Are you a morning person? Are you willing to explore a breakfast destination which winds up by 9.00 am? Are you looking for good food and have no hang ups about standing in a street corner and enjoying your Saturday breakfast? These were the few exchanges we had among a group of food fanatics who braved a morning shower and ended up meeting for a Chinese breakfast in Kolkata sharp at 7.30 am.
City of Joy, i.e., Kolkata is a migrant’s city and the culinary journey of Kolkata as all travel guides would direct you to Tangra a bustling settlement dotted with closed tanneries and new age Chinese eating houses, sauce factory, a Chinese temple and in fact a Chinese Kalibari. While restaurants like Kafulok, Kimling and Beijing have attracted Chinese food lovers during lunch and dinners in Tangra it is worthwhile to note and remember that the oldest Chinese settlement was actually in Tiretta Bazaar popularly referred to as Tiretti Bazaar ( Tiretti marketplace) in central Kolkata. The street beside the Poddar Court is lined with stalls selling breakfast straight from the oven. Unlike Kolkata’s breakfast joint here the breakfast is really early. So if you fail to reach by 8.00 am you might end up being served cold food.
We decided to do a survey of the street before ordering our fare. To our surprise we found it was a combination of sorts, for instance next to a stall of dumplings, was a vegetable seller who were calling out to the Chinese Memsahibs as he had stalked fresh Chinese Cabbage followed by an old woman who was selling fish. We were amazed by the variety that was on offer and I for once regretted that I had to go for library work; else one could have stalked up fresh vegetables.
We decided to begin our Chinese breakfast with a bowl of piping hot fish ball soup. While our hungry eyes could not wait as the lady poured our portions to the bowl; the silent wait was worth it. The fish ball made out of Chitol fish was a delight. We could not resist the fish dumpling which melted in the mouth as soon as we bit into them. We followed the tips penned by Joydip Sur in a piece “Chinese Breakfast :A tradition in Calcutta” ( Kolkata on Wheels, Vol 4, Issue No 2 , November 2011) and went ahead to try out the Steamed pao – a soft steamed bread stuffed with Pork, eggs and Chicken), followed by the most wonderful Pork Roll I have had. Even though we missed out on the Pork Pancake and Pork chop we decided to keep it for our next trip.
While our respective schedules did not allow us to stock up fresh vegetables we could not resist the temptation of venturing into the Sing Cheung Co. Pvt. Ltd. Shop where I bought three bottles of Sweet Chilli Sauce, Garlic Chilli Sauce, Black Bean Sauce for my kitchen. The shop’s supplies come out of its own factory in South Tangra Road. While we waited at the shop counter for the cashier to finish his breakfast we realised it was only 9am and we had not only treated ourselves to a most amazing breakfast but also gifted ourselves with some lovely sauces. Though we wanted to buy the entire shop we realised that between our respective work schedules the sauces might sit pretty on the table top before they hit the expiry dates and realised to choose a few. The prices are reasonable and I would recommend any shop (Pou Chong sauce manufacturers) in this vicinity for anyone who wants to indulge in Chinese delicacies.
So in case you are a morning person and craving for an early morning breakfast gear up for the breakfast gourmet in Tiretta Bazaar.