Jadavpur is a older, southern neighborhood in the spread out city of Kolkata. Traditionally known for its university campus, today it is increasingly becoming popular for its markets; the Jadavpur 8B area has recently gained credits as a shopping destination with shops for almost every need. Densely populated, it is a hub for commuters because of the bus and train stations it houses.
The Jadavpur University is a well known destination for students of every colour and has often been in the news for various reasons. To cater to the huge student population as well as the many local residents, the locality has many eateries – from air-conditioned restaurants and bakeries to street-side eateries perfect for addas and popular street food outlets. It also has many famous street food vendors at different corners of the neighborhood; vendors who have perfected their fare over decades. Many have aged but still run their eateries with the same zest, serving food that has only gotten better over the years. This article traces some of that nostalgia through the popular street food around the university area.
Sree Krishna Mishtanna Bhandar:
Established around the early 1920s, Shree Krishna Mishthan Bhandar is widely popular because of their quality of food. Although small, this shop cannot go unnoticed for the sheer crowd it attracts through the day. Stop by for typical Bengali sweets and evening snacks. It is famous for its Kachoris, Laddoos, Dhoklas, Lyangchas and a host of other Bengali sweets and snacks. Perfect for a sampling of authentic Bengali mishti!
Best for: Kochuri aloor torkari, Lyangcha, Sandesh
Also try: Dhokla, crispy jibhe goja
Bawarchi is another well-known restaurant in this locality. If your taste buds crave for some spicy Chinese food, then this is the place you want to go. Famous for its Rolls (egg, chicken or mutton) and Fried rice, it is a perfect place to stop for a quick, delicious bite. It does a great job of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and is hence loved by the students and residents alike.
Best for: Rolls
Also try: Chinese combo and Lachha paratha
R.B Singh’s fresh ganne ka ras (sugarcane juice):
R.B. Singh is an eighty-year-old gentleman who can be seen at his usual spot everyday, dressed in his vest and lungi, preparing fresh sugarcane juice. His stall has been running for the last 60 years and he keeps it open everyday. Sugarcane juice is a popular pick-me-up drink across the country; in Kolkata there are vendors across the city who use hand-operated machines to squeeze fresh juice from recently-harvested sugarcane, adding a lemon for additional zest and flavour. They then serve it in kullahads – terracota glasses that are sustainable and eco-friendly – which add a refreshing earthy note to the juice, which itself is considered great for health and rejuvenation.
Bhaja-bhuji stall (as called by the owner):
Bhaja-bhuji in Bengali refers to fries, pakoras and assorted deep-fried snacks. This stall makes the freshest Chicken fry, Cutlet and Fish finger to be found around. The smell wafts into your nostrils right when you cross the gate and you have to stop for dishes like mixed chowmein and egg-potato roll, all served at uber-reasonable student-friendly rates! Some would say you cannot leave Kolkata without tasting their telebhajas.
Best for: Chicken fry, fish finger and rolls
Also try: Cutlets and Chow mien
Shyamol tea and food stall:
Among the many famous stalls present in Kolkata around colleges and universities, the Shyamol tea and food stall is one that is loved most by students and teachers. Shyamol da, as the students call him, is the owner of this ten-year-old stall. Immensely popular with the students, the stall serves tea and typical student favourites such as maggi, omelettes and toast. At times, he is accompanied by his wife, who is popular for her sought-after Maggi and Bread toast. During summers, Shyamol da makes the most refreshing Aam pora shorbot or roasted raw mango juice. A perfect coolant, this Bengali drink is like the north-indian Aam Panna. Not surprisingly, it is sold out within minutes of preparation. Evening cha and snacks at his stall are what most students wait for. To top the delicious food, he has very interesting background music at his stall – the playlist includes tracks ranging from Pink Floyd to Shankar Mahadevan! Good food matched with funky music is sure to set your mood for the evening.
Best for: Tea and Aam pora shorbot, Maggi
Also try: Omelette and toast
This shop is owned by a lovely lady called Madhubala Sarkar. The ten-year-old store boasts of a gigantic collection of desi snacks – chips, mixtures, cashew nuts and other snacks – of different varieties. The snacks are available as fried, salted or roasted options in different colours and sizes. The Bengali tea-time favourites such as Chanachur and Gathiya are highly recommended. Do try her immensely popular finger chips or buy one of each kind as in-between snacks for home.
Best for: Chanachur and Finger chips
Also try: Ring chips and Cashew nuts