Top Bengali foods that are a must for any foodie on the planet
If there is one thing Bengalis know how to do better than most people in the
world, its food. Famously called ‘Bhojon Rashik,’ meaning ‘lovers of food,’
Bengalis have mastered the art of making your mouth water- no matter what
your eating preference is.
In this article, we will deep-dive and discuss some dishes that demand a culinary adventure of their own!
Top pick: Indian Coffee House
One of the iconic places in Bengal, the Indian Coffee House was once a regular
joint for legends like Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray. This place serves a
special dish on its menu which holds a very special place in the hearts of the
locals, called Kabiraji.
The signature dish is prepared by marinating fresh cuts of chicken (or fish) in
onion, garlic, ginger, green chili paste, finely chopped mint, coriander, and salt,
afterward coating it with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. This is followed by frying
it till a crispy, crunchy crust is formed. A simple, yet tasty snack, a Kabiraji with tea
or coffee can turn into a delightful companion while your visit to the Indian Coffee
The prices start at $1.5/serving.
Top pick: Golbari
Kolkata’s Golbari eatery is almost a century old, and Kosha mangsho is one of its
many delicacies that are good enough to have a trip to this place for!
Kosha mangsho is a local recipe of mutton curry, cooked with the most aromatic
spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. The key ingredients also include
mustard oil, onions, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric, cumin seeds, hung
curd and salt. The dish looks a bit darker than any other Indian curries, and the
thick gravy is a perfect companion to traditional Indian flatbread or rice!
A visit to this eatery will cost you a bit upwards of $3 per serving.
Chaap and Firni
Top pick: Aminia in Kolkata/Nizam's Restaurants
Mughlai cuisine has had an important impact on the Bengali food style. Kolkata is
known for its simple yet impactful use of spices in its dishes.
The Chaap- a flavorful dish- is made by slow-cooking meat in a thick gravy for
hours, till the spices and the fat blend in together perfectly and an aroma fills the
kitchen. It is best served with hot flatbread or a plateful of biryani (fragrant rice).
To conclude the meal, the next best dish is a bowl of Firni- steamed rice pudding,
flavored with saffron, cardamom, cashews, pistachios, and almonds.
Aminia is best known for its offering of the best chaap and firni in Kolkata, and
you can also check out Nizam’s restaurants for the same, throughout Bengal, and
other parts of India as well.
A meal of chaap and firni is usually between $5-10.
Top picks: Aminia, Nizam and Shiraz restraint chains
Biryani is a Mughal contribution to the Bengali cuisine and is made with chicken
or mutton, and rice.
However, Bengals own take on the recipe is what has made it so distinct from the
other varieties that can be found in the rest of the country. Made from long grain
basmati rice, ghee, saffron, subtle flavor packed spices, and either mutton or chicken; Bengali biryani also has in it freshly grounded spices and boiled eggs and
potatoes. This is a dish that is rich in protein and an adventure for your taste
A plate of this consists of chicken or mutton, boiled eggs and potatoes on a bed
of flavorful basmati rice and gravy, and usually costs between $5-10 per plate.
Bonus: Home-cooked delicacies found at local joints
Bengali cuisine is India’s most diverse one, with hundreds of foods and desserts.
And while you can find a lot of these in restaurants and local food joints, the real
magic happens in kitchens in Bengali households. Let’s quickly dive into some
dishes and desserts that are too famous to miss, and can be found in local food
shops, a few restaurant chains, and homestays in Bengal!
Best described as ‘spicy fish stew,’ this dish is a Bengali delicacy that is equally
famous in Odisha as well. The stew is cooked with grounded spices and chilies for
taste and mashed potatoes for thickness, seasoned using garlic, onions, turmeric,
and ginger, and served with fragrant, hot rice.
This traditional Bengali dish is a Portuguese influence on the region, from the pre-
British rule. Made using vegetables like bitter gourd, green beans, pumpkin and
Aubergine and spices like mustard seeds, ginger, turmeric and so on, Shukto’s
taste is different in every place you will have it from.
This is because of the possibilities of other ingredients to these vegetables. While
some people just put potatoes in there, other put radishes, bananas, and even
garnish it with squash or papaya, which helps since it tastes a bit bitter.
A cold and spongy and soft round dessert dipped in sugar syrup (which is just
above moderately sweet), this dessert is as simple as it is genius. It’s made of
kneaded Indian cottage cheese and usually seasoned with saffron as well. A
dessert you just can’t say no to!