Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Care for a Chinese Breakfast in Kolkata? Welcome to Tiretta Bazaar


Kolkata is a very varied city. Its a very laid back city which tests your patience to the T so if you don't have any then please do not come here otherwise you will end up seeing only the bad things about this old city. It is place where shops even pharmacies close in the afternoon for siesta. When in Kolkata even I like the slow rides in the trams. (If I were in the Delhi mood where its always Jaldi-karo (do it fast), I would have killed the tram driver.)

Filled with lot of people from various backgrounds who moved to this places mainly after wars or partition, it is still one of the places in India which has a sizable Chinese population. Kolkata is also the only place in India which has a Chinatown. Most of the Chinese here are Hakka origins who are here from 1800s. Their population was 20,000 once but now only around 2000 in 2009. The decline was due to the Indo-Sino war and also the atrocities of Indian govt on Indian born Chinese which is suppressed or not talked at all. Many say its less then 200 now but then I do not agree with that. You can find them in good restaurants and also some beauty parlours. I did my hair straingting in 2009 from one of the Chinese parlor in Kiddherpore and she took just 3000 INR for my medium length hair even when she used Matrix products! And she did an amazing job.

Anyways, what I am saying here is though you can find the best Chinese in town in Tangra ..anyone from Kolkata will purely understand what I mean here...but there is a special place for breakfast. At around 5:30 in the morning everday the place between the Calcutta Improvement Trust building and Poddar Court in India Exchange Place Extension turns into a farmers market with all kinds of Chinese greens, poultry and pork sausage. Along with it you can find some Chinese people selling authentic Chinese breakfast.



Interestingly I was not all aware of this place untill 4-5 days back when I saw it in the re-run of 'It Happens Only in India - Kolkata Episode. While returning from Nandan (Its a govt run movie theater where you can see only bengali flims with no breaks and the crowd is always very nice. I have spotted 3 people from television and 1 guy from a Bangla Band there.), my couson brother who was BTW born and brought up in Kolkata said - Onek din dhore Chinese Breakfast khawa hoeni ( Days have past since my last Chinese breakfast) and then I told him that I saw about this place in TV and he gave a very detestable face with angry eyes saying - Tue janti nah! (You were not aware!). He gave me the same look even for my swimming (everyone in my family swims like a fish) which I cannot learn now as there are no short-term courses on that and again once when I have told him that I have never read Feluda which BTW I am completing now. Moments like these always make me feel like an unreal bengali so I planned to go the very next day and even he agreed. 

We went there around 7:15 am on a weekday so the Chinese crowd and the people selling breakfast was very less. I very badly felt that we are late as the shops starts setting up around 5:30-6 and have to be wrapped up by 8:30 to make the road available for traffic. I was very sad that we reached late but then I went with a Kolkata boy and you should never talk about time and punctuality with them! 

The Chinese were hard to Spot after it was 8 AM
Anyways, I had fish balls soup which is simple clear broth with balls basically made from fish paste and maida and my brother had pork ones which I have no idea on how it was made as I do not eat pork.



The soup is refillable. We got them the lady in the second pic.


Then we tried chicken momo and steamed chicken pao which is filled with onions, celery, boiled eggs and diced chicken.




Really loved the variety of veggies and fish. Notice the Rajiv Gandhi's Statue at the back.




 There was even an Indian Man (the man in red) who was selling pork suasage. I asked him how it is made and he said - woh toh chinese log jo jante hae paka kar kha lete hae (The Chinese people who know about this eats it). This is the Kolkata I adore - doing stuffs that you even do not know why you are doing!


I also spotted ready to eat prawn chips. Notice the people at the back in the picture.


We also tried these fried stuff which I have no idea about. It tasted like fried momos with no filling.


The man does it with some techniques. He first elongates the small portion of the dough. Then cut small peices. Join two pieces together from end, twist it a bit and it goes strainght into the kadhai.


These was also a person with fresh crabs. My mother does not know how to cook so we skipped the idea of buying.


There was also this building with people actually residing in it which I found quit amazing looking at the breadth of the balcony. Few doors in the first floor opens directly with a just a feet or two of balcony and nothing as boundary if what I am saying makes any sense to you.


But still I was really upset as I could not try a lot many stuffs. Then my brother took to this shop called Sing Cheung Sauce Factory. This places houses all the Chinese sauces that you can think of. On top of it they are the manufacturer. Because of the awesome quality and affordable rates, people who have restaurants get most of the stuffs from here. There was also another shop opposite to it with similar stuffs but we got into this as my brother has brought stuffs from here earlier.


I looked at the items and found most of them imported from Thialand.






All the sauces and noodles were made in their own factory. The soya sauce was stored in a sump so you imagine the rest. People from restaurants came here to fill jerrycans of sauce (I saw a man buying 16-20 liters of sauces of various types) or came with a list as they have so many things to offer at a great price.


They also had those tin container used for steaming momos and even the wooden ones used for serving.


 The best thing to do here is to take your own bottles. Buying from the bottled ones might be costly and also not as fresh as the loose ones. My brother took those cola pet bottles and got all the sauces that he wanted and here is the bill. A litre of Green Chilli sauce was only INR 23. We went there on Monday morning and my Mom is still wondering how could they make a litre for only INR 23 when even a liter of Bisleri costs 25 INR..LOL!!


As I did not wanted to go there with a cranky mood, I was awake the whole night. It is much better than waking up at 5 am just to have breakfast! I slept till 1:30 pm when I returned...my mom commented - your stomach must be soo confused today.......and yes it was!

Have you visited this place? If you are from Kolkata then I am sure you have...do tell me your experience...


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