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Best of Bengal: exploring Kolkata's rich culinary heritage hero image

Best of Bengal: exploring Kolkata's rich culinary heritage

Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is known for its rich cultural heritage, colonial architecture, and, of course, its delicious cuisine. The city's culinary history is a reflection of its diverse past, with influences from the Mughals, the British, and the Portuguese, among others. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the best of Bengal and explore some of Kolkata's most iconic dishes.

  1. Rosogolla No trip to Kolkata is complete without trying the iconic rosogolla, a spongy, syrupy dessert that's famous throughout India. This Bengali sweet has been around for over a century and is made with chhena (a type of cottage cheese) and dipped in sugar syrup. You'll find it in most sweet shops and restaurants in Kolkata, but it's particularly popular at iconic spots like KC Das, Bhim Nag, and Nalin Chandra Das & Sons.
  2. Mishti Doi Another must-try sweet is mishti doi, a creamy, sweetened yogurt that's typically served in earthen pots. This dessert is unique to the region and is made by boiling milk, adding sugar, and allowing it to ferment overnight. It's usually garnished with pistachios or saffron and has a delightful tangy flavor. You can find it at any local sweet shop or try it at legendary spots like Bhim Chandra Nag or Shyam Sundar Co.
  3. Kathi Rolls Kathi rolls are one of Kolkata's most beloved street foods. These wraps are made with a paratha or roti, filled with spiced meat or vegetables, and topped with onions, chutney, and sometimes an egg. They're a popular on-the-go snack and can be found at street-side vendors, as well as at more upscale restaurants like Nizam's, Bedwin, and Kusum Rolls.
  4. Jhal Muri Another iconic street food is jhal muri, a snack that's similar to bhel puri or chivda. It's made with puffed rice, peanuts, onions, chilies, and a mix of spices and chutneys. You can find it at street stalls throughout the city, but some of the most popular spots include Gariahat, Lake Market, and Vardaan Market.
  5. Kosha Mangsho If you're a meat lover, you can't miss kosha mangsho, a slow-cooked mutton curry that's packed with spices and flavor. The meat is marinated in a mix of yogurt and spices for several hours before being cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings. It's typically served with luchi (deep-fried bread) or paratha (flatbread) and is a popular dish at local restaurants like Kewpie's, Peter Cat, and Arsalan.
  6. Chingri Malai Curry For seafood lovers, chingri malai curry is a must-try dish. This creamy curry is made with jumbo prawns, coconut milk, and a mix of spices and is often served with steamed rice. You'll find it at local restaurants like 6 Ballygunge Place, Bhojohori Manna, and Oh! Calcutta.

In conclusion, Kolkata's culinary heritage is diverse, rich, and absolutely delicious. From sweet treats like rosogolla and mishti doi to savory delights like kathi rolls and kosha mangsho, there's something for every palate. So the next time you're in Kolkata, be sure to explore the city's vibrant food scene and indulge in the best of Bengal.

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