Experience Tibet and Nepal in Kolkata
I have always been a huge fan of Tibetan food, especially all the noodle soups that is a part of the kitchen. I remember having them 7-8 years back at Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh (The heart of tibetan culture within mainland India). During my visit to India in December 2018, I stumbled upon this unique restaurant in Sikkim House named Blue Poppy Thakali.
Sikkim House is situated right in the middle of the city of Kolkata near Park Street. Inside this is Blue Poppy, Thakali , a very unique restaurant, which transports you back to the mountains.
As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are greeted with the traditional prayer wheels that are seen at the entrance of any Tibetan monastery.
A prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel on a spindle made from metal, wood, stone, leather or coarse cotton. Traditionally, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Newari language of Nepal, on the outside of the wheel. At the core of the cylinder is a “Life Tree” often made of wood or metal with certain mantras written on or wrapped around it. Many thousands (or in the case of larger prayer wheels, millions) of mantras are then wrapped around this life tree. The Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is most commonly used, but other mantras may be used as well. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition based on the lineage texts regarding prayer wheels, spinning such a wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers. (Source – Wikipedia)
Blue Poppy Thakali
The interiors of the restaurant is divided into two parts. One part with regular tables and chairs and the other part with such cozy seating arrangement. They have cushions to sit down with a table big enough to hold more than 5 dishes if ordered. And most of this space had a dim light with a meditative nepali/tibetan music playing in the background. I think the perfect mood setting for some great time with food.
But if you are someone who doesn’t like sitting down while eating, you have the conventional setting on the opposite side. The restaurant is often flooded with so many guests that the maximum time that you could sit and enjoy your meal on a weekday lunch could be 2 hours. (Keep that in mind, before visiting the place).
The setting takes you to the snow peaked mountains of Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim catalyzed by the menu. The menu is so beautifully designed with such great options to choose from. The food from Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet is similar and thus you would find some specialties from these locations mentioned separately under different section. And as mentioned on the menu this restaurant truly just doesn’t serve food but gives you the entire experience.
Our Food Journey
We started our meal with some open momo (momo is the Nepali version of a Chinese dumpling, wonton or a Japanese Gyoza). The momos were filled with minced and spiced pork meat and wrapped in wonton sheets and steamed to perfection. It was served with 3 types of sauces – with sesame paste being the main base for all the sauces. There was this red sauce (spicy of course), yellowish green sauce (mildly spicy) and black sauce (made from black sesame seeds – turned out to be sweet). Each of them had a distinct taste and went really well with the momo.
Followed by momo were this raw noodles spiced with some oil, finely chopped onion, tomato, coriander leaves and some spices. It is like a Bhelpuri /Jhalmuri made with raw noodles. It is a common street snack in Nepal and is popularly made from Wai-Wai noodles. It has crunchiness from the chopped onion and the noodles of course and the umami taste from mustard oil and chaat masala. It is an explosion in your mouth.
If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it. But always with Wai Wai only 🙂 And yes you can make it at home too.
I think I was almost full after these two starters/entree but how can I not enjoy my favorite noodle soup when at Blue Poppy. I had the Chicken Thukpa and my brother ordered for the Pork Men tse tse.
Chicken Thukpa is made from hand pulled noodles that are boiled and cooked in a chicken broth with a bunch of vegetables. The noodles are thick and flavorful making the experience of enjoying this soup more exciting.
I hope to try this dish once at home, and if I succeed I will surely link the recipe here. Fingers crossed.
My brother ordered Pork men tse tse which is made from flat noodles cooked in a broth with minced pork and vegetables. Again another dish that I hope to try in my own kitchen sometime.
This place ensures that you go back with full stomach, content heart and a broad smile. We did pay less than €25 for a meal of two which at a point seemed impossible to be finished. It definitely gave a different experience that I brought back with myself and even while I am typing this, I can’t forget that flavor that lingers in my mind. I hope I do visit this place soon again.
If you happen to visit Kolkata, don’t miss this hidden gem in the city. It is maybe of the best kept secrets. Let me know your experience if you have visited and tasted their mind blowing food.
Majjale khanu hosi
Blue Poppy Thakali
4/1, Middleton Street, Kankaria Estates,
Park Street Area,
Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India
+91 97350 36117