Not just any meal, this is traditional and will be cooked in your presence, with live demonstration and sharing of age old techniques that light the path to everyone’s stomach!
Events that are new or different are cherished for all time to come, and when such events are enhanced with a lovely meal and lessons in culinary skills that you carry till the end and pass on to your family, now that’s an exceptional experience. The street food experience in Kolkata should then definitely be one that you will treasure for a long time.
However, in order to really appreciate the Bengali cuisine as it is today, and understand the influences from the Mughal era as well as British contributions to this cuisine, you need to eat as the Bengalis do. While Kolkata offers one of the wildest street food experiences in India, it’s not really typical Bengali food, as not all Bengalis eat Telebhaja or Jhalmudi or Keemar Doi Bora everyday just like most Delhites, contrary to popular belief, don’t have Chole Bhature or Samosas on a daily basis. Just to be clear, Mubaikers do eat Vada Pao every day!
Food For Your Soul
Bengali cuisine, in its true sense, is known for incorporating the five essential spices, namely Sarson (Mustard), Zeera (Cumin), Kalaunji (Nigella), Methi (Fenugreek) and Saunf (Fennel). With recipes passed down through the generations, Bengalis have perfected the blend of sweet and spicy flavours to create savoury gravy dishes that will be appreciated by every palette. As food is one of the most essential and defining aspect of any culture, a lot of time and effort is required to prepare the ingredients with which Bengali dishes are prepared, for example, certain dishes require the spices to be ground whereas others may use them whole in the cooking process.
Meal at a local's home in Kolkata
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Local cuisines are developed based on availability of ingredients available locally. Therefore, as a result, food habits of people are the direct result of their physical environment. With Bengal being a state with a long coastline, and Kolkata being on the Hooghly river, it’s no surprise that a staple in most households is fish. As is the stereotype, a typical Bengali needs to have fish on a daily basis, and may even have fish ponds in their homes to ensure availability of fresh fish. From deep frying in mustard oil to steamed fish in savoury gravy, there are numerous ways and techniques Bengalis implement to prepare and enjoy fish. The most popular types of fish prepared in a Bengali household are salmon, hilsa, bhekti, magur, carp, rui and even prawns, and while these fish are available all over India and other costal areas, it is quite difficult to find these prepared as they are in a Bengali kitchen.
Hey I’m A Vegetarian!
It may seem as if the focus of Bengali cuisine is on fish (and most of it is) but there are also numerous vegetarian dishes which form the staple in parallel. Dishes like Shukto (a stew made with papaya, carrots and bitter gourd), Radhaballabhi or Daal Poori (lentil based bread often pan fried), Chhanar Dalna (cottage cheese curry), Mishti Pulao (sweet flavored steamed rice) with Labra (mixed vegetable curry) and the world famous Dum Aloo (potatoes, often stuffed in savoury gravy or dry), the list can go on and on.
Half-day tour of Kolkata with street food
To top it off, Bengali cuisine has some of the best desserts in India. The origin of Bengali desserts can be traced back to household kitchens as all of them can be prepared at home. Be it Mishti Doi (sweet yoghurt), Payesh (rice pudding), Roshogulla or Rasgulla (Soft cottage cheese soaked in sugar syrup) or Sondesh (sweetened and flavored cottage cheese), Bengali cuisine, just like the Bengali language, is renowned for its sweetness.
But don’t take our word for it.
The only way to truly experience Bengali cuisine, especially the traditional Bengali dishes that you won’t get in a restaurant, is to partake in a cooking demonstration in a traditional Bengali home. You can pick the dish you want to “experience”, and witness and absorb the techniques of how the ingredients are prepared and amalgamated to create a wonderful nutritive meal, the recipes of which have been passed down from parent to children over several generations.
Let us know if you want to experience Bengali cuisine as never before and we set up the rest. You can let us know your dietary preferences as well as any food allergies and we’ll take care of the rest.
If you’re a foodie – and maybe even if you’re not – do this for the love of good food.
To partake in this delightful experience, you can book the excursion for lunch or dinner on any day of the week, provided you give us atleast 2-3 business days’ notice so we can notify the local resident accordingly. Minimum number of guests for booking is 2, and while you can choose to do this on your own, it may be worthwhile to get a friend or colleague to accompany you to make this experience even more memorable. Charges are for a minimum of 2 adults.
Cost of the food tour
The fee per person for an adult is INR 8,127 (USD 115) and for children between the ages of 5 and 11, the fee is INR 4,063 (USD 58) inclusive of taxes. For children below the age of 4, its free! This fee includes the meal and your conveyance. In case you are unable to make it, the fee refund policy is as follows:
Cancellation 10 days prior to the date on which the excursion is booked – 90% fee refund Cancellation within 5-9 days of the excursion date – 75% fee refund
Cancellation within 2-4 days of the excursion date – 50% fee refund
Cancellation with less than 2 days or if you don’t show up – No refund
Once the booking is confirmed, you will receive all the relevant details via e-mail, including the information on the local resident. We recommend you make yourself available between 10am to 2pm if you want to schedule a lunch meal or 5pm to 9 pm for dinner. The total duration of the demonstration and meal would be approximately 4 hours, giving you ample opportunity to plan another excursion in the remainder of the day.
On the day of the excursion, we will provide a chauffeured and air conditioned car to take you to the local resident’s home for the cooking demonstration as well as the meal.