12-10-2017 02:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Tangra in Kolkata feels like a China Town
Tangra, a region in Kolkata is famous for a reason- it houses the country’s largest Chinese population. The Chinese community has been living here over the past several decades and has been diligently following their customs and traditions so much that when we enter this hustling and bustling town, we get a feel of China.
For the past few decades, the Hakka Chinese have settled here and opened over 350 tanneries. They gradually turned that part of Kolkata city into an important destination for sourcing finished and semi-finished leather. As they specialized in the manufacture of leather, they made it into a major industry providing employment to tens of thousands of local inhabitants.
Although the once prosperous business of the Chinese community is on the decline, their restaurants have gained popularity far and wide. Over the years, the Chinese cuisine has been reconditioned to suit the taste of Indians who love spicy food. The Chinese cuisine is such a hit with people all over the country that the Chinese population has migrated to other cities and towns to cater to the growing demand for Chinese food.
Amongst the Chinese establishments and restaurants, there is a Kali Mandir which is very old and is considered auspicious. It is a treat to watch the amalgamation of cultures as both Chinese and Hindus visit this temple devotedly.
Tangra has been an integral part of the culture of the Chinese community in India. A boom in Tangra's unique Indian-Chinese food is attracting a lot of attention these days and the cuisine will probably live on in Kolkata and in the global Indian Diaspora. Tangra is said to be the best place in Kolkata for authentic Chinese cuisine where there are over 100 small restaurants in Tangra which are run by the Chinese families themselves for generations offering good quality food at affordable prices.
There is hardly any place in India where you will find such a strong community of East Asians as in Tangra. They have beautifully preserved their culture and traditions and celebrate every festival with such enthusiasm and fervour as it would have been celebrated in China itself. The delicious aroma of food as well as little retail shops, street vendors, temples all lure tourists to visit this town.
Tangra also publishes ‘The Overseas Chinese Commerce of India’ which is probably India’s last remaining Chinese language newspaper.The paper used to be handwritten once upon a time with characters in beautiful calligraphy. It carries stories selected from national and international papers and translated into Chinese. Some news is also sourced from TV and radio. The pages also serve as a newsletter for the community with births, deaths, engagements, marriages and other social events.
Dragon and lion dancers usher in the Chinese New Year in February. The Lion Dancers’ groups begin with performances in Chinese temples after which they visit neighbourhood establishments and houses to bring good luck. So next time when you visit Kolkata, don’t miss Kolkata’s Chinatown.
Buy the My Indian Dream merchandise to support our various initiatives. The premium merchandise enables you to make a statement in style as well as enable our efforts.