If you ask Sujata ji about her food favorites, you will be greeted with a warm voice, a mind recollecting her favorites in the city and she will definitely tell you about them, some still available in Kolkata, some shops closed now.
Sujata Goenka, a passionate blogger ( her food page is fb.com/sujug58) was born and brought up in Kolkata. Presently based in Gurgaon, I had a rendezvous with her discussing her favorite food items in the city!
Below is a excerpt of her favorites –
Marwadies are known for being wealthy and great food lovers . I was born in a marwadi family in the affluent south Calcutta region . My family loved food and Ma had a passion for cooking . With this combination I was bound to become a foodie while my sister inherited the cooking passion. They cooked, I ate.
The acres of maidan in front of Victoria Memorial was a paradise for foodies even in the days when I grew up . The horse drawn tangas , the ice cream vendors the balloon walla , the old horses for joy rides for kids were all present and even now after fifty years still attract hundreds on any given day . The evening was when this place came to life. The street vendors had their fixed spot and one could have a full six course meal there including a soft drink and dessert. Every weekend a car load of children, meaning us .Very often more than one car. Anyway , the good old Ambassador cars could carry all of us squeezed in . We were a joint family landed up in Victoria with Ma . I do not recall any of my aunts taking us.
The street vendors knew our car and would flock and would also know our preferences . The orders were taken orally and now that I think of it those guys had an amazing memory . They never mixed an order. Though there were many cars on weekends all wanting the same things but with different taste. Some more khatta , some more mittha , some teekha.
Maya ram muriwalla I remember well . There was an orange kulfiwalla I loved and the dal kavarda. Masala thumbs up to end my dinner was usually what I ordered. There was Chilla, puchka and ghugni . If I ordered ghugni we shared then we could have other things as well . One or two puchka pieces was enough for me.
All these now have shifted to Vardhan market and Ac market .Ofcourse street food is still hawked at the Victoria but the permanent stalls have been removed .
In the days gone by going out to eat was a occasion. Vineet ,JyotiVihar , Snack bar , Flury’s Sky room were some of the places we visited. But mind you these were rare like once a year , not like children are accustomed to now. One can see packed restaurants on any given day . The outings have become a norm rather than special treat.
Flury’s breakfast when in college and school with friends. The most popular item was the baked beans on toast and the boat pastry and the unbeatable rum ball . The milk bread was unique to this bakery .
Now both the ambience and quality have changed with a change of hands of the oldest landmark of Calcutta . It is renovated and has losts its old charm .Ofcourse there is a lot more competition now.
The New Market was not only where we would go to do shopping but get some goodies too . The ancient bakery of Nahaoms , called us to pick up stick jaws , mint , and my favorite cheese straws . On Christmas the Christmas cake was a must .Outside there were men with small baskets hanging around their necks . There were chips and popcorn , available in small packs . No popcorn can replace the taste of those . After all childhood taste remains forever.
There was a time we did not want home food . South Indian, the new kid on the block was visited. A dosa place near our house was attacked at weekends. The snack bar . At the time Dosa was not so popular as it is now. We would stand and eat on the small tables put out outside the counter. I think the first one was the alipore one next to Jindal house . Next was near the horticultural garden and another one in New Alipore, The New Snack Bar. All else it used to be only Jyoti Vihar.
So here we have the gems of the city then and now! Do you agree? Shoot in the comments below