A kati roll in Kolkata

To make a long story short, we survived Kolkata. But oh, the honking!

We arrived just before noon, took a yellow Ambassador taxi to a part of town where there were a bunch of guesthouses, ordered lunch at a local Bengali restaurant, ate with our right hands, found a grungy, overpriced, but acceptable hotel for one or two nights, took a taxi to find the tourist train ticket booking office, stood in the wrong line for half an hour, discovered we were in the wrong line 5 minutes before closing time, ran next door to the right line, miraculously got two tickets on an overnight sleeper train to Mughal Sarai (about 12km from Varanasi) the following day, took a taxi back to our hotel, taxi driver INCREDIBLY let us off on the wrong street saying it was the right street, walked around for a while to get our bearings, got our bearings, stopped at a restaurant for dinner, exited the restaurant only to discover it was pouring, ran from awning to awning all the way back to our hotel, damp but not drenched.

My wager, when I suggested to Stephanie that we actually spend a day or two in Kolkata to acclimate ourselves, was that it wouldn’t be that different from any of the other places we’ve been. The honking is just like Vietnam, it feels as crowded as Hanoi or Saigon, it’s as dusty and hot as Cambodia, and the reckless driving is similar to Bali or the Philippines. Of course there are elements that are uniquely Indian, like the odd cow wandering in the middle of the road or the horse pulled carts, but I think all our previous travel experiences, combined, prepared us well for what we experienced on that first day in Kolkata.

On the second day I wanted a kati roll, the street food specialty of the city. It is made by frying an egg on a roti bread, topping it with onions, hot sauce, and a filling of your choice—chicken curry being the most popular. So we walked down to aptly-named Hot Kati Roll on Park Street, and I got one.

kolkata india hot kati roll making kati roll
Rolling my “egg chicken roll”
kolkata india hot kati roll justin eating
Enjoying myself, thoroughly


I won’t spoil your trip with all the details of the horrid affair, but I’m pleased India’s working out better. I was there for one week, and spent about 4 days of that in a hospital. Happy Travels!

I don’t want to tempt fate, but we’ve been here for two weeks now, and suffered nothing more than gas and the occasional loose stool.


Hi Justin

I am Ritesh from Delhi. I came across your trip through Katie whom I met in Barcelona.
Nice to see you enjoying flavors of India starting off in Kolkata.
I am aware of your gastronomic adventure through Asia and like a fellow foodie I would love to share some of the best things India has to offer.
So let me know of your future travels and I could suggest & give details of a few things I have come across my trips in India


Ritesh, thanks for the offer, I sent you an email. Unfortunately my posting is a little behind. We were in Kolkata about two weeks ago (hard to believe it’s been two weeks) and we’ve been eating our way across India every since. We’ll be in between Udaipur and Mumbai for the rest of the month, in case you have any recommendations in that area.


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