Nearly 70 years ago, the first wave of immigration brought a handful of Chinese Hakka people into the Bow Bazar area of northern Calcutta, which followed the creation of a small settlement of the Chinese-Indian community in the very heart of post-independent Calcutta. Consequently, the Chinese influence in the food culture of Kolkata has been quite dominant. A little neighbourhood near the Lal Bazar area of Central Kolkata named Territy Bazar comprises the Old Chinese Market. But most of it has now been shifted to E.M. Bypass, Tangra.
But the Chinese essence still looms around the streets of Territy Bazar mostly because of the morning market and the sale of innumerable Chinese breakfast delicacies by the small local Chinese community. The market opens up at 5’o clock in the morning and operates only for 2 hours.
The residents of the area, mostly kickstart their morning with a stroll around these markets and pick up their favourite veggies and other requirements. This market doesn’t only serve fresh veggies but also has a live meat market, which makes a sale of Pork, Chicken and various other poultry meat. Besides the hustle and bustle of the morning market, the local Chinese temple is a must-visit to have an ultimate experience of the local Chinese immigrant community.
It’s not very hard to identify these breakfast stalls at the sidewalk of Sun Yat-Sen street, opposite Poddar Court. They sell almost all possible Chinese food items from dumplings or momos to Chinese desserts. Momos are available in fish, chicken, pork, prawn stuffing, served with a spicy red chutney or some chilli sauce. Some golden fried Spring rolls, fried crispy chicken, Prawn crackers and many other such lip-smacking food are some of the favourites of all the munchies.
A perfect bowl of meatball soup or fish ball soup is the go-to on cold winter mornings. The Steamed pork Bao and chicken Bao are some of the most popular dishes of the Chinese breakfast range. They are mainly stuffed with seasoned minced pork or chicken and onions. Just don’t ever miss out on the spicy chutney, these yummy delicacies are available with. It definitely adds the zing and spice to a little bit bland food. Even some warm noodle soup works up the morning appetite perfectly.
It is a heaven for all the food lovers, there is something for everybody. Pork Chops, rolls, sausages offer a different palate for all the pork fanatics. Authentic vegetarian Chinese dishes like Khwai Choi Pan, a pancake stuffed with veggie fillings, serves as the best option for all the vegetarians out there. Even it has plenty for all the sweet-tooth, like sweet sticky rice cakes, etc. The list is basically endless, but this is sure that no one would ever go empty-handed or with an empty stomach.
Even if, one doesn’t enjoy Chinese cuisine, a stroll around these streets of old China town and some hot, fried kachoris with some spicy aloo curry always saves the day. But always make a visit on the weekends or especially on Sunday mornings, to savour the place and its food. Morning breakfast at Territy Bazar is an experience in itself and no one, I repeat no one should ever miss on this.