Chandannagar is always known, in the culinary world, as the inventor of the famous Jolbhora Sandesh. But, few know, that this was the French settlement for many many years. But today, it’s a city at just 1.5 hours driving distance from Kolkata and is ideal for a day-out in this winter season. But this blogpost will talk on the best food in Chandannagar
If I quote from the Chandannagar Municipality website, Urbanization of Chandernagore started centering round three localities Khalisani, Boro Kishanganj and Gondalpara. Chandannagar was established as a French colony in 1673, obtaining permission from Ibrahim Khan, the then Nawbab of Bengal, to establish a trading post on the right bank of the river Hooghly. It became a permanent French settlement in 1688. In 1730 Joseph francois Dupleix was appointed governor of the city. In 1756 war broke out between France and Great Britain, and the British Navy captured Chandannagar on 23 March 1757. Chandernagore was restored to the French in 1763, but recaptured by the British in 1794. The city was returned to France in 1816, along with a 3 sq miles (7.8 km2) enclave of surrounding territory. It was governed as part of French India until 1950, under the political control of the governor-general in Pondicherry, though India became independent of Britain in 1947.
Surya Kumar Modak
So, the first stop for anybody travelling to find the best food in Chandannagar, should be this shop named Surya Kumar Modak. Please find the location on Google map here. And there is no price for guessing the showstopper here. Yes, it’s the Jolbhora Sandesh. As I am told, there is a basic difference between the Jolbhora and Talshas sandesh. Jolbhora was invented by Surya Kumar Modak, as a fun act of befooling the groom. Liquid sugar syrup (or liquid jaggery in winter) is stuffed inside a sandesh, in such a manner that once it’s broken, the liquid comes out. But this is same for Jolbhora and Talshas sandesh. Jolbhora sandesh standa upright and Talshas lies on its back. And this is the basic difference. Surya Kumar Modak is known to be the inventor for this particular sweet.
But Surya Kumar Modak serves other superb sandesh- and even a few fusion desserts as well. Let me talk about a few specific sweets in particular. Kheerpuli is a cresecent moon shaped Sandesh, made out of mashed chhena and kheer and it’s subtle with super smooth texture. Wherein, the Chhena Paturi is a fusion dessert. Chhena is mashed with chopped (not minced) dry fruits and is wrapped in banana leaves and fried in ghee. It’s very very good and definitely recommended. for the baked desserts lover, the baked Raso-Madhuri is another gem and should be tried.
Oh, do not miss the Khasta Kochuri ffrom Surya Kumar Modak. Though I do not have pic of the same, but it’s one of the best that I have tasted in recent times.
Mrityunjoy sweets is another 50+ year old shop in chandannagar. And when we were searching for the best food in Chandannagar, this place was heavily recommended for its Mishti Doi. And though I didn’t have much expectations, it was worth the visit. Please check the Google location here. If you’re a fan of thick heavily sweetened mishti doi, this is the place for you. It’s not heavy like the kheer Doi from Nabadwip, but is quite close. Priced at 220/- a kg, it’s definitely recommended. But the surprise package was the Lot (not lord) chomchom and cream chop. The sweet level is quite balanced and they’re super soft- quite enjoyable at 18/- per pc.
Balai fast food center
When we were looking for the best food in chandannagar, this was among the toppers- and with good reasons. Balai fast food has seen more than 40 springs and is located behind the chandannagar church. Please check the location on Google map here. The owner, Balai da, started from a humble roadside stall nearby and gradually moved to this place. Though it looks quite shabby, but the food is fantastic at a pocket friendly price. The opening timing is 4PM and most of the items are sold out by 7PM. Please reach there accordingly.
Though the products are mostly good, the fish roll was insane. A filling of Katla/ Rohu fish is stuffed inside a layer of Vetki fish and is golden crumb fried. And at 100/- a piece, this fish roll is unbelievable in Kolkata. The chicken Pakora is not crumb fried, but batter fried one. A descent amount of boneless chicken piece is made into a pakora and is quite recommended at 30/- a piece. If you’re not really finicky about hygiene, it’s a damn good place. Mutton Kobiraji is good I am told, but I have personally not tasted it on that day.
Thapa momo is another quite popular joint near the Chandannagar church. Please check the location here. It’s a resular roadside family-run business, with huge sales. I won’t say, the food is mind blowing, or extra-ordinary, but it’s your friendly neighbourhood snacks point, serving decent momo and a very good Thukpa at an extremely pocket friendly price. We tried the chicken kothay and chicken Thukpa. The kothay is quite average, but Thukpa was very good, at that price point. Noodle used, was hand made and probably that had made all the difference. Recommended during an evening stroll at Chandan nagar Strand.
Chowdhury ki litti chokha
Litti is a pretty rustic food from Bihar. though extremely healthy, I didn’t honestly think, will get it at Chandannagar. Just beside Chandannagar strand, is the litti cart, run by Chowdhury ji. And he serves some nice hot litti- straight from the charcoal oven. We are used to seeing the poor littis getting smashed and soaked in ghee. But here, the interesting part is, after that, chopped onion and coriander is sprinkled on it, along with some sweet tamarind chutney, making it a litti chat. I won’t say, it’s the best one that I’ve had, but definitely, pretty interesting staff.
Chandannagore is an old place and can not be covered in one, or even two days. there are many places, which I am yet to go and once done, this blogpost will be updated… Meanwhile, please let me know, what all, I have missed.
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