The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A dash of improvisation

The food stall at the Triangular Park bus stop (at the footpath at the park side), located close to Bake Club doesn't demand a second glance except for a few differences with its peers like that it serves the curries in white glass bowl and has chicken curry on the menu.

But its USP is more than what meets the eye. While it serves the regular lunch menu- roti, alur dum, ghughni, tarka, egg tarka apart from chicken curry, it has improvised on some of these items to have come up with egg alur dum (omlette mixed with alur dum, egg tarka style) and egg ghughni. These items are available at a little premium ( a regular half tarka (half a bowl in quantity)/ alur dum costs Rs 5 while their egg varieties cost Rs 9 each). It also serves chicken tarka: tarka with large chicken pieces.

The price is competitive but. The tarka comes at Rs 10 and chicken curry (with two large pieces) at Rs 20.

A man in his fifties, in half-sleeve shirt and barmudas, ever busy at the lunch hour, heats the already cooked ghughni/ tarka/ alur dum and adds freshly diced tomato, onion, ginger, chili and coriander leaves for taste. The roti comes from a different location carried by a boy in a few dozens in regular interval. The steaming food is served to the hungry customers predominated by executives waiting on the benches laid on the footpath. He more or less remembers the tastes & preferences of regular customers (Eg. someone does not want tomato and chili in his ghughni/ tarka). At times when he doesn't exactly remember the ingredients not preferred, he asks "Apnar jeno ki hobena?" (What all do you not want in your food, Sir?). His only colleague of similar age, in shirt and lungi, quickly beats the rotis between the palms to get rid of the wee bit of loose atta and serves the food on steel saucer with cut onion and green chili. The rotis just fly off the container.