“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Don’t really know about men, but this certainly works for me. Good food has always fascinated me, and I have mostly been open about experimenting with different types of cuisines, though I am not sure I all ever have the courage to try fried locusts and such.
Living in the city of Kolkata, which is in the middle of a food revolution, is a dream come true for someone like me. I remember, as a child, eating out has been a luxury, something that happened many couple of times a year. And eating out always meant having Chinese – which was again limited to noodles (we always called it chowmein) or fried rice and chilli chicken. They tasted mostly the same in the all of the few restaurants that were around then.
When I was in college in the late 2000s, food options were considerably bigger with the KFCs and MacDonald’s the hottest thing in town. I remember the elation I had felt after tasting something so radically different from the food I had grown up with. Like most people I had also tried so many times to re-create the magic of fried chicken and burgers, but sadly failed.
Mughlai food also reigned supreme then in Kolkata, with various types of Biriyanis, Kababs, Parathas. Names like Shiraz, Rehamania and Alibaba were some of my favourite haunts back then.
However, my real food journey began after I met my husband (then boyfriend) in 2012. A girl of North Kolkata, I had never really ventured into the southern parts of the city much. South always seemed too far away and too chaotic.
But his love for food surpassed mine and he made it a point to introduce me to different types cuisines during our courtship. I discovered so many types of continental cuisines ( a particular favourite haunt in Mocambo which serves a to-die-for devilled crab). Who knew South Indian cuisine has so many delicious non-veg dishes to offer (Tamarind, Costal Macha).
The most surprising part of the food journey was rediscovering bong food. Being a Bengali myself, eating out at a Bengali restaurant always seemed pointless (we could always make the same stuff at home, right?). My husband insisted that the food these restaurants serves are dramatically different from home food. And he was so right. I discovered may dishes that I had only heard of before, something grandmas used to cook. The perfection, the taste and the variety made me fall in love to Bengali food all over again (Favorite haunts: Tero Parbon, 6 Ballygunge Place, Bhajahari Manna, Kasturi).
Now into 2018, our food discovery continues as man and wife (we just discovered that we love Japanese food).
However, some things do change a bit with time. Now, when I eat something spectacular at a restaurant, or somebody’s place, I try to recreate it a home. Sometimes they turn out great, sometimes not that much.
So while the restaurant hopping continues, I would plan to document some of my experiments a la kitchen in my blog.
Wish me Luck!