VIDEO: Kolkata Street Snacks at Thelewala

Thelewala james boo

Mohan Sharma, co-owner of a stop-and-go eatery named Thelewala, transitioned into professional cooking from running operations in five-star international hotels. After years of managing North Indian-style restaurants in New York and Connecticut, he decided to pursue a fond memory from his college years.

Basing Thelewala’s menu on their past lives in Kolkata, Sharma and his partner focus on the kati roll, a hand-held wrap already popular among fans of Indian cuisine in New York. A less flaunted but even tastier part of the menu, however, is the shortlist of street snacks—mixtures of puffed rice, fresh herbs and vegetables, chopped chilies, and chutneys that hit the tongue with a whirlwind of flavors. Thelewala doesn’t serve its bhel puri and jhal muri in a paper cone as it would in Kolkata or Mumbai, but the experience is just as lively.

Soundtrack Credit: “Bosco’s Country” by Sugarman 3. Recording courtesy of Sugarman 3 and Daptone Records.

James Boo

James Boo is a multimedia journalist based in Brooklyn. As Editor-in-Chief of Real Cheap Eats, an independent filmmaker, and a freelance food writer, James has devoted his storytelling career to the intersection of food and culture. You can see more episodes of this web series at

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