Food stalls, in Kolkata are plentiful, it is automatically obvious to anyone walking around here that a great amount of food is eaten al fresco. The stall are not filthy but are not that clean either, it just depends where you draw the acceptable line. The prevalence of vegetarian food reassures me that this is a good idea, most of it doesn’t smell excessively spiced and appears bread heavy at many stalls with men and women standing around ripping bread with the forefinger and thumb of their right hand, the metal plate clamped with the left.
The street food vendors seem pleased and amused when I order, the struggle to understand is with me when I ask the price. In spite of any signs I am often unsure what the name is of the food I’m eating, I don’t mind it is all part of the experience. There is a wide range of food available here, I doubt I’m going to be able to eat it all, story of my life, too many options and not enough appetites.
I’m not yet brave enough to try the Masala Muri, puffed rice snacks, mixed to order with spices, fresh tomato and onion. Served in newspaper pouches, I’ve seen the massive bags of puffed rice, two foot tall in some stalls, all over the city. Observed with fleeting glances as people lift their newspaper pouches filled with crisp puffed snacks and tip the contents towards their faces, or occasionally for those a bit posher folks struggling to scoop the snacks with a wooden spork. Exotic, alluring and peculiar.