Kolkata, West Bengal Food & Travel EP 1 | Food Heaven

Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali! Day 1 in Kolkata! How good it feels to pass over the Howrah Bridge! This bridge was completed in 1943. This is world's sixth largest cantilever bridge. More than a lakh vehicles pass over this bridge on a daily basis. In 1965, the bridge was renamed 'Rabindra Setu' After crossing the bridge, we came towards the river bank. By the way, what you see in the backdrop is the new bridge. This is a modern structure bridge, called Vidyasagar Setu! Today, we are planning to do sightseeing throughout Kolkata and enjoy the food & travel. First of all, let us go for breakfast. On the M.G. Road, this is a very popular shop, Deshbandhu, for luchi and kachori. Sir, luchi! With luchi, I am getting aloo ki sabzi (potato curry) Looking at the structure of this shop, it looks really old.

Luchi and, with it, this potato curry! Look at the size of this luchi. A very small poori, prepared with maida (all purpose flour). It is good! Though luchi is okay, I am really liking the taste of this potato curry. One more thing, that is worth mentioning, is…. Here, they cook this luchi in ghee. This is a unique aspect. Very simple potato curry! The potatoes have been cooked with the skin on. Ahh! Good! And… very simple! They also have a lot of options available in sweets. I am buying for myself Gulab Jamun! Wow!!! I've heard a lot about Kolkata sweets! Therefore, I am quite excited about trying sweets here. I will try, for all the coming days that I am here,…. …to eat 2-3 sweets daily here. Sugar level perfect! Everything is perfect! I mean to say… …too good! On the road in front, I can see tram tracks. This is a unique aspect. You won't see this anywhere else, other than Kolkata. This concept of all the vehicles plying on the same road as the tram.

We've come to visit the ancestral house of world-renowned poet, Rabindranath Tagore. He was born here in 1861. He spent most of his life in this house. This house contains Gurudev's personal items, displayed for public viewing. Photography is prohibited inside. We have just come out after visiting the museum. He was the first non-European person…. …who was awarded Nobel prize for literature in 1913…. …for his collection of poems, Gitanjali. Rabindranath Tagore has accomplished a number of achievements in his life time…. …through which he brought laurels to the country. Through his poems, plays, songs & literature, he was read and appreciated the world over. The Indian national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana," is derived from a song, "Bharat Bhagya Vidhata"…. …written by Gurudev! He has also written the song "Amar Sonar Bangla," adopted as the national anthem of Bangladesh. Apart from the museum, there is also a "Rabindra Bharati University,"….

…which is famous for imparting quality cultural education. There are some places where you feel like spending as much time as possible. I am having an almost similar feeling on coming here. For lunch, we are going to Koshe Kosha. It is located on the Ripon Street. We have to travel 5kms to reach there. So, it will take 20-25 minutes to reach. Although, it is not the peak time, but traffic…. …is quite heavy right now. Wow! A while ago, I was talking about tram.

And now, we saw the tram passing before us. Tram operations began in Kolkata in 1873. I am trying to imagine…. …during that time, it would have been just the tram on the roads and now…. ….it is normal traffic plus tram. Interesting food for thought! We've reached here and ordered food for ourselves. Till the main course is being prepared,… …we got this fish fry. For your reference, whenever you come to Kolkata,…

….you must not miss eating Bhetki fish. This is the fillet that you see in front of you. And the coating over this fillet is not rawa (semolina) but bread crumbs. It has been fried. With this, I will have some of this sauce as well. One thing I have to admit – even if this mustard sauce is a foot away from you…. …you can still feel that it is going to taste amazing. Wow! This is amazing! Look at this marination over the fish. Here, see this! I think it is coriander or mint! With garlic, of course! Too good! Mmm! Lovely! Really delicious taste! And quite different too! By the way, mustard is my personal favorite. I can eat it anywhere, in any form…. …you must have seen in my past videos, I experienced the same thing in Shimla too. But I was told that the variety of mustard I will get here, in different form or shape,…. …is difficult to come across anywhere else. So, today it is Day 1. I will experience it more going further. Mmmm! Lovely! Just look at it! Great! For the past two minutes, I have been looking attentively to ascertain the color of this mutton gravy.

Usually, you will not see a mutton gravy in this color. So, i found out that this dish is prepared through slow cooking method. It takes 4-6 hours to cook. Second thing – This recipe is absolutely unique in that it doesn't make use of water at all. And a preparation of this kind, just imagine, this colour and no water used in it…. …you will get to eat only once you come here. This rice pulao (pilaf) has raisins and cashew nuts. In a bite, I can experience cinnamon, lots of whole spices,…. …and everything else. And this gravy is quite thick. In fact, just by 1 or 2 bites of this, I can feel that…. …this dish is going to be very delicious. The most different aspect is this…. …I have never experienced this kind of taste before in my life. I mean to say that the spices used in this dish are all local. Absolutely different! And this recipe, even if someone is not aware of that,…. …and is eating it for the first time, that person can deduce that it requires a lot of hard work to cook.

In other words, a lot of time has been spent to cook this recipe. While placing my order, I was told this would be spicy but… …since I generally eat spicy food, therefore,… …I find the spice level quite normal. But this dish has more spice content than usual. The correct way to eat this would be to add a little mutton gravy to a lot of rice and enjoy it. This preparation takes a lot of time to cook. Thus, I was expecting the mutton to taste this good! Very tender and deliciously cooked meat! I am so impressed with the taste of Kosha Mangsho…. …that while eating it I've decided that…. …before ending Kolkata journey,…

….I will eat this dish, at least, once again. Look at how easily I can divide this mutton piece into two portions. And I don't have words to praise the gravy enough. Very, very thick…..and absolutely different taste! So much unique!!! I've eaten a lot of this gravy and I feel that…. …I should order another serving because…. …I had ordered only half a portion for myself thinking that it would be more than enough for me.

Really lip-smacking! Highly impressed! If I try to eat Kosha Mangsho either with a paratha or a roti,… …it will not taste as good as it does with this Basanti Pulao. Wow! I am really happy today after enjoying this tasty and amazing combination. Right now, we are at Kolkata's famous Shobabazar Rajbari. The Zamindar family's famous Durga Puja celebrations have been taking place here since 1757. There is a story behind this famous Durga Puja ceremony. In 1757, during the battle between the British and Siraj ud-Daulah,…. …Raja Nabakrishna Deb, founder of this Rajbari, fought on the side of the British. After the battle was won, to celebrate the victory,…. ….in 1757, the first Durga Puja was performed in the Rajbari. Since then, every year, Durga Puja is celebrated here with the usual fervour. For your information, during 1897, when Swami Vivekananda..

…returned from the Chicago Parliament of Religion,… …he was accorded a grand reception in this Rajbari. And now we've reached in this famous shop to eat its famous rasgulla! If you see the board outside, it is written here "Inventor of rasgulla." They have a lot of varieties in rasgulla. I am getting two pieces for myself. One is…. …made with Nolen Gur (date palm jaggery). It has date palm jaggery in it and it is available only during season. And the second piece is that of their famous rasgulla, which you can see on your screens. This rasgulla that you are looking at, it is believed that this was invented by Shri Nobin Chandra Das…. …and today it is popular throughout the country. Everything is perfect! I mean to say that… …this rasgulla has A-class sponginess and perfect sweetness.

Neither too much sweet nor too little. Great taste! I am experiencing the taste of Nolen Gur for the first time here in Kolkata. The gur used in this rasgulla is prepared from Khajoor (date palm). And here we are eating a rasgulla made with that gur. This is also tasty! But, as per my personal preference, the original form of rasgulla… …I prefer that. From the perspective of gaining new experience, this is a must try. You must try new tastes! I've heard in Kolkata, during winters, you will get to eat a lot of sweets made with nolen gur.

In the coming days, we will explore more about it. This shop sells many other varieties of sweets. The man, after whom this shop is named, has made a huge contribution to the field of confectionary. During his time, he invented lot of sweets and provided many new flavors to the people. Now, let us talk about rasgulla. From what I know,… …in Jagannathpuri, in Odisha,… …for many ages now…. …rasgulla is offered to Goddess Lakshmi as a prasad. That is a trend that has remained unchanged through ages. Therefore, talking of invention of rasgulla, logically, it is coming from Odisha. However, this is also true that this version of rasgulla… …is immensely popular and I enjoyed its taste, like many others do. That is my take on this. I have ordered one more sweet for myself. Rossomalancha! They explained to me….

This is malpua stuffed with khoya and badam (almonds). This outer covering is the dry malpua! This sweet has 2-3 things, which are imparting an awesome taste to it…. Malpua, you already know, is very delicious! The khoya inside it is not dry in texture! It is slightly liquid in form! That is imparting an amazing taste and the garnish…. ….of dry khoya…. …has changed the whole game of taste in this sweet. Although I was a bit doubtful whether I would like it or not after eating the rasgulla but…. I am really enjoying it! Wonderful! You can see the Star Theatre in front of you.

It is a cinema hall. Before India's independence, this place was home to many a debates on burning social issues. The history of Star Theatre is associated with cultural revolution, as well as plays & cinema. Star Theatre is a heritage building. It was built in 1883. The form in which you see this theatre now…. …is its renovated look. In 1991, when it caught fire,… …it was renovated. Legendary play director, Girish Chandra Gosh….

…used to stage his plays here. Star Theatre is also associated with the name of Noti Binodini. At present, the Star Theatre is a heritage building for the city of Kolkata. In Shobabazar, we came to the Mitra Cafe. We have ordered Fish Kabiraji for ourselves. It is a very famous fish preparation of this shop. People really love to eat it as an evening snack. Just see, the shop opened at 4.30 pm and it is 5.30 pm now. It is already so crowded. Although this is a small cafe but… …there are posters on the wall, adding to our excitement. We are waiting for our order to come. This is fish Kabiraji. It is look and feel is amazing! See it from both sides. Before coming here, I heard a lot about this Bengali dish called fish Kabiraji but… ….this is the first time I am seeing it with my own eyes. Let me tell you about it in some detail. This outer covering on the fish is made of bread crumbs.

The fish fillet is dipped into beaten egg too. The main recipe is that eggs are beaten, fish fillet is dipped into eggs and bread crumbs…. …then deep fried and served. They also serve this mustard chutney with it. We ate Bhetki fish this afternoon as well. I asked them and they told me that…. …this fish fillet is also of Bhetki. Look at this close up! There is lot of excitement! It is piping hot! As soon as I ate this bite, I was struck by many flavors at once.

The first flavor that I felt was that of eggs. This is because the first layer on the fish is that of omelette. I mean beaten eggs! Secondly, the actual flavor of Bhetki fish is really tasty! If you ever come to Kolkata, you should eat this fish on the first day itself. You will remember the taste of this different fish. Since it is deep fried, it is bound to give an oily feeling. Very good! Yummy! While eating, I was thinking in order to best enjoy this fish…. ….if I put these crumbs aside and only eat this part…. …it won't be as delicious as… …it is in its whole package. Like this! A bit of bread crumbs, a bit of fillet portion…. ….and enjoy it like this. I think I should apply this white mustard too and then see…. …how much different does it taste. Yeahhh! If you eat it like this, with a little bit of sauce in each bite, its flavor doubles.

Rocking! We've come to the CIT Road to eat puchka (gol gappe). Give me brother! Why is this water different in color than the usual gol-gappe water? It has curd added. Okay! The color of this water is different because it has curd added to it. Look at the size of this bowl! How small! It is the first time that…. …I would be eating gol gappe in such a mini bowl! Delicious! Add some more chili! This green chili! The masala that they add, that is delicious! The fried gol gappa is okay, average in taste but…. …adding the masala makes it delicious! They have added everything, including black salt, etc. And this water is different too! As I could see myself! So far, I have never eaten gol gappe in curd-mixed water. Hmmm! Very good! Brother, give me some more of this water! Satisfactory end to the day! For the past 5 minutes, while eating the gol gappe, I was thinking….

…that right now we are in the main town. I mean in the heart of the city! And there are such tasty things to eat here! Whatever we eat, it is delicious! And we can see there is so much food variety available! And if we go into the deep interior of the city, how delicious the food there is going to be. Just like it is in every state – main city V/s deep interior. So, if it is so much fun here, what would be the situation there! I am just trying to imagine that! Very good experience! Our Day 1 in Kolkata was an amazing experience! Delicious! We are going to end our today's journey here.

Tomorrow's journey would be shown in the episode 2. We haven't planned for tomorrow yet. Once we are back at our hotel, we will plan out what all we are going to do tomorrow. Tell us your views about this episode. As always, do share if you have any experiences related to Kolkata city. I will look forward to your comments! That's it! Thanks for your time! If you are a foodie…..you will be very impressed with the food variety in Kolkata. Why I came to Kolkata in winters? Because I didn't want to miss Sandesh! We will meet soon with a new & exciting journey! Till then goodbye! See you soon!.