With raging appetites and not enough umbrellas, team RAMADAN FOOD WALK set out with a splash
With the month of Ramazan coming to an end, The Park decided to launch a Ramadan Food Walk, to sample the last of Iftar fare. So last Friday, Sharad Dewan (regional director, food production, The Park), Iftekhar Ahsan (founder of Calcutta Walks), a bunch of foodies and t2 gathered outside Tipu Sultan Mosque in Dharamtala, with raging appetites and not enough umbrellas to go around. But walk ahead, we did!
Stop 1. It is at the hub of eateries behind the Tipu Sultan Mosque that we head to for our first haleem. Iftekhar, who never runs out of nuggets of information, informed the group that the mosque was built by Tipu’s youngest son Prince Ghulam Mohammed. “The sourness of this haleem was the best, even though I feel we had it too early in the day,” said chef Sharad, who went on to sample more haleem from other places and admitted the beef haleem from this cart was the one he liked best. Iftekhar assured us that this is “one of the few places that you get haleem throughout the year. Most places only make it in the month of Ramazan”.
Stop 2. Chowringhee Square, near Tipu Sultan Mosque. This lane is lined with Iftar goodies, from chopped fruits to various fries, laddoos and halwa. “The fast is always broken with fruits because the body has been food-deprived all day and you can’t begin with something that’s difficult to digest. Fruits are both filling and satiating,” said Sharad. The chef’s verdict? The Keema Peyanj Samosa was “more onions than keema”, but the Chicken Samosa was “filling and enjoyable”. (You’ll find similar food in Phears Lane or Chunna Galli, which the group splashed down later.)
Stop 3. Kebab Galli on the way to Nakhoda Mosque. Beef kebabs were available as Boti, Malai and Khiri. “The kebabs were so fresh. They were the highlight of the walk!” said Sharad, pleased with the flavours.
Stop 4. Aminia. “This institution has been around since the early 1900s.... Nobody makes haleem like they do,” said Iftekhar. It was Sharad’s idea to team the sheermal, slightly sweetened flat bread (in picture), with their legendary haleem. And it was delicious!
Stop 5. Nakhoda Mosque — “built by Gujarati Muslim traders,” said Iftekhar — is filled with pious fast-breakers in the evening. Of course the area around Nakhoda Mosque is bustling with old eateries and no trip here is complete without dropping by Royal Indian Hotel, the oldest and most famous biryani-and-chaanp stop in Calcutta.
Stop 6. The Royal Indian Hotel —one of the only places where you’ll find biryani without potatoes. They used to cook for Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and though all other biryani was made more filling with more potatoes and less meat, the Nawab’s biryani remained authentic. “The spicy Mutton Chaap (in picture) was unparalleled,” said Sharad.