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What is So Special About Tangra in Kolkata ?

In the heart of Kolkata, Tangra or the Chinatown boasts of being home to the largest number of Chinese immigrants in the country and is said to be Kolkata’s very own China. It is believed that the ‘Hakka’ Chinese from the Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, have lived in Kolkata for the past 230 years. The Chinese had come in search of work to Kolkata’s port, and began working in tanneries, producing leather goods. The Chinese community settled in Tangra, as it developed to be a major hub manufacturing leather products and providing employment to scores of people. Later however, tanneries were banned by the Government and only a few managed to remain open.

Vibrant Culture of Tangra

Vibrant Culture of Tangra

Tangra, with its cultural charm and unique identity, never disappoints an incoming visitor. As you walk along the crowded lanes, buzzing with activities, you can experience the quaint lifestyle of the people here, as they go about minding their own business. As you walk along the alleys, you come across tiny Chinese shops selling a variety of goods, Chinese Restaurants, dangling paper lamps that reflect the rich cultural confluence of the Tangra region. The pictures of Tsai Shen Ye, the Chinese God of Wealth, hanging from the entrances and cash boxes of the shops are noteworthy. The Chinese community in Tangra speak Mandarin, fluent English, while some even speak and understand Bengali fluently. An ideal time to explore Tangra to understand its glorious past would be during the festivities - Chun Chi (Chinese New Year), the Spring, Moon and the Lantern Festivals, when you get to witness the traditional and unique celebrations, replete with lion and dragon dances etc.

Taste of Tangra

Though the educated younger generations in Tangra have migrated to other places like US, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan etc in search of better prospects and the Chinese population here is dwindling at an alarming rate, tourists still visit here to lay their hands on the authentic Chinese cuisine, sold in the numerous Chinese Restaurants here. The Chinese people, born and bought up in Kolkata, consider India to be their mother land. This is reflected through their culinary preparations that carry traces of Indian style of cooking and have been modified to suit the tastes of Indians. Apart from restaurants, one can also find numerous family run eateries and roadside stalls, where you can get some really tasty Chinese food. Hakka noodles, that have gained worldwide popularity, dot the pavements and roadside counters in Tangra in Kolkata. Other specialities of Tangra include fried prawns, dim sum, chilli chicken, shark fin soup etc.

Big Boss Restaurant
Address: 54C, Matheswartala Road, Tangra Chinatown, Kolkata - 700046
Phone No: 23282405

Address: 77/1 Christopher Road, Kolkata - 700046
Phone No: 23281011/3998

Hakka Village Chinese Restaurant
Address: 104/H, Matheswartala Road, Near Science City, Kolkata - 700046
Phone No: 23291452

Revival of Tangra in Kolkata

Though the Chinese population in Tangra have managed to retain their customs and traditions, the fact that there are very few Chinese left in this region is a cause of grave concern. The West Bengal Government, in collaboration with the Singaporean corporation Buzzmedia is planning to launch the Project Cha, for revival of Tangra. As a part of this initiative by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), traditional Chinese Tea Houses will be built across Tangra to preserve its culture as well as to promote tourism. Hopefully, this project becomes a grand success and the slowly fading Chinese culture in Tangra gets restored!

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