One stop destination for street food

One stop destination for street food

It has been  many years since I last visited Bengali Market. One expected the taste of the street food to have changed over the years, as also the character of this iconic marketplace.

How pleasantly surprising and wonderful it was to find that the taste and quality of the food has stayed true to the original. We had dinner at Bengali Sweet House in Bengali Market. We gorged on gol gappas and aloo tikkis standing on the street side. The sweet and hot chutneys were just as remarkable as ever,” says the Pushpa Bajpai,  who recently visited City and especially Bengali Market after a long time.

The Bengali Market is one of the oldest market in the City and is located close to the more famous Connaught Place. Nevertheless, its importance cannot be diminished given that for decades it has sated the hunger pangs of the City’s culture buffs, aspiring and well-established theatre and cine artistes, painters and dancers owing to its close proximity to the Capital’s cultural centres Kamani Auditorium, Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Shri Ram Centre for Arts, Triveni Kala Sangam and National School of Drama (NSD). At a stone’s throw from the market are Le Meridien Hotel, The Lalit and Janpath Hotel offering comfortable accommodation.

The creation of Bengali Market in the late 1930s is credited to Moradabad iron industrialist Harishchandra Lohiya, who named it ‘Bengali Mal Market’, after his late father. He bought the land in an auction in 1938-39 and the market became operational by 1941-42.

Nathu’s and Bengali Sweet House are two famous eateries here and were established at about the same time. They are a must visit for a quick meal – and they are inextricably part of the market’s history. It truly adds to the market’s reputation as a food haven. Thanks to these shops, the Bengali Market is famous and  is one stop destination for typical North Indian street snack foods.

Amidst the mix of eateries, convenience stores like Radha Krishna and Gupta stock crisps, chocolates, tea, shampoos and other commodities for daily needs.  The market has some good photo studios, readymade garment shops, bakeries, gift shops, dry cleaning shops, clinics, book shops, grocery shops, and stalls for fresh fruits and vegetables and florist. But apart from the marketplace, there are a number of residential quarters, government flats, swanky bungalows inhabited by the Capital’s who’s who and, some affordable inns around the area adding to the appeal of a ‘Bengali  Market address’!

The market, these days, is undergoing a much-needed renovation. The garden at the centre of the market has been demolished and owing to a surge in vehicular traffic finding a parking space is a problem. But the chaos notwithstanding, the place retains its quaint, wholesome charm.