phuchka kolkata style

As I stand in front of the phuchka counter, the man there picks up a hollow crisp phuchka shell, makes a small hole on top, fills it up with spiced potatoes, and pour some sour tamarind laced water inside. The water transforms the rather bland potato filling, adding a delicate hint of lemon and a kick from the chillies. I down a few of these before moving on to the next thing on my list, Jhaalmuri

kolkata phuchka

I am dining at K19, the all day dining restaurant at Park Plaza. The Street Food Festival is on here, and on the menu is street food across the town. The chef has brought in phuchka and jhalmuri, different kinds of telebhaja, plenty of kathi rolls, pao bhaji, moglai paratha, and kabiraji. I am inadvertently drawn towards the fish kabiraji, which is a delicate affair of white fish fillet, topped with an filigree of egg, fried to a delicious golden. Although the top is not as crisp as I like, the fish is fresh and tasty.

kolkata jhalmuri

But then, the lure of the jhalmuri is there. They have a DIY counter, where you can ask the person to make you one with your own choice of flavors – they have pickles, peanuts, tomatoes, cucumber, chanachur, mustard oil, green chillies, onions, coconut to choose from, and I gleefully pick this and that to make my own concoction. The ultimate result is served in a paper bag, just the way the vendors serve it in the sidewalk.

kolkata style chow mien

There are other street favourites too, like the chow mien, which tastes exactly like the concoction created on the roadside. I love the presentation – it is topped with the ubiquitous ‘salad’ of cucumber and onions, and some tomato sauce, again, 100 marks for presentation exactly the way they serve it on the streets.

Kolkata Kathi rolls

There are two varieties of kathi roll on offer – with paneer and chicken stuffing. I am not too fond of these, since the filling is a bit too salty for me, and the paneer is not as soft as I would like it to be, but the paratha is light and not greasy, which is a plus point.

Phulkopir shingara

But the phoolkopir shingara stands out on two counts – one, it is incredibly flaky, crunchy, and exactly what a Bengali shingara should be – with a skin which is not too dense or light, and a filling which is light, moist, with a little bit of sugar. In one word – this is perfection. Any Bengali sweet shop would be proud.

Pao Bhaji

The pao bhaji, on the other hand, is not my thing – the bhaji is too sour for my taste, and not enough heat. The pao needs to be fried more, and I believe the bhaji should be customised according to the taste buds of the consumer. However, the moglai paratha completely makes up for it. The parathas are densely packed with eggy goodness, and the spicy potato served with it is absolutely spot on. A good dish, through and through, especially if you dont mind the fact that this packs a huge calorific punch.

moglai paratha

The Street Food Festival will be part of K19’s buffet till the 14th of June, and you can always order something a-la-carte if you want to. A great option for those who would want to eat something deliciously unhealthy because the mood has struck, and don’t feel like going out to the streets in this heat.

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at K19 at the kind invitation of the management. 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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