India Uncut

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Scarcity of Bengali food in Kolkata

Responding to this post, Nanda Kishore writes in:
Your longing for Bong restaurants also reminded me of an interesting aspect of Kolkata, where I'm officially based. I'm from Orissa with Telugu antecedents, and it puzzled me no end as to why there no restaurants serving Bengali cuisine in Kolkata. Especially conspicuous by absence are places where you can go to for moderately priced lunch, like those in the south, for example - or anywhere else, for that matter. The only ones where you can sit down and have good Bengali food are expensive restaurants like Charnock City or those at the Peerless Inn, Taj Bengal or other luxury hotels. Me and my roommates wondered about this and I asked my Bengali friends about it, and they couldn't really explain it either, but they didn't think it was an issue. So you have what we used to call 'jhups', where you don't exactly have five-star conditions, or you have Charnock City (who do serve excellent food) - nothing in between. In contrast, there are plenty of places serving affordable Chinese or Punjabi.

Any insights into this?
Could it be because most people in Kolkata have Bengali food anyway at home, and want something different when they go out? I wouldn't know. Anyone?
amit varma, 3:54 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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