“Where to eat and why it matters in the world’s best food cities”. That’s the tagline for Eater, an award-winning digital media brand dedicated to all things food and dining which publishes a list of the world’s best culinary destinations every year. And their 2023 list featured the city of foodies, Kolkata.
Eater’s list included a variety of cuisines from around the world, including those from Albuquerque, Cambridge, Dakar, Sardinia, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Tamaki Makaurau, Asheville, Halland and Guatemala City
The capital of West Bengal is the only Indian city which made it to the list of the eleven best food destinations in the world for 2023.
Known for having one of the richest street food culture in India, Kolkata is a treasure trove for gastronomes from around the world. The culinary scene reflects the melting pot influences of various cultures, from the British and Mughal eras to regional cuisines. The people of the City of Joy take immense pleasure in discussing food rituals and daily meals. Here’s a glimpse into the many culinary threads of Kolkata.
The Joys Of Bangali Food
Bengalis have always had time to fuss over food along with other “cultural” preoccupations. However with modern life, work pressures, and double income families, spending hours in the kitchen making mochar chop with cha, or the three-fold preparations of a chitol muitha are consigned to special occasions now. Which leaves visiting family and friends in a bit of a spot. Once, home-cooked feasts laid out in their honour featured three kinds of fish plus meat, besides seven or so shaak-shobji (vegetables and greens). Now you either go to Bengali restaurants. Or wait for Durga Puja. In Kolkata, this mega festival is synonymous with food.From street food to bhog, the city offers a myriad of choices for foodies to indulge. For anyone who has lived in Kolkata for long, Durga Puja is more than just a religious affair. The five days of celebrations are a heady mix of food, love, culture and a good dose of lively chaos. Read more about the role food plays in the festival here.
The Best Of Street Food
It is worth making a trip to India’s cultural capital just to try its scrumptious street food. From the signature kathi rolls to phuchkas, chowmein and chop-cutlets, the streets are a smorgasbord of different dishes. Read more about the street food of Kolkata in our guide here.
Biryanis And Kebabs
You can find a hand-picked list of the best places to try Kolkata’s famed kathi rolls and biryani here.
The Famed Kolkata Chinese Food
When a businessman from China named Tom Achew landed in what we call today as Achhipur, little did anybody know that Kolkata’s favourite cuisine was soon to be born. Over time, Chinese cuisine has gained such popularity among local crowd, that it is almost impossible to beat it. The primary influence here has been Cantonese food which most Chinese restaurants in the city have customized to suit the Indian palate. From the oldest to the poshest, some of the best Chinese restaurants in the City of Joy can be found in this list.
RELATED: Why Hakka Noodles Is A Calcutta Specialty
ALSO READ: Chinese Breakfast At Bentinck Street
The Watering Holes
From men-only bars to new-age microbreweries, Kolkata has a distinct pub culture that is worth experiencing. Here’s a hand-picked list of some of the best in town.
ALSO READ: Chhota Bristol: A People’s Bar In Kolkata
From a heritage Jewish bakery to a classic tearoom to a Goan bakery, Kolkata has many surprises up its sleeve.
These come into their own during Christmas when the city rushes to buy cakes and baked goodies. Bakeries across the city have a delectable range of cakes and goodies. But there are five stops in the city which remain perennial favourites. Check them out here.
The Eater brand (acquired by Vox Media in 2013), comprises a US-based site covering food and dining culture, 25 city sites tracking local dining scenes, a robust YouTube channel featuring documentary-style video about the inner workings of restaurants, and a variety of social channels, all run by a diverse team of writers, editors, producers, and contributors. Over the years, Eater has been recognised by numerous awards and organisations for its achievements in food journalism and media, winning 11 James Beard Awards, three American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Awards, five New York Emmys, and more than a dozen Association of Food Journalists Awards to date.