#Kolkata diaries: Died and gone to foodie heaven - day 1
I meant to post something on the food journey daily but getting the internet here is a challenge - but that is another post. So a couple of days late. Here is the post from day one of my trip. This trip is about introducing our new Ghanaian family member, Wasila or Wasa to all of us, to the extended family. It is wonderful to be able to make her childhood dream of going to India come true. She lives on a diet of Indian films, soap operas (in between all the Nigerian, Ghanaian and, recently discovered, Tagalog ones). Yep, my new sister in law is a TV soap addict. We were going to steep her in all things Bengali – food, language, food and, given her love for fish and rice, she is more than halfway there.
Her induction into Bengali food was at dinner on arrival. My aunt’s flat (or should I say my cousin’s now) employs a couple that take care of it and they had cooked some rice, flat parathas (what we call tawa parathas and nothing like the ones you get in Dubai), aloo gobi dalna (cauliflower and potatoes), chicken curry, rice and salad.
The next morning, we got up early and went for a breakfast induction of hinger kachori (a variation of stuffed puris with spices and asafetida), potato curry, tea in a bhaar (earthenware pot) and some fresh jalebis from Tasty Corner on Swinhoe Street. Street style – we stood on the side of the road and ate. There was a dustbin and wash basin for washing up and disposing of the plates. We wanted to follow this with some singhara from Bacharams but they were not open and when they did open half an hour later they weren’t quite so fresh. We did buy a korapak sandesh (though the guy said it was more medium pak than kora) So we opted to go to Flury’s for my cousin Bikramjit Ray’s second round (or main course as he called it). Flury’s was full (it was a Sunday) and there was a waiting list but since we had a full schedule (as you do when you are visiting), we opted to walk down the road to Park Hotel.
Having got used to the level of 5 star service in Dubai, the service in Park Hotel left a lot to be desired. There was an outside seating area but no one said we could not actually order food there. Which explained the delay in getting a menu and service. Did get a good cup of Darjeeling tea. We next visited an aunt where we had the most divine fish cakes, followed by home-made Christmas cake baked by my cousin (soaked in Cognac – yum) and more sweets.
Then we were off for some lunch with my aunt in the house that my great grandfather built and that my dad and his cousins called home. Rina Pishi regaled Wasila with stories of our father and her cousins and aunts and uncles and traditions. The food was wonderful too. There was starters of yellow rice, beguni (aubergines coated in a gram flour batter and deep fried), tok daal (lentils cooked with some tamarind and turmeric), aloo gobi (it’s a favourite in the family) and some Maacher moilu (Bhetki fish cooked in a coconut based sauce). We finished with the traditional doi and natun gurer sandesh (sweet yoghurt served with some sweets made with jaggery and thickened milk).
We skipped dinner. And gone off paleo too for this trip.