When I look back to my childhood, spent primarily in cities like Kanpur, Jullundur, Delhi and Baroda beside Kolkata of course I have very happy and fond memories. My love of food from varied places as well as my ability to appreciate and make friends came from being the new kid in school or in the neighborhood every couple of years. Since I was an only child my parents were not keen to put me in boarding school so every time Dad was transferred we would pack our bags and shift to a new city where I was exposed to a new school, new friends and most importantly lots of new food. In those days we did not have as many restaurants as we do today so a lot of food was eaten in friends and neighbor’s houses. One of the most exciting periods of my year would be around Diwali when Mela’s would be held and like most kids they enthralled me.
I was quite excited when Siddhanth Jaitha called me and spoke to me about this wonderful concept called Streets of India! He spoke of Kolkata’s biggest Fashion and Food Festival and the gastronome in me awoke. He said that there would be forty participants each showcasing a few special items which as far as possible would be different from the others. That was enough to get me on board but there were also an equal number of participants showcasing clothes, artifacts, fashion and lifestyle accessories and lots more. Add on great entertainment from folk dances, singers, and a beauty competition with a special tie up with FFACE and lots more entertainment. Zomato was there and held some delightful food competitions like the Zomato Burger Challenge partnering with My Big Fat Belly and another Make your own Ice Cream Flavor with Mumbles Lab and they were a lot of fun for the participants as well as the audience. The entry fee was kept to a nominal Rs.50/= so that there was a wider participation.
I visited on a Friday evening after work and was delighted with the arrangements. Though the demonetization put a bit of a damper on the weekend extravaganza I salute the spirit of the organizers and participants, both ensured enough card payment machines and kept the show rolling. In the end I am told that they pulled in a crowd of over 12,000 people.
Pabrai’s Gondhoraj Lime and Orange Basil Ice Cream. Swati Saraf’s delicious Green Chili Rosogolla , Mumble’s Lab Bournvita Ice-cream , MBar’s brilliant cocktails specially the Basant Neer and Chilli Chicken , Monkey Bar’s gorgeous Pork Ribs , My Big Fat Belly’s fantastic Burgers , Edesia’s great Breakfast Platters and South Indian , Cake by Pooja’s Orange and Chocolate Mousse Cake were some of the delicious goodies that I sampled and enjoyed.
There was non-stop entertainment. Folk artists were performing while we were there and in-between they had a DJ belting out lots of catchy songs. The Food Contests partnered with Zomato were great fun and created a lot of interest and excitement. The fashion and lifestyle shops had everything from designer apparel, fashion accessories, great nick knacks for the house and some beautiful artifacts. There was something for everyone irrespective of age and budget.
I thought I would drop by for an hour an ended up spending the entire evening at Streets of India and really enjoyed myself. I was planning to spend a good chunk of my Sunday there but regretfully I was unwell and could not go and explore and taste more of the delicious fare on offer. I hope many of you managed to drop by and enjoy this unique jamboree. As a foodie I was absolutely delighted by the variety on offer, it was like the biggest buffet in Kolkata !
DISCLAIMER: I was invited by the organizers to visit but the views expressed are entirely my own.
Picture Credits: Suneha Saha