt combined with crunchy puffed rice in its creation. Incorporating finely sliced onions brings a sweetness complemented by the fiery heat from the green chilies. Chutneys and spices like mint and tamarind are added to make it more flavorful and give it a tangy, savory flavor.
This street food specialty is usually served in individual, throwaway bowls or plates for convenience. Both residents and visitors adore its refreshing flavor and pleasing blend of flavors.
10. Mughlai Parathas
Street sellers in Kolkata often sell Mughlai Parathas in the evenings and other busy times. Flaky, crunchy bread stuffed with thick, aromatic filling makes for a delightful paratha. A common recipe calls for all-purpose flour dough shaped into thin circles. Then, fragrant spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves are added to the dough before stuffing it with minced meat, usually mutton or chicken.
The parathas are stuffed and then rolled into a square or triangle form. They are cooked on a hot grill until golden brown and crispy. While the parathas are cooking, they are brushed with ghee or oil, which gives them a nice shine and makes the flavor better. A side of sour and spicy chutney is often served with Mughlai parathas.
Kolkata’s rich history and diverse culture have left their mark on the city’s biryani’s unique flavors and cooking techniques. The traditional ingredients of Kolkata biryani include fragrant long-grain Basmati rice, soft meat pieces (often mutton or chicken), and a mixture of flavorful spices.
Traditionally, the biryani is slowly cooked over low heat in a huge handi. This traditional Indian cooking pot combines the flavors and the meat to grow delicate and succulent. Every grain of rice is precisely cooked and imbued with flavorful spices thanks to the slow cooking method, which delivers a flavorful explosion with every bite.
The use of potatoes is what distinguishes Kolkata’s street-style biryani. When the potatoes are cooked with the meat, they absorb the flavorful spices and become a delectable side dish.
The street-style biryani in Kolkata is typically served with a cooked egg and a side of aromatic raita, a sauce made with yogurt, which gives the dish a little creaminess and protein.
12. Egg Paratha
In Kolkata, you can see street vendors selling Egg Paratha in all the lively marketplaces and on all the busy street corners. This paratha, an Indian flatbread, is loaded with a heaping serving of scrambled eggs and has a flaky, crispy exterior.
Parathas are created by rolling out a dough that is formed with flour, water, and a bit of salt. The dough is then kneaded. It is fried on a hot griddle with a touch of oil or ghee to get a golden brown and somewhat crunchy texture.
Spicy ingredients like turmeric, chili powder, salt, occasionally chopped onions, and green chilies are whisked into the eggs to make the scrambled eggs. When the egg mixture is combined, it is cooked in a separate pan until it becomes scrambled eggs that are light and fluffy.
After the paratha and scrambled eggs are prepared, they are spread uniformly over the paratha. Then, the paratha is rolled into a cylindrical shape or folded into a half-moon. Hot chutney or ketchup, which is sour and spicy, is served on the side.
13. Bhel Puri
If you’re in the mood for some traditional street foods in Kolkata or just want to satiate your hunger for something wonderful, you must try the Bhel Puri.
Puffed rice, sev (crispy fried noodles), chopped onions, tomatoes, and cooked potatoes are the ingredients that go into making Bhel Puri. After combining all ingredients in a big bowl, they are spiced with different chutneys and spices. Some examples of these chutneys are mint, tamarind, and green chili.
Churmur is a popular snack in Kolkata among natives and visitors for its flavor and deliciousness. Crushed and crisp puffed puris and little hollowed-out bread are the key ingredients in Shurmur.
The cooked potatoes, chopped onions, tamarind chutney, and spices are added to the puris afterward. The sev on top adds crunch, and the fresh coriander leaves add a refreshing touch.
Churmur is convenient to consume on the move because it’s usually served in little bowls or paper cones in Kolkata.
15. Aloo Kabli
Kolkata, India, is home to the well-known street dish aloo kabli. Crispy fried potatoes are paired with spicy and acidic toppings to create this tasty and savory snack.
Aloo Kabli’s core is a special combination of spices, including chaat masala, red chili powder, and cumin powder, which are applied to cubes of deep-fried potatoes. The potatoes are roasted to perfection, so they have a crunchy outside and a fluffy, tender inside.
Traditional toppings for Aloo Kabli include a variety of compelling ingredients that elevate the dish’s flavor. Chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chilies are possible additions; they bring a blast of flavor and a crisp crunch. A drizzle of spicy green chutney and tangy tamarind chutney adds a delicious blend of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors to complete the dish.
Crispy sev, a common Indian snack made from chickpea flour, is a common garnish for Aloo Kabli; it provides crunch and texture. This dish is finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an extra lemony and zesty touch.
16. Mishti Doi
Bengali sweets, known as Mishti Doi, are well-liked in Kolkata, India, and Bangladesh. To make this delectable yogurt-based dessert, the milk is reduced, sugar is added, and a unique culture known as “dahi” or “yogurt starter” is used for fermentation. After that, the mixture is allowed to set in containers, such as earthen pots, to impart its distinctive flavor and texture.
Due to the sugar caramelizing during fermentation, Mishti Doi has a somewhat caramelized flavor and a thick, creamy texture. To enhance the overall flavor and give a crunchy texture, chopped nuts like almonds or pistachios are often used as a garnish.
In addition to its delicious taste, Mishti Doi is also known for its health benefits. Yogurt contains probiotics, helpful bacteria that support a balanced intestinal environment and improve digestion. As a bonus, it’s a healthy dessert choice due to its high vitamin, protein, and calcium content.
17. Chanar Jilipi
Chanar Jilipi is typically enjoyed as a snack or dessert, perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth craving. It is commonly found in street food stalls and sweet shops across Kolkata, where it is freshly made and served piping hot.
Chhena, a cottage cheese, flour, and sugar syrup, form this delicious dessert. Forming it into a pretzel or spiral shape, it is deep-fried until crisp and golden.
Chanar Jilipi has a somewhat crunchy exterior and a soft, spongy interior. The jilipi are coated in a sweet syrup, which brings a pleasant taste to every bite. Powdered sugar or grated coconut are common garnishes that enhance its flavor.
18. Vada Pav
As a tasty and filling street food choice, Vada Pav is perfect for those on the go. It is a delicious and flavorful snack with a deep-fried potato cake, vada, sandwiched between a soft and fluffy pav (bread roll).
The vada is prepared by combining mashed potatoes that have been boiled with aromatic spices, including turmeric, red chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Flatten the ingredients into patties in a circle and fry them in oil until they are golden and crisp.
However, the pav is lightly roasted in butter or oil, so it gets a little crunch on the exterior and is still soft and fluffy inside. The vada’s spiciness and the pav’s smoothness are complementary flavors and textures that harmonize beautifully.
19. Kochuri Aloo Dum
Both residents and tourists to Kolkata rave about the street food dish Kochuri Aloo Dum. It is often enjoyed as a breakfast or brunch option but can be relished anytime.
The dough for the kochuri is created with all-purpose flour, semolina, and a small amount of ghee. It is then flattened out into small circles and filled with a delicious filling that consists of onions, mashed potatoes, and a mixture of flavorful spices. After the filled dough is meticulously wrapped and perfectly deep-fried, it has an irresistibly crispy and golden brown exterior.
On the other hand, aloo dum is a rich curry that features boiled potatoes simmered in a thick stew with tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and various spices such as red chili powder, turmeric, cumin, and coriander.
The kochuri and aloo dum complement each other beautifully when served together.
20. Tela Bhaja
In Kolkata, West Bengal, you may find the famous street snack Tela Bhaja, well-known for its tasty and crunchy texture. You may find it at many of the city’s street food stands, especially in the bustling New Market and Gariahat Market.
A batter of gram flour (besan) mixed with spices like turmeric, chili powder, and salt is applied over thinly sliced or chopped vegetables to make Tela Bhaja. After coating, the veggies are dropped into hot oil and cooked until crisp and golden.
With a side of tart tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup or with a dash of chaat masala, Tela Bhaja is typically served hot and fresh right out of the frying pan.
21. Egg Rolls
In Kolkata, egg rolls are a common street snack renowned for their mouthwatering blend of tastes and textures. This famous street dish from Kolkata is made up of a filling of spiced scrambled eggs wrapped around a thin paratha, or roti, a form of Indian bread.
The crunchiness of the paratha is enhanced by cooking it on a hot grill until it turns crispy and golden brown. After that, the paratha is topped with scrambled eggs, a heaping serving of green chilies, and finely chopped onions, giving the roll a tangy, refreshing zing. Some merchants use spicy green chutney or acidic tomato ketchup to take it to the next level.
The traditional way to serve egg rolls is hot, just off the grill. For portability and ease of consumption when on the move, they are frequently wrapped in foil or paper.
This mouthwatering meal has its roots in the Middle East but has been adapted to suit the taste buds of Kolkata’s diverse population.
A Kolkata-style shawarma is made from tender marinated meat slices (usually lamb or chicken) slowly roasted on a vertical rotisserie. A compelling mixture of spices, including garlic, paprika, coriander, and cumin, coats the meat, giving it a flavorful explosion.
The meat is then served with a range of accompaniments, thinly sliced, within warm, fluffy pita bread, or wrapped in soft naan bread. These could consist of crunchy lettuce, luscious tomatoes, tart pickles, and a dressing made of yogurt or creamy garlic sauce. Tastes and textures come together to form a pleasing and enticing harmonious blend.
23. Doodh Cola
Doodh Cola is a distinctive and reviving street snack from Kolkata that blends the classic tastes of milk with the delightful fizz of cola.
Doodh Cola, made by combining a large amount of cola with cold milk, has a well-balanced taste. The cola lends a hint of sweetness and carbonation, and the milk adds a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. The end product is a rich, decadent pleasure that satisfies and quenches thirst.
The mixture of the ingredients is expertly done by the vendors, producing a glass of Doodh Cola that is frothy and frosted and guaranteed to draw attention from onlookers.
24. Fruit Kulfi
Fruit Kulfi has a thick, creamy foundation and is enhanced with fresh fruits that naturally sweeten and magnify it. The flavors change according to what fruits are in season, but they usually include kiwis, strawberries, bananas, and mangoes. With their ideal maturity and juiciness guaranteed, these fruits offer a wonderful rush of flavors with every bite.
Blending the fruits with the kulfi base—a concoction of condensed milk, thickened milk, and flavorful spices like saffron and cardamom—is the first step in creating Fruit Kulfi. This mixture is then put into perfectly frozen molds, resulting in a velvety-textured, creamy, and delectable dessert.
Both locals and visitors adore the delicious sweet dessert, rosogolla, a famous street snack in Kolkata. This classic Bengali dish is a round, soft, and spongy dumpling called chhena, which is made of cheese and dipped in a flavorful, light syrup.
The first thing that hits your tongue when you bite into a Rosogolla is a sudden rush of sweetness that melts into your tongue. The fluffy, moist, and delicate texture of the chhena dumplings will take your taste senses on a trip to heaven. The delicate sweetness of the sugar syrup nicely counterbalances the china’s richness.
26. Pani Puri (Puchkas)
Pani Puri, commonly called Golgappa or Puchka, is a street food staple in Kolkata that entices the palate with a riot of flavors and textures.
Pani Puri is made out of small, round, crispy, hollowed-out dough balls called puris that are filled with a delicious blend of spices, mashed potatoes, and chickpeas. Next, a generous trickle of spicy mint-coriander water, called “pani” or water, and sour tamarind chutney are carefully poured over the puris.
The assembling process is when Pani Puri shines. The vendor expertly makes a little incision in the puri just before you eat it, forming a space to contain the tasty filling. To finish, the puri is dipped into the tangy pani and left to soak up all the delicious flavors. When you bite into a puri, it explodes, sending a wave of spicy, acidic flavor twirling around your taste buds.
In Kolkata, Pani Puri stalls can be found in every nook and cranny of the city. It is integral to the city’s vibrant street food culture, offering a tantalizing taste of Kolkata’s culinary heritage.
27. Luchi & Alu Dom
Most popular কলকাতা/Calcutta street food is Luchi & Alu Dom. Luchi is prepared by kneading a soft dough with flour, salt, and water; the dough is then rolled into small circles and deep-fried until golden and puffed. The outcome is a fluffy, crunchy bread that is ideal for absorbing the flavors of the Alu Dom that goes with it.
Boiled potatoes are cooked in a complex mixture of spices and aromatic herbs to create the tasty curry known as Alu Dom. Onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and various spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder, are usually used to make the curry. This aromatic sauce is used to boil potatoes until they become soft and fully absorb all delectable flavors.
The textures and flavors of the Luchi and Alu Dom come together harmoniously when served together. The spicy and tangy Alu Dom adds a blast of flavors, while the crunchy Luchi provides a delightful crunch. Although it can also be consumed as a quick snack during the day, this street dish is typically savored for breakfast or lunch.
28. Dragon Chicken
A popular and delicious Kolkata street foods Dragon Chicken will entice your taste buds. Both natives and tourists rave about this one-of-a-kind meal, which combines Chinese and Indian flavors.
The chicken is marinated in a fragrant mixture of spices, including ginger, garlic, chilli, and soy sauce until it becomes succulent. After marinating, the chicken is stir-fried with a rainbow of colorful veggies, including carrots, onions, and bell peppers, which give the dish its signature crunch.
This street food of Calcutta has unique smoky taste that is basically cooked on over high heat in a skillet or wok. A little char on the chicken, produced by the high heat, improves the dish’s flavor and texture. Dragon Chicken is often served with a side of steamed rice or noodles.
29. Veg Chowmin
A common Kolkata street foods, Veg Chowmin is a stir-fried noodle dish that bursts with colorful, fresh veggies. The classic recipe calls for a medley of veggies, including noodles, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and beansprouts. The noodles are cooked just right, so they have a delightful chew, and the veggies keep their crunch and taste.
The special combination of sauces and spices in Kolkata’s Veg Chowmin makes it stand out. Flavorful soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and vinegar spice up the dish. Indulge your taste senses with this combination’s enticing scent and deep umami flavor.
The noodles in Veg Chowmin are often fried in big woks at high heat to ensure they absorb all vegetable flavors and savory sauce. It is commonly served on a small paper or plastic plate, making it a convenient option for those on the go.
30. Non Veg Thali
The irresistible Non-veg Thali is a must-try when exploring the lively alleys of Kolkata. This calcutta food is perfect for those who prefer meat with more spice,
A juicy chunk of soft chicken or mutton marinated in a mixture of flavorful spices and cooked to perfection is the star of a non-vegetarian thali. Traditionally, the meat is cooked in Bengali style, allowing the spices to seep into the meat and create a flavorful fusion. The meat is frequently served with a flavorful curry that combines spices, onions, and tomatoes.
The aromatic rice, cooked to a fluffy perfection, is typical of the Thali. Dal, a creamy and warm lentil soup, is one of several delicious recipes served with it.
Additionally, the Thali also features a variety of vegetable dishes, such as stir-fried greens or mixed vegetable curries, adding a refreshing and nutritious element to the meal.
Traditional accompaniments to the Thali include tangy and spicy pickles, cool yogurt, and crunchy papadums, which create an array of flavors and sensations.
What Are the Famous Foods of Kolkata?
Kolkata is well-known for its varied and delicious food options. Some of the famous foods of Kolkata include:
1. Macher jhol (Fish Curry)
2. Shorshe Ilish
3. Aloo Posto
4. Kosha Mangsho
5. Chop and Cutlet
6. Kathi Rolls
7. Vada Pav
9. Aloor Dum
What is the Famous Drink in Kolkata?
There are numerous famous drinks in Kolkata, including:
1. Chai (Tea)
2. Daab Sharbat ( Coconut Juice)
3. Sugarcane juice
4. Kolkata Lemonade
5. Coffee House
6. Nolen Gur Sherbet
7. Mango Lassi
The street food of Kolkata is more than just a menu; it takes you on a culinary adventure through the rich culture, customs, and hospitality of the city. However, you should not miss some of the best street cuisines in Kolkata; these dishes include samosas, jhalmuri, veg thali, rosogolla, chicken biryani, Ghugni Chaat, tele bhaja, samosa, and pani puri.
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