How to survive in Calcutta on Rs 150!

Every Calcuttan out of their city is like a fish out of the water. You see, Calcutta has some of the nicest people, best tea, amazing food and a concept of mid-day naps. So when you have all of it taken away at one go, rest assure you’ll hear a lot of nostalgic flashbacks and whining. The worst blow is the one to our diets. Ask anyone who’s been there… Calcutta has the best food in terms of street food, Continental, North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, traditional Bengali, etc etc. So when such a fish reaches a city like Mumbai, there is trouble in paradise. Not only is the food so-so, but its also so expensive! Apart from the staple vadapao, Kyani and few of its likes, even a humble meal costs nothing less than Rs 150.

I know, I know…that does not sound like much. But you will now realize that it is, when you see its true worth. So here is a small guide as to how you can hog the entire day in Calcutta (which is so much more than just surviving) for just Rs 150!

Breakfast at Maharani

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Source: Zomato

Located in Southern Avenue, Maharani is one of Calcutta’s gems. Every morning you can see a line up of cars and bikes with people waiting for their morning tea and breakfast. Middle aged uncles drive down from the nearby parks after their morning walk, only to indulge in mouthwatering samosas and kachori-sabzi. So have your heart’s content of food, and wash it down with kadak chai served in clay pots (that makes the tea taste so much better).

Price- Four Kachoris with Sabzi– Rs 28 ; Tea- Rs 7

Money left- Rs 115

Lunch at Kusum

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Source: Flomojo

Serving the best kathi rolls Calcutta is famous for, and my personal favorite, Kusum situated in Park Street is a must try. They have a variety of rolls (please do not picture Mumbai’s ‘frankies’) on their menu. From the basic egg or chicken roll, to mutton rolls and vegetarian varieties of paneer and aloo rolls, all of it is a foodie’s delight. I’m drooling all over my computer, I swear. I would recommend the egg chicken which is a monster of a roll. Finishing a roll in a go is a point of pride for many.

So have get a roll and walk around on Park Street, taking in the best of the city. If you have a sweet tooth, you can also stroll down to Balaram Mullick near the Park Street Post office for a traditional Rasgulla!

Price- Egg Chicken Roll- Rs 45; Rasgulla– Rs 10

Money left- Rs 60

Dinner means Biryani!!… Or you can also have Chinese.

 

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Source: bengalconnection

Ah. So many options. Calcutta biryani is famous for it’s unique flavor and the treasured aloo. While there are many famous joints such as Arsalan and Zeeshan that are famous for their mughlai, you can get the same amount of yummy at a lower price at one of the local  stalls. Yes, there are biryani stalls through out the city where people serve the delicacy out of a huge-ass handi . Some of these places are, Haji Biryani in New Alipore, or Classic Fast Food Center in Hazra. The latter is a personal favorite as they cook only with sunflower oil, delivering the same amount of oomph in our beloved biryani without the guilt of consuming Dalda.

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Source: Zomato

If you’re not a biryani fan (which is hard to believe), you can depend on the unlimited number of Chinese joints sprawled all over the city. Denzong Kitchen, available in three locations, is one of those eateries that gives you an authentic Chinese experience for money worth peanuts. You can either have their famous pan fried chicken momos (served in Schezwan sauce) or a plate of chicken Hakka Noodles. Either way, you’ll have a happy tummy by the end of the night!

 

Price- Biryani– Rs 60/ Pan Fried Momos- Rs 60/ Chicken Hakka Noodles- Rs 60

Well there! You’ve used up all your money in exchange for three amazing meals I’d kill for. So have i convinced you yet about how awesome Calcutta is, or what?

If you have more suggestions regarding where to eat for cheap prices, leave a comment below! Like, comment and share! 🙂

Feature image source: ScoopWhoop
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73, Chinatown

With the first ray of the sun, the street is set up. Little tables and chairs line up on either sides of the lane with the comfortable hum of an early morning market place. Within minutes, you can smell the delicacies as they lift the steamer’s lids to invite you, revealing the treasures within. Sweet buns, dim-sums, fried sweet bread, meatballs, fishballs, prawn wafers, spring rolls and Chinese sausages. This is the spread of Chinese breakfast in the Tiretta Bazaar of 73, Old Chinatown, Calcutta.

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The dishes line up on Sun Yat Sen Street is some of the best comfort food I have ever come across. The light dim-sums stuffed with chicken, fish or prawn fillings are one of the popular attractions. Then, there are the meat balls and fish balls that dance in pots of boiling broth. Pork, chicken and egg stuffed buns that are streamed to perfection and are ever so subtly sweet. Steamed momos, fried balls covered in sesame and some of variety of authentic Chinese cuisine.

I have so many memories attached to these treats, which is probably why I felt compelled to write about it. For me, this unique culinary experience reminds me of Sunday mornings when my father would wake me up while it was still dark outside. We would take some of the biggest containers we had, to pack as much of the dim-sums and meatballs possible. I remember waiting impatiently in front of the vendors, while they served me a taste of what I would end up eating that day for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It reminds me of family gatherings in our living rooms when our  cousins would pour in to share a few hours out of their busy lives, laughing and chatting over a steaming hot bowl of soup.

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The experience isn’t just about food though. It’s about visiting one of the oldest parts of the town, among people who have seen the city change over the years. Every person has a story there…from their local traditions to stories of drug lords during the 1970s. All you have to do is strike a conversation.

Though Chinese breakfast has gained popularity over the last few years, the traditional spread has been around since the 18th century, when a Chinese tea trader fell in love with the city and decided to call it home. There after, it has been home to the Chinese community in Calcutta. This community later expanded to an area in the other side of the city which is now called Tangra. It is home to what we know now as Indian Chinese and is another culinary goldmine everyone should experience. But that my friends, is a whole different story!

So the next time you visit the city of joy, you know the first place to head for the best breakfast ever… DSCN1679.JPG