I am not a sweet speaking chap but at times, I can be deceptive. There is a reason behind it, Kolkata boys are naturally so sweet that when they cry, instead of tears, chasni (the sweet syrup of Rosogolla) flows. This is not to my credit; this is the kamaal (miracle) of the sweets we eat here in Kolkata. Whenever I am travelling to another city, another country, or another continent, the highest number of requests comes for Kolkata sweets. Let’s not brag, we are simply the king of sweets, period.
In Kolkata, the Indian state of West Bengal, you will always find Haldiram. They are a major manufacturer of Indian sweets and snacks. There are other big names from North India also, each trying to gain a foothold. We do taste them out, only when we want a change of taste. Otherwise, why would a Bengali, the inventor of Rosogolla, Sandesh and Mishti Doi even want to eat anything else?
Let me be at my sweetest best and educate you on which sweets you should try out and where exactly to eat them. While the former is available on a few Yatra blogs and travel guides, the latter is from me, exclusively!
Sweets You Must Try While Visiting Kolkata
Those white, floating, spongy delights which Adam brought with him from heaven and handed the recipe over to a Bengali called KC Das. Since then, this is the most popular sweet of Bengal and it is as omnipresent as God himself, probably.
Every sweet seller in Kolkata would demonstrate his collection at the front because that is what a Bengali would ask for, before anything else. You would know a good Rosogolla immediately. It should be floating on the syrup, not sitting at the bottom.
KC Das is still available, rather his descendants are, and they have outlets all over Kolkata. If you are staying at any of the hotels in park street Kolkata, ask the manager, and he can guide you to the nearest one. Eat it anytime, anywhere and watch the Bengalis eating it to learn how not to spill the syrup on yourself.
This is probably what Eve smuggled out of heaven, during her expulsion. Another Bengali sweet seller, Bhim Nag, invented it and since then, it competes with Rosogolla for the first place on a Bengali’s eating list. This white, somewhat dry and delicious sweet comes in multiple variations, something which Rosogolla lacks. You can find these — listed below. Nowadays, there are new flavours also coming out.
- makha sandesh
- kalakand sandesh
- norompak sandesh
- kadapak sandesh
If you want sandesh at its purest best, go for either norompak sandesh or makha sandesh. Unlike Rosogolla which is best eaten warm, Sandesh should be cold or, at least, room temperature.
Bhim Nag (his descendants) has multiple outlets all over the city and you will find one near your hotel in Kolkata surely.
Sweet curd… only we Bengalis know how to make curd. It’s naturally sour and sweet; we have perfected this art over the years. Sweet curd, from a good seller, will simply melt in your mouth. Just put the spoon in your mouth and feel the bliss.
Sweet curd comes in some variations, Payodhi being one of the popular ones. However, if payodhi tastes too sweet for you, stick to the pure and unadulterated Mishti Doi. While you can eat it anytime and anywhere, it is the best when it’s cooled in a freezer and served after a hearty lunch. Not only it tastes good, but it is also a good digestive. However, avoid Doi after dinner because it might make you cough.
There are several sellers all over the city but I visit Jadab Das at Jhamapukur. This shop is not mentioned in the Kolkata tour guides of MakeMyTrip or Goibibo or the likes but it is listed on Google.
Ask me not how the Lord came in the name for I shall have no answer! However, this sweet is somewhat a culmination of two pieces of art, Rosogolla and Mishti Doi. These finger shaped sweets have a base which is much like Rosogolla but much, much softer and porous. Then there is a thick layer of lassi or concentrated milk all around the sweet. This layer carries multiple favouring spices and you would enjoy this sweet and thank me for telling you of this. Tour guides of Kolkata on Yatra or similar sites often forget to mention this.
Sitabhog – Mihidana
This is a special mention because this is not exactly a Kolkata sweet but it originated in Burdwan. However, several Kolkata sweet shops sell the excellent quality of Sitabhog and Mihidana. Made from the flour of a special variety of rice, Sitabhog is white and often looks like the broken ends of your favourite Maggie. Mihidana is a micro-copy of Bundi (you know what that is, right?) and saffron in colour. While sold separately, mix them and eat them. You will forget all your worries.
Part of the experience of travel is eating what the locals eat. When visiting Kolkata, be sure to try these variety of sweets. You will be easily immersed in an authentic experience. You’ll have fun choosing which are your favorites.