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The monsoons are unpredictable as much in Mumbai as in Kolkata or as in any other part of the world. What is the most popular food in Kolkata when it's raining or will perhaps rain? Khichudi is the undisputed king - rice and daal boiled together with an addition of turmeric, bay leaves, some chillies and simmered to a thick stickier version of rice and it's sunshine on your plate despite the gloomy, cloudy weather. One can have the same experience over a steamy ramen bowl. Isn't it?
A happy bowl of noodles dunked in a broth with accompaniments which vary from meatballs to chicken confit, duck breasts, spring onions, eggs with various toppings and chilli oil - it's like a dream come true.
If you walk into The Fatty Bao Kolkata, you get a chance to experience various Ramen to Soupy noodles as a part of the ongoing Raining Ramen festival. A special curated menu by executive chef Prashanth sees piping hot dishes picked from Indonesia, Korea, China and other parts of Asia.
The festival has got the wide variety of options of indulgence and one visit may not be enough. However, if you are only going for once these recommendations will help you. For strictly non-vegetarians, there is a lovely medley of meats. Start with Kamonegi Ramen which has grilled duck breast, scallion, leeks, citrus ponzu and duck broth, baby bok choy and shichimi. The broth is light and has a velvety feel to it. The slices of perfectly cooked duck breast are a delight to have. The Chinese chicken Mixian has got chicken confit as a surprising element as a condiment to the Yuna inspired rice noodles along with fermented chilli paste, fried garlic, marinated wild mushrooms and spinach. Sweet and spicy, crunch from the garlic with a bite from the mushroom fulfils the senses. The Pork Paitan Ramen is a top draw and cannot be missed. Spicy minced pork in soba noodles in a pork and chicken broth with a boiled egg with runny yolk makes this dish a maze of taste where each element holds their unique tastes yet there is a unison. The Northen Thai khao soi here is a superb rendition to the Burmese Khao Suey. The broth is rich and creamy but with a little bit of spice and the various DIY of condiments is always fun.
Not much to offer for vegetarians other than a Green tea ramen with fragrant vegetables, green tea flavoured broth, ginger, crispy garlic and roasted tomatoes. Non-vegetarians, on the other hand, get an experience of all kinds of meat from chicken to duck to lamb, beef, crab and pork; each with the unique flavour profile, different broth and the kind of noodles.
This festival is on till the 20th of this month and the prices range from 395 to 525 for a bowl. And trust me, the bowls are rather large.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.