"You are a food blogger based out of Kolkata; you do opt for the food walks and you don't have anything to share on Ramzan food and especially Zakaria Street Food", somebody asked me a few days back! He then told me with humor, "My dear then you are as useless as the DSLR holder with no pictures of making of Maa Durga at Kumortuli!" I am probably the last bong food blogger available having no blog on the food hub of Chitpur!
Well, not exactly true statement now as finally, I am here with my take on the city food blogger's favorite, my point of view though! What to eat when you are nearby Nakhoda Masjid, or Zakaria Street and Colootola! Let me suggest something ( after all suggestions are free); it is easy to be there anytime nearby Nakhoda Masjid. Needless to say, more than easy to try the food. However, not so easy part is to feel the charm of that particular area of the city of joy! For me one of the pillars of the cultural heritage of our city while considering Kalighat as pillar one, Bow barrack the number two, Tyangra being the three and to complete the structure there is Nakhoda Masjid/ Zakaria Street area!
“It would be better if you call it Ramzan instead of Ramadan which is an Arabic expression. I dislike this forced Arabization of Islam.” … I was told this by a Bong blogger a few days back when I told him that I am going to refer one of his blog for this post of mine and believe me, I rephrased almost 30% of this post to make it more Indianized, after our discussion; or better to say more Bongo-fied!
After all, this one is something really special to me and took again a month to finish which is, however, thanks to my super lethargic nature! 3 food walks with a different set of people, few old memories of visiting the area in past and going through the writing of several food bloggers, travel bloggers and here I am with my experience of hopping through the colorful lanes of Zakaria Street as part of the famous Ramzan Food Walk in the city of joy!
What happened when you visit Nakhoda Masjid and adjacent area including Zakaria Street during RAMZAN which is considered as the Mecca of food enthusiasts and photographers in Kolkata when it comes to pocket friendly yet delicious Kebabs, Biryani, Shirmal, Bakhar Khani, Faluda to name a few and last but not the least one of the best places of city of joy to try perfectly cooked/ grilled Beef!
I am going to share my experience of having cheap yet delicious food there over the years and that is not something new as there are some amazing writings by the food enthusiasts which already expressed what to eat while you are visiting Zakaria Street. Coming to the clicking part… errrrr… it is better to escape it; isn’t it 😉 after all my readers are well aware of my pathetic sense of clicking pictures, but obviously I tried to click and my clicks are going to torture you all through the post!
I being born and brought up in the central part of the city was quite regular with Royal. I used to go there with my father but Baba being the true blue bong was a person of the Royal-er Cha(m)p while my favorite was (and will remain same) the Biriyani with the Pasinda Kebab! Let me not scatter my thoughts over Royal only which I am tempted to do but this one is meant for much more than the offering of Royal Indian Hotel!
Let me share few details apart from food which is as worthy as the food; the cultural part indeed. Again…. Before going further… writing something about a place loaded with the blooms of culture; you need help man! And I am no exception to this… so it is better to mention their names and how they supported me writing this. There is Poorna Banerjee, my first partner of revisiting Zakaria Street this year along with an over-enthusiastic group of Foodies; followed by another food walk with the Mohamuskil Man Indrajit Lahiri and maniacs (that’s what I call them lovingly) representing Streets of Kolkata and finally for the last trip I went there with a person who knows nothing about the place and noticed his reaction which helped me a lot to frame this post!
Ohhh then there is Deepanjan Ghosh, the man behind The Concrete Paparazzi who pinched my with his “Mirchi Marke” suggestion of replacing Ramadan with Ramzan and why not! After all the Bengali Muslim culture is unique and really don’t need anything influenced by middle east (with due respect, however). I thought about the reason behind the unique name of Nakhoda Masjid several times and while checking through Goggle Mama I found his post on Nakhoda Masjid quite informative and crisp. One of Kolkata’s oldest mosques completed in 1926 by the Memon’s of Kutch, Nakhoda actually stands for “Mariner’s Mosque” as Memons were originally seafaring traders. Coming back to Nakhoda Masjid and the food hub around the area, this place is known for some over the top pocket savvy delicacies and that is what I experienced there several times and going to write in detail about my preferences here! Options are enormous and it is simply not possible to actually sample food in each and every joint; so it is better to plan wisely. As I already mentioned, it took me three evenings to cover my favorite places.
Yeh Laal Rang! 5 rupees only, the charm of road side Roof Afza!
Don’t think about the quality of water before trying the Rooh Afza; just have it along with the lemon juice. Available all through the area and there is no shop to be mentioned for the perfect glass of Rooh Afza but there is a favorite uncle of mine who is okay with the madness of clicking while offering the glass full of heaven by paying 5 bucks!
Think Chicken Changezi think Taskeen:
Let me start with the chosen one; well not Harry Potter but Chicken Changezi. Taskeen is almost synonymous with Chicken Changezi, the famous crispy fried chicken. With the perfect crispness outside and melting in mouth wala effect inside Chicken Changezi is something has to be tried while you are near Zakaria Street. The joint is available with a variety of grill Katla Fish which is known as Mahi Akbari which however not typically on my list of favorites. By the way, don’t forget to sample the Falooda here, in fact, the man sitting on the counter will offer to have it and believe me it is worth trying. Taskeen is, however, famous for their tea as well.
Yaaara “Kheeri Kheeri” at Haji Abdul Hamid’:
The one and only Haji Abdul Hamid! If you wanted to indulge yourself with the famous Kheeri Kebab, the small joint owned by Haji Abdul Hamid is the place for that. Kheeri Kebab is basically prepared from the Mammary gland of cow. Band believe me this is something utterly delicious and cheap too! You will have to take the left road from Nakhoda Masjid to rich the shop. You can check with anybody for the location in case you are as good as me with the amazing quality of knowing roads!
Then there is Dilshad Bhai and his famous Dahi Boti and Malai Kebab:
Walking distance from Haji Abdul Hamid’s shop, Dilsad is famous for the Beef Dahi Boti and Beef Malai Kebab. If you ask me, my favorite is the later one! Melting in the mouth, enormously juicy Beef Malai Kebab is something you need to re-order for sure!
Baba Adam is there as well! Adam's Kebab Shop
The famous one indeed! Adam’s Kebab shop is probably the most popular one there in Zakaria Street.Though Adam's is famous for their Sutta Kebab, however, you should try out their Boti Kebab if available, though, which I think is far better than Suta Kebab, however, the choice is yours!
Let’s start the main course! Aminia the original:
Without having the plate full of Biriyani no visit is complete in Zakaria Street and to have that perfect plate Beef biriyani the safest option is none other than Aminia! A plate full of perfectly cooked rice, few pieces of small koftas a big chunk of perfectly cooked beef, a big fat potato and an egg; what else you need to make yourself happy.
In case you wanted anything but Biriyani; try out Aminia’s Beef Korma along with Tandoori Roti. A flavorful gravy and well-cooked beef is the just perfect partner for the hot Roti!
Wanted another option! Bombay Hotel is there to cater!
I was not aware of this joint but thanks to the Mahamuskil Man Indrajit Lahiri, I had one of the best plates of Beef Champ and Roti at Bombay tea house! Worth trying for sure. They are having Haleem as well but given I am not much a fan of the Haleem available in Kolkata, am not proposing to try it.
Kuch Meetha ho Jaye! Bombay Sweets:
This place is again suggested by Indrajit Lahiri and their dry fruit Halva is pathetically good. You can buy Sevian from this shop and they are available with local cookies as well.
Gulab Jamoon khaya keya! Haji Allauddin Sweet:
Just try it! I am not going to write a word apart from that the Gulab Jamun there is city’s best actually; again my opinion. However, if you enter the area from Kolutola this place is indeed worth trying. Go there st around 6 p.m. to try out ther amazing Gjulab Jamun and Khooya Laddu.
Several options actually starting from Malai marke Malai with sugar to fluffy Bakhar khani to local-made biscuits to Sevian to Firni are there! Choices are many and you just need to plan wisely what to have and what not to have (really!!!!)
Last but not the least, Royal Indian Hotel:
If you don’t want to opt for a walk, but just wanted to have some good food; don’t think twice but go to Royal and have some Awadhi Biriyani there. One of the best places for Biriyani in Kolkata. Not only according to me but almost suggested by each and every food maniac.
I am really not done with sharing my experience of visiting the place but yes I also need to stop; to grab my portion of Aqua Ptychotis, well not today after 1 month but soon very soon after revisiting Chitpur again! Till then sayonara and Shiawasena shokuji!
P.S: I visit the area adjacent to Nakhoda Masjid, Zakaria Street, and Kolootola quite often and I do have a Flikr album with the pictures! Do check it here if you wish to.