Kolkata Eats is a blog devoted to a project — to walk the streets of Kolkata, India, come wind or rain (usually rain) with the goal of bringing you the best of the city’s street food.
About me. I am a writer and instructor originally from the Twin Cities, now living in Ontario, Canada with my Bengali fiance. My life took a hundred turns to get me where I am (which, sorry southwest Ontarians, is the middle of nowhere). I moved from Minnesota to Indiana to England to New York to South Africa to Israel to Nigeria, somewhere along the way realizing -hey! – I am a specialist in slow travel.
The project developed from momentary delusions brought on by an exquisitely executed pantua. The pantua is the Bengali version of here. I considered tossing it all — Canada, the U.S., my four online teaching jobs (not the fiance) — in order to settle in Kolkata and open Jamun & Cream, my wildly successful gulab jamun and ice cream shop. It’s a nice name isn’t, it? Well, after the rosewater vapors wore off, I quickly realized that I’d first need to investigate what makes a good gulab jamun. Soon after I figured that I’m much better at plodding through the streets investigating street food than I would be in setting up a business. I have no business skills.. You can read more about the distinction
Since Surya (pronounced Shurjo) and I are still somewhat tethered to Ontario, we manage to get to Kolkata only about two months a year. I’ll have to fill up the rest of the months with nifty stories about Bengali or Indian happenings here in North America or my frequently disastrous attempts at Indian cooking. Though I am fairly confident that I make excellent samosas (shingara).
Why Kolkata? In 2000, the city of Calcutta was renamed Kolkata, paralleling Bengali pronunciation of the name. The decision was a result partly of regional pride and partly of a desire to move away from colonial reminders. Ten years on, however, much of the world has not adopted the new name or, worse, never knew there’d been a change. Don’t worry if you can be counted as one of the ignorant. So was I. Most if not all of our major news outlets still use Calcutta in print. And plenty of Bengalis, including Surya, are still fond of using the name “Calcutta.” Still, out of respect for a city and country that has made enormous strides in its sixty-odd years of independence, I choose to use Kolkata (though Calcutta may creep in from time to time if I am referring to history).