Kolkata & Chinese food- an emotional journey!
When we think of Kolkata, the common things that come to our mind is Roshogolla, Mishti Doi, Durga Pujo, Howrah Bridge, Chinese food. Not many of us know about a small world of China that breathes in the womb of this massive Kolkata. You will be amazed to see how a Bengali locality transforms into a Chinese fast food joint every morning at around 6.AM and ends by 11.A.M. You will be served with authentic breakfast spread straight from the kitchen of Chinese Households, if you walk into this busy street of North Kolkata when most of the city is still getting ready for a long day ahead.
The origin of the cuisine called “Indian Chinese”
The history of this unique cuisine goes back to the late 18th century when people came from China and settled in parts of Kolkata. Eventually, they started making Chinese food with whatever was available in the local markets of Calcutta.
This was pretty much the introduction of Chinese food in the Indian Plates. The legacy that came in years ago has still managed to survive in small communities around nooks and corners of the city.
The best place to witness the pure Chinese flavors you have to come down to Senyet Sen street commonly known as Territy Bazar. This lane near the Central Metro station is like any normal dingy lanes of old Calcutta but turns into a Chinese food street every morning at around 6 A.M.
The area is filled mostly with local Chinese households selling authentic breakfast dishes in small makeshift shops on the road. This street-food trail has a lot more to offer than the so-called “Chinese Food” we are used to from childhood.
This street has some incredible breakfast dishes made by people whose origin are from Fujian and Guangdong. You may not like the aesthetics but let me assure you what every food you order is fresh, piping hot, authentic and pocket-friendly.
What Territy bazar has on offer for you
If you are up for authentic Hakka or Cantonese breakfast you should definitely try :
Khwai Choi Pan
Momo (though Tibetian influences but a very tasty addition to the plate)
Kolkata- the cultural melting pot
This city that has seen a lot of changes over the years. It has been one of the most vibrant and welcoming city since time immemorial. Every big world event has shown some impact on the city in ways more than one. Be it the influence in the city architecture and introduction of the iconic Trams during the British Raj, the construction of Bow Barracks during the 2nd World war which later on became the face of Anglo India Community or the introduction of Jewish churches, schools, and bakeries after Jews found solace in this city. But the most valuable and popular contribution, especially on our dining tables, was from China.
Kolkata has been home to the Chinese community for decades. They have become a part us yet maintained their cultural identity so intact. Be it the schools with Mandarin as their medium of instruction, or the Chinese kali temples (where noodles are offered to the deity) or including us in their elaborate Chinese New Year celebrations. But the most prominent contribution will always be the bliss of the famous Indian Chinese food.
Our Country is known for the diversity. But once you visit these places it will make you realize, how big a role these small pockets of communities settled all around the country has in making our country a global home. So on your next trip to our City of Joy, do not miss a chance to visit this amazing Chinese breakfast joint at the heart of the city. And if you are in Bengal do plan a visit to Territy Bazar for some mouth-watering delicacies.
That’s the cute little world of Indianised China for you!
To know about the culinary cultures of Bhutan click The taste of Bhutan
We also have a delicious spread for you from the beautiful city of Coorg- The Scotland of India
Do let me know if you liked this food blog and please share your experience as well. Let me know if you want me to write about any specific cuisine. It is always very exciting to hear from you.
Some exciting travel and food blog coming up real soon. Be with me on this amazing journey of travel, food and inspiring stories of life and of course have an awesome life, my lovely readers.
Lots of love!
All pictures are clicked by Raghu. Check his profile for more photos!
Whenever I am traveling, the thought that lingers in my mind other than exploring the place is food. I am constantly in search of local cuisine, signature dishes, a variety of spices used and the unique flavors. This time my search for unique favors brought me to Bhutan-The land of dragons.With 70% greenery and terrific master peace like Tigers nest Monastery to its credit, Bhutan boasts of its culture, heritage, architecture and natural beauty. But the experience of Bhutan will remain incomplete if we do not talk about its cuisine.
Though you get a lot of eateries serving Indian and Chinese food, the actual Bhutanese cuisine is quite different. Little things like use of chilies as a vegetable rather than just a spice, generous use of cheese in most of the dishes and use of wooden bowls to serve their food makes the dining one of a kind experience.
The most popular dishes of Bhutan
Kewa means chilies in their local language and datshi means cheese. This is a simple dish of sliced green or red chili in a thick white sauce made with cheese. This Is the most popular dish of Bhutan but has a lot of variety to it. Some prepare it with fresh green chilies and some with dry red chilies. In some restaurants, its quite dry and some serve it in a thick rich gravy form. They are light empowering the taste of the chilies and cheese.
Ema datshi is similar to Kewa datsi except, now chilies are replaced by potatoes. It is comparatively less spicy. In someplace they use chilies as well. The chilies and potatoes balance the heat and the cheese complements the taste very well.
Another variation to it is Shamu Datshi ie mushroom and cheese.
If you are a non-vegetarian you can try
Sakham ema datshi– curry made with beef, chili and cheese
Gonda datshi– scrambled eggs with butter and cheese
Most of these curries taste the best with their authentic red rice. It is somewhat similar to the red rice we get in southern India but tasted totally different with the above dishes mentioned above. You also get the regular white rice but if you want the original flavors of Bhutanese cuisine, you should try them with red rice
Goen hogay is a traditional Bhutanese salad made with small pieces of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, some spicy chili flakes, and cheese to enhance the flavor and texture.
Zaow is a popular snacking item of Bhutan. These are crunchy puffed rice served as munchies.You can enjoy them with tea or drinks. Its also quite a nice time pass while travelling.
Suja or butter tea is a must try refreshment when you are in Bhutan. This is made with a tea concoction and butter. It is quite salty to taste but it has quite a soothing effect. The saltiness of Suja took me to surprise initially but later I realized the butter that adds to the saltiness keeps you warm and helps you cope with the cold of Bhutan.
These are small cubes of very hard cheese made from Yak milk. Its a very common snack in Himalayan regions. I also came across these hard cheese cubes during my Sikkim trip. Its mildly sweet and very very hard to chew. You have to literally chew it for hours for it to melt. Avoid having them if you have a migraine.
Summing it up
Bhutan introduces me to a new world of food. I was quite awestruck to see that two neighboring countries that are separated just by a gate can show such striking differences. To see the beautiful contrast in such a small vicinity was quite an experience.
Let me know about the dishes you had tried during your trip to Bhutan.
If you want to know about the specialty of Coorg, click Flavours of Coorg
To know about my offbeat travel destination click Varkala- offbeat beach destination of Kerela.
Coorg is a very popular weekend destination for anyone living or working in Bangalore. The place is famous for its weather, natural habitat and of course coffee. The equanimity of the place, the pleasant weather, the cute homestays in lavish coffee estates, the aroma of coffee during blooms are undoubtedly the reason to attract a lot of travelers to Kodava district. But Coorg has a lot more to offer especially on the table.
Specialty of Coorg
Coorgies are mostly a warrior clan, which has a lot of influence in their cuisine.They are meat lovers and prefer using locally grown spices.Their language, rituals, dressing sense and the food is quite different from other parts of Karnataka. You will witness the predominant use of local spices like cardamom, pepper, Kachampuli( local vinegar) and Parangali Malu ( bird’s eye chili) in their cooking.Not just food, Coorgies are quite famous for their Homemade wines and Bella Coffee( coffee with jaggery) as well.
Pandi Curry – ( Coorgie pork Curry)
Coorgies are the ultimate pro when it comes to pork. The small tender pieces of pork cooked to perfection in a dark gravy of local spices. The flavors of spices are quite rich but the taste is balanced with the kachampuli (local vinegar). Their dish is nothing close to any pork curry I had eaten before.
Koli Curry- ( Chicken curry)
If you are not a pork lover, you can try the Koli curry. The taste is not even close to Pundi curry but the use of coconut, curry leaves along with local spices make the dish quite tasty.
Baimballe Curry-( Bamboo shoot curry)
Bamboo shoot is one of the locally found vegetables that has found a primary place in Coorg cuisine. Its a mildly flavored yet a very tasty vegetarian dish.
Kaddumbuttu – (Rice balls)
Kaddumbuttus are little steamed white balls made with rice flour. They are popularly served with Pandi Curry.
Bella coffee- (Jaggery Coffee)
Coorg is one of the biggest coffee cultivators in India. You can breathe in the aroma of coffee in the air all throughout your journey. Especially if you visit Coorg in the season of blooms. Kodavas are not just proud of the quality of their coffee but the unique way of preparation. It is the jaggery that brings out the real taste of coffee making it different from other refreshments.
Coorgies take pride in their Wine. Most houses in Coorg make their own wine from natural ingredients like pineapple, passionfruit, apple, ginger, grapes and many other fruits. The mildly fermented wine is something you should never miss at any cost. Try tasting these wine and am sure you will want to bring a few bottles back home.
This was my gastronomic tour to Coorg. Try these on your next trip to Coorg and let me know if I missed any special dish in the comment section below.
If you want to know the unique connection between mountains and simple maggie click Maggie and Mountains
To travel with me to an offbeat beach destination click Varkala- an offbeat travel destination
Be with me as I take you on a self-discovering Journey to Varanasi
Terrace and Tea, Cold and coffee, Stress and Smoke, Bed and Books they share not just the initials but have created some unforgettable memories of our life. At times it’s the need of the hour and sometimes just a comfort of our demanding schedule. But heard of Maggie & Mountains? It is hands down the most comforting combo. If you have little clue of what I am saying, get ready for an emotional rollercoaster.
Lets explore comfort of tough terrains
Imagine, you are covered with multiple layers of clothes, your nose dry af, eyes watering, you can even hear the your teeth chatter.But you don’t care. Your worries, ego, anxiety everything feels so insignificant in front of this massive stretch of mountains. The freshness of the breeze purifying all the unnecessary toxins that you have gathered over. Life seems so simple easy and light. You can literally feel your soul unleashing itself making you feel like a bird. You feel so accomplished that you are ready to embrace any level of so called physical discomfort.
Little care is just what you need
This was on my way to visit The Nathula pass. The scenery outside the car’s window was beautiful. The cool breezy weather, the freshness in the air, the floating clouds and the narrow hill roads took me to a beautiful state of mind.The driver broke my chain of thoughts as he turned and asked
“Madam, we will take a short break here, you can have some refreshments here.”
There was a small family-run shop. I ordered a cup of tea and sat at a distance just gazing at the mountains. I felt a sense of accomplishment that I could finally make it to the mountains all by myself.I noticed a little girl walking towards me with a cup of hot tea and a steamy bowl of Maggie noodles.
I was surprised as I didn’t order for it. She sat beside me and insisted me to have that Maggie. Initially I resisted but couldn’t say no when she started feeding me. I was so moved to tears by her gesture. She started talking to me about her puppies, her love for noodles and her best friend in school. It felt like she knew me for ages.
She noticed my watery eyes and wiped my tears with her little hands. The innocent soul thought spicy noodles made me cry. She ran and got me two candies. I couldn’t hold myself back and gave her a tight hug.
The driver honked. “Time to go!”.I cleared the bill, wave goodbye to the little angel and sat inside the car. My journey continued. We never met again but her thoughts never faded away.
That day I realised, simplicity and innocence are the only treasures of life. These treasures are within us. Travel just gives us a chance to meet our true self and value those treasures.
Memories- the priceless treasure!
I also realised Maggie for people in the mountains are a means to livelihood. It’s a huge source of income for them.It’s a life saver for travelers. It’s a beautiful opportunity to strike of conversations with fellow travelers with whom you meet while you taking rest in-between your breathtaking journey to explore the unexplored. You exchange your travel experience and gain a lot of information from them.And of course, you get to talk to the native people and if lucky get an opportunity to sneak into their day to day life.
Every time you decide to take a pitstop for some maggie, you end up making some unforgettable memories that stays with you all your life.
That was my story of Maggie and Mountains! Do share with me your story in the comment section below.
To know more about my solo venture to Sikkim click Sikkim- the land of mist and mountains
Come with me for a backpacking trip to Kerala.
Lots of love!