When I mentioned ‘C’ being the letter of the day, my sexagenarian father announced – it is going to be either Cha (tea) or coffee. That is how addicted I’m to both these hot beverages – coffee for winter and tea for the whole year. But that’s for another day. From the legendary Coffee house on the paradise of book lovers – College Street (also known as Boi para), the royal Cooch Behar palace, the famous Chau Dance of Purulia to the historic Calcutta University established in 1857, I had quite a handful of options. But what made to the featured section today were two parts of Kolkata discovered during two entirely different phase – Chandni Chowk and China Town.
Chandni Chowk –
Situated in the central part of Kolkata, this place is primarily famous for two things – the gigantic Chandni market and old world restaurants. Chandni market is the hub for any kind of electronic items. From table lamps to cctv, everything is available here. The roadside hawker stalls as well as the shops have stocks of electronic items, specially Chinese ones that could give any conglomerate a run for money. Despite a booming e-commerce sector, the market has neither lost its charm nor appeal. However one definitely needs to brush up on their bargaining skills before venturing out to buy anything from here.
This area is also house to a lot of eateries – Sabir’s hotel being the most famous among them. Their vintage mutton rezala to be eaten with roti/Naan is still irreplaceable.
China Town –
Tangra in eastern part of Kolkata is referred to as China town because it is home to the Chinese Indian nationals who migrated years ago. From an array of Chinese restaurants in the locality to the famous Tiretta Bazar serving Chinese street food, China Town is the paradise of food lovers for taste and affordability. While the delicious range of breakfast consisting of momos, dumplings, bao, non veg ball soup and rice zung is available everyday, the Sunday market takes the cake for having the widest variety of options. The market opens as early as 6 am and almost nothing is left by 7:30 am. Chinese New Year celebration here is a sight to behold. Amidst the umpteen restaurants, Bigg Boss, Beijing, Golden Joy are few of the famous ones though Kim Ling stays as a personal favorite. The food here is Chinese adapted to Indian taste buds. Kim Ling is famous not just because of the amazing and tasty food but also because of the affordable pricing. Overall the experience in China Town lets one have a peek into the nostalgia of the bygone era of the city.
The personal angle –
For me, Chandni Chowk is about a plethora of firsts – the first haggling over the price of a table lamp that barely lasted a month, the first affordable designer watch (of course chinese) and the first mutton rezala at Sabir’s being a few of them.
During my eighth month pregnancy, I had availed maternity leave to temporarily move back to Kolkata. I had this severe problem of nausea and cramps which meant barring a couple of food items, I couldn’t even bear the sight of food. Yet while attending a reunion party in Kim Ling, I managed to taste few food items without throwing up. The only thing that I ever craved for during my last month of pregnancy was their pepper fish.
Until we meet again tomorrow, happy reading!