Puchka or Fuchka: Unraveling the Origins of Kolkata’s Iconic Dish

When it comes to street food in Kolkata, the debate between Puchka and Fuchka is as old as the city’s love for this iconic dish. This spicy, tangy, and utterly delicious snack is a staple in the city’s food culture. But why are there two names for the same dish? What are the origins of these words? And which one is correct? Let’s delve into the history and etymology of this beloved street food to find the answers.

The Origin of the Dish

The dish known as Puchka or Fuchka in Kolkata is a variant of the popular Indian snack called ‘Pani Puri’. It is believed to have originated in the Magadh region of India, now part of Bihar and Jharkhand. The dish then spread to other parts of the country, adapting to local tastes and ingredients, and acquiring new names along the way.

The Etymology of Puchka and Fuchka

The words ‘Puchka’ and ‘Fuchka’ are both onomatopoeic, derived from the sound that the crisp shell makes when eaten or the sound of the hollow shell when it is poked. ‘Puchka’ is believed to have originated from the Hindi word ‘Phulki’, which means something that is inflated or puffed up. On the other hand, ‘Fuchka’ is thought to have come from the Bengali word ‘Futka’, which means to burst or explode.

The Difference Between Puchka and Fuchka

While both Puchka and Fuchka refer to the same dish, there is a slight difference in the way they are used. ‘Puchka’ is more commonly used in the western parts of Kolkata, while ‘Fuchka’ is more popular in the eastern parts of the city. This difference in usage is believed to be due to linguistic variations within the city.

Which is the Correct Term?

Both ‘Puchka’ and ‘Fuchka’ are correct and are used interchangeably in Kolkata. The choice of term often depends on personal preference or regional usage. However, both terms are recognized and understood throughout the city.


Whether you call it Puchka or Fuchka, there’s no denying the popularity of this dish in Kolkata. Its tangy, spicy flavors and the satisfying crunch of the shell make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. So the next time you’re in Kolkata, don’t forget to try this iconic dish. And whether you choose to call it Puchka or Fuchka, rest assured that you’re in for a treat!