Kolkata – the city of joy, monkey-cap donning intellectuals and an overbearing pride over the supremacy of fish. For the sake of your sanity readers (and mine) we are not going to talk about fish in this article, because Bengalis are synonymous with fish, you know that already. 

But there’s so much more to the city that you haven’t heard of, or maybe you did because true Bengali’s would never pass up a chance to share a riveting story about their culture. 

Here’s 10 things in Kolkata that you (probably) can’t find anywhere else:

1. As soon as the sun begins to set, flocks of men gather around chai stalls and engage in heated political discourse aka ‘adda’.

The Bengali affinity towards chai and adda is unparalleled. As soon as the clock strikes five and the sun begins to set, you can spot flocks of men gathering around chai stalls across the state to share a cup of tea and over a heated game of carrom and intense political discourse. 

2. Apparently Bengali’s can eat water

No Bengalis are not ahead of their time. They use the word “khaabo” both when one wants to eat something solid or drink something liquid, even though the word literally translates to eat.Ami jol khaabo” is an eerily common expression in all Bengali households. 


3. The origin of Chinese cuisine in India was through Kolkata

Bengali Chinese food is by far the most underrated cuisine in the region. Not many are aware but Chinese food entered India via Kolkata. Chinese settlers immigrated to Bengal as silk traders, carpenters and leather tannery owners and set up shop in Tiretta Bazaar and Tangra, now known as the two Chinatowns of Kolkata. They began cooking their food with local spices and thus began a glorious confluence of the two cultures. To date, residents of the city continue to be deeply passionate about their fried rice-chilli chicken combos. From roadside tapris to luxe restaurants, Bengali-Chinese food can be found in every nook and cranny of the city. 


4. Trams

Operating on the bustling streets since 1902, Kolkata’s tram line is not just one of the last remaining in the country but also the oldest in Asia. With over a hundred cars running daily, the tram is continues to be one of the cheapest modes of transport and an emblem of the vibrant heritage the city houses.

Indian Express

5. Ridiculously cheap rickshaw rides

Speaking of affordable public transportation, you can travel as far as 2 km for just 10 bucks in a rickshaw. The shared service is practically a wet ream for Bombay. 


6. The ever embarrasing Daak Naam

Almost every Bengali person has a Daak Naam or two. Most of the time, it’s unbearably embarrassing and has nothing to do with your first name. 


7. Kolkata biriyani is incomplete without its beloved aloo

Yeah, yeah let’s address the elephant in the room. Legend has it that when the King of Awadh was dethroned by the British, he was exiled to Kolkata from his capital Lucknow. But having lost his wealth, he couldn’t afford the sumptuous meat and rich spices that went into the traditional Lucknowi biriyani. Thus his cooks whipped up a sub-variant by cutting down on meat and adding potatoes to the dish. The rest is history. 

Yummy O Yummy

Here’s what quora had to say: 

8. “A metro that would make you say ‘Great, finally aa gaya’ and ‘Dhat, A/c wala nahi hai’ at the same time.”


9. “Gangs of cats harassing a poor dog. Gigantic rats, that might also scare a kitty on some occasions.”

10. “Shop operational hours: 11am -1.30pm, lunch break,5pm-8pm.”