Ok, So we know there’s a famed Chinese breakfast happening in Kolkata – but questions always come to our minds …. Where is it? when its set up? Which items do I get there? And many more. Let us find out…
Where to go and when to go?
Let us first clarify the location. From The central metro station, if one walks towards Poddar court, on the left, there comes a small mosque, the adjacent wide lane hosts this breakfast. Its there on 7 days a week, but normally is at its full glory during Sundays- with more food varieties and more stock. The timing is normally 6 AM- 730 AM (max they stay on Sundays is till 830 AM- but items tend to disappear, so why take a chance ?)
A lot of people will be there- so there’s no chance for one to miss the show. But, hygiene freaks and fine-dining persons may choose to have the food inside their cars (brought from outside), but then what’s the fun in that?
What to expect:
Let’s start the day at the farthest corner towards Chhatawalla Gully with some steaming hot soup. they make it in 2 varieties- pork and fish… The farthest corner stall towards Chhatawalla Gully is headed by Ms. Bobby Wong and she makes a fantastic pork/fish ball soup. 2 balls with enough soup costs around 40/- and is a delight. The condiments (black pepper and salted soya sauce) are served separately on the table and can be added as per individual taste.
Next few stalls serve mostly steamed meat-filled buns, sui mai (Chinese variant for momo) and dumplings. The buns are pretty heavy and can easily be shared by 2. Normal pricing for all these items around 30-45/- each.. Pork is heavily used in these dishes, but chicken and fish varieties are also available.
The next sets which we found out are baked chicken buns (somewhat like patties) and fried chicken/ Pork spring rolls… Frankly, I didn’t like them much.
I found some interesting Rice Zung. Its basically rice with lentil and pork wrapped in a bamboo leaf and steamed. They come out to be something really nice and sticky. I had some, only to be consumed at home…
Smoked crispy pork belly is available in the adjacent lane, chhatawalla gully. They sell it at 500/- a kg and looked quite yummy (but certain things are to be left only to be attacked next time). This person didn’t quite encourage shooting without buying, hence, the below result.
After all, these, if one is still brave enough to venture further, he/she will find the desserts. They normally keep sweet rice zung, rice pudding with sesame seeds, sticky sweet vegetable pudding and rice pudding with grated coconut. All of these come around 15/- a piece.
Please note: the breakfast items here, are not at all something extraordinary- neither in taste nor in appearance. So, the only reason someone might go to this place is the experience and word of mouth publicity. It might have been good previously, but now, it’s actually a sad state of affair.
Chinese provision store
We were full and I was planning to buy some cooking items (orange peel, green tea, etc) and I moved to the Hap Hing Shop. It’s one of the oldest Chinese provision and medicine store. Its an old-fashioned shop with dark wood interior, a mysterious old-world smell and headed by the old lady Stella Chen. Shelves are stacked with the most amazing oriental provisions. Exotic green tea, pickled plums, rice noodle, orange peels, sun-dried mushrooms, pink edged prawn wafers and what not.
They also store a collection of Chinese Medicine from the Tiger Balm to strange medicated oils with miraculous cures. But, one needs to know what to look for and Ms. Chen would love to hand it across. The shop is normally open from 6-10 AM every day except during the Chinese new year time.
Most of us will be known, but this lady still is using an abacus instead of a calculator and is quite comfortable with it.
Ok, so, we’re over. No, its time to go over and over again, at least during the winter time. Car parking is not a problem in the mornings and hence can be taken.
See you there this weekend then.
Bon appetite !!!
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