November 30, 2008

I Love Puchkas

It was a trip down memory lane when I had a chance to visit my city of birth – Kolkata – last week.

I was born and brought up in the ‘City of joy’ but moved out in late 80s. Though, there are many places associated with my childhood but being a food junkie, I didn’t want to miss one thing – the Bong eateries.

Many things changed in Kolkata. The lanes, the buildings, and the traffic etc etc..the only thing which is intact since ages is its road side snacks.

Favourite snack of the Kolkatan is the puchka — pani puris and golgappas come a distant second. The crisp puchka, with its mashed potato filling and dipped in tangy tamarind water and eaten out of saal leaf rolled into cups, is an experience to be savoured.
Favourite hangouts are near Victoria Memorial and Vivekananda Park in South Kolkata. My own favourite is Panditji near Birla Academy. Another delicacy from the puchkawallah is the churmur — crushed puchka with potato and masala, which has not yet found its way to other cities.

Jhalmuri or masala muri is a favourite item of all. Its acceptance lies in the fact that it is easy to make, available everywhere, safe on the stomach and best of all, can be customised to suit every palate. An item, made even at home and the focal point of many an adda and party.

A recommendatory guide is incomplete without mention of the sweets of Bengal, found in every lane of Kolkata. There is a distinct north-south divide in this regard with old-time favourites spread throughout Kolkata. Favourites are Kacha Golla (Nakur), Mishti Dohi (Bhim Nag, Bowbazar and Jadab, R.B. Avenue), Sandesh (all types) from Balaram (Bhowanipur), Pantua from Bancharam, Indrani from Ganguram and the list could go on and on.

I am feeling hungry again!