A Tale of Two Chinese Breakfasts in Kolkata

For the last few decades Tangra (also known as Chinatown) has been the go-to place for Chinese food in Kolkata, but when you mention Chinese breakfast to any Calcuttan, the word that is blurted out is usually Territi Bazar. A few years back, the pork soup, spring rolls, momos and other steamed delicacies served early in the morning here were absolute winners, and I was especially in love with the pork versions. However, over the years, food lovers lament about the falling standards of the offerings there.


This September we decided to visit Kolkata from Hyderabad during the rains. While food remained a major agenda, I was slightly burdened with some personal work during the few days I was there. So, when a friend and fellow food enthusiast Indrajit Lahiri of Moha-mushkil.com suggested that we meet for some Chinese breakfast in Tangra, I was more than happy to accompany him. It was a new place he was exploring and I was to be the partner in crime.


So, at 7:30 am in the morning on a Wednesday I meet Indrajit in front of the Chinese Kali Mandir. For the uninitiated, the deity at this temple in the interiors of Tangra is worshipped by both Bengalis and Chinese, and noodles are offered as prasad.  Indrajit comes in on time, I hop on to his two-wheeler, and off we go deep in the narrow lanes looking for Singara Chow.



There are only about three places selling Singara Chow that we could locate after a lot of to and fro travelling and getting directed and redirected by local people all the time. Vickys (later from a friend I came to know that this place is called Ah Leung), a place selling the pork variant was farthest, and unfortunately was closed on Wednesday. Another place had run out of pork. So finally, we landed up in an unnamed place just next to Laotze temple who confirmed that they have Singara Chow, but only the chicken variant.



As we took our seats in this modest place, bowls of hot soup were served to us. I was still wondering what Singara Chow was. It was soon brought out and turned out to be a bowl of noodles with singara (the Bengali term for samosa) shaped wontons stuffed with chicken. The bowl also had some shredded chicken, egg, and chopped spring onions, garlic and ginger. The soup mentioned above and the sauces on the table were perfect accompaniments to the singara chow. It was completely fresh soul food with a dash of ginger and garlic with very little spices and a tad oily. Between two of us, we shared two bowls (each bowl costing a paltry Rs 50) and came out completely contented.


A little chat with the lady owner of the place was not very fruitful. But what I could gather was that the place did not have any name and it was mostly visited by local Chinese workers from nearby factories. On our way back, we could see wonton sheet preparation at a small decrepit place.

I was talking about Territti Bazar breakfast and its falling standards. However, a restaurant in South Kolkata has started serving the items that have made this breakfast so popular. Tiretti by Tak Heng a small twenty-seater Chinese eatery next to Thyagraj Hall near Southern Avenue has a special Tiretti breakfast menu.


My wife and I were late there on a cloudy afternoon and the breakfast time was over. We were told that breakfast is usually available until noon, but on hearing that we are from Hyderabad they graciously agreed to prepare the items. My wife was slightly apprehensive as she had a bad experience with the original Territi breakfast when she had come down last year, but one spoonful of the Pork Meatball Soup (Rs 90)  here changed all that.  The thin soup served with three pork balls and leafy vegetables were perfectly prepared. They also have the fish version of this soup available.


While the soup was impressive, the Tiretti Char Siu Bao (Rs 100) was good too.  Though I would have liked a little more stuffing or pork, the baked bun was soft and fluffy and made to perfection. They also have a range of momos and spring rolls on their menu, but the Kolkata style Chilli Chicken tempted me more, so we had to skip these.


We ended our meal here with Hakka Noodles with Chilli Chicken. A very accessible place with some delicious dishes, they also serve other Tiretti Bazar delicacies like Roast Pork, Smoked Pork and Suckling Pig on prior orders.


If you are in Kolkata and love Chinese food, these are definitely two places worth visiting. While the first one is for the more adventurous, you feel it is definitely worthwhile after tasting the food, the second one scores with the authenticity of replicating the Territi breakfast.

Location:

The restaurant serving Singara Chow does not have a name. Take the lane next to Chinese Kali Temple and look for Laotze Temple slightly ahead. Just after the temple is a door which leads to the hall of the restaurant.

Tiretti By Tak Heng
Raja Basanta Roy Road (Near Tyagraj Hall)
off Southern Avenue close to Vivekananda Park
Telephone: 033 40647400

Also Read: Mughlai Breakfast at Shiraz Kolkata

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