Bangladesh is a country that has long been ignored by the West. There is a common perception among the tourists that Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is a crazy city and this might be the reason why they have preferred to stay away from the city and the country as a whole. You will see a lot of people traveling to South Asia and South-East Asia as well. But they have never thought of dropping down in Bangladesh or Dhaka. Another reason why Bangladesh has not been on the list of holiday destinations for many is the dominance of its neighbor, India. Well, Dhaka boasts of some lovely places that you can visit. But what is more alluring about the city is the variety of street food it offers. Be ready to take a tour.
Popularly known as Panipuri and Golgappa in other parts of the Indian subcontinent, Fuchka is one of the most popular street foods in the Indian state of Bengal and adjacent Bangladesh. If you are out on the streets of Dhaka, you will hardly come across anyone giving this delicious snack a miss. Though it will be unjustified to compare the taste of Bengal’s Fuchka to its Bangladeshi counterpart, the crispy hollow shell stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes, tamarind water, chickpeas, and chili powder is just heavenly in taste on both sides of the border. While some may say that Fuchka tastes better in Dhaka, it depends on personal tastes. Here is a bit of caution for you. Fuchkas can be really hot and spicy. So, don’t burn your tongue.
Pitha is a pretty popular sweet snack that Bengalis on both the Indian and the Bangladeshi side savor. Dhaka surely has its own specialty which you simply can’t afford to miss while you are in the city. These fritters that look almost like a pancake are available in the winter season and are available in wide varieties like Paatishapta, Chitoi, Aamdosha, and Bhapa. They can be long and flat or round in shape and are sweet to taste. The Bhapa pitha is usually made of rice flour, salt, coconut, and gur (molasses). There are lots of Bangladeshi sweet snacks that you can taste, particularly if you have a sweet tooth.
Peyaju, Beguni, and Chop
The Bangladeshis are too fond of fried stuff and when you land in Dhaka, you will get aware of that pretty soon. Peyaju or Peyaji is made of onions and mashed lentils. Brinjals and flour are used to make begunis. Both peyajus and begunis are deep-fried in oil and served hot. There is also a special variety of chop available that is popularly called egg devil. These are made of mashed potatoes and boiled eggs. The egg devils are also deep-fried in oil and served hot. Aside from that, you will also get lonkar chop (made of chilies), chingrir chop (made of prawns), vegetable chop (made of vegetables), etc.
When you are in Dhaka, Jhalmuri is one item that’s not going to miss your eye. Jhalmuri in Dhaka might be a bit different in taste from the one that Indian Bengalis usually have. Bengalis around the world have a soft corner for Jhalmuri and Dhaka is no exception. Rice puff, chanachur, cucumbers, peanuts, chilies, onions, tomatoes, lemon are all mixed together, shaken vigorously in a certain rhythm, and lo behold! you have a wonder served to you within minutes. The mouth-watering snack can be a sheer joy if you are really geared up to gorge on some really spicy stuff.
Bhorta is among the specialties of Bangladeshi cuisine. They can be made with anything, be it eggplant, fish, or fruits. However, if you ask those who can give their right arm for these bhortas, they would swear by the ones that are made with mashed fruits. Bhortas or cocktails are served with various sauces which make the dishes all the more delectable. They are sour most of the time, but can also be served hot or sweet depending on individual taste buds.
It’s a special variety of sweet tea. Cows’ milk is used, which is boiled for quite some time to get a thick texture. You will find a tea stall in Dhaka every 500 meters. It’s that common in the city. Don’t forget to try a malai cha before you leave.
If you belong to the West, your taste buds might be used to a different kind of cuisine. Bangladeshi food can come across as too hot and spicy to you. Your tongue and stomach might not receive them properly. It’s not that you won’t be able to cope with them. It’s always better to be careful, right?