Every country has its own tradition of foods. Bangladesh has also the same. In the sense of food habits, Bangladesh is influenced by the regional variations of her history. Being an outpost of Mughal Empire once, Bangladesh retains its heritage. Bangladesh is famous for rice production which has been the chief occupation of its people. Rice therefore the main food of Bangladesh. The Bangladeshis eat rice, not just a small quantity but a lot. They eat rice every day and at every meal with great testy and spicy curry of vegetables, fishes and meat.
You may not have realized that you may be ate Bangladeshi foods! Many of the restaurants framed in Brick Lane, London are actually Bangladeshi in origin. The same can probably be said for other called Indian restaurants throughout the world when Indian foods have much better branding.
For the vegetarians Bangladesh is a paradise. Plenty of fresh vegetables are available throughout the year. Among them, winter vegetables are more popular because of their different preparations and taste. The common vegetables from Bangladesh are Cauliflower, Cabbage, Tomato, Potato, Beans, reddish, Peas, Carrot, Radish, Pumpkin, Eggplant, Drumstick, Bitter-ground, Arum and Arum-root, Bind-weed and many others. Most of the restaurants serve some kinds of vegetable everyday either fried or curry or even Bharta (cereals of various vegetables or fishes dry or fresh with spices that are absolutely delicious).
Generally Bangladeshi take meal in three time a day called Breakfast around 8.00 am, Lunch around 2.00 pm and dinner around 10.00 pm . Besides in evening they take snakes.
In the morning, a farmer or a laborer starts his long day with a breakfast of Panta (plain boiled rice soaked overnight in water and slightly fermented). This watery rice mixed with salt and chilly, either green or fried dry ones but this is not just the only sort of breakfast. Muri (puffed rice) or Chira (flattened rice), or Khoi (popped rice) are other items of a traditional breakfast in most Bangladeshi homes in the rural areas. These are taken with milk, yogurt, seasonal fruits or Gur (a crude form of country sugar).
Wheat based plain bread (may be with oil) is another common item for breakfast. A large number of people of Bangladesh take baked bread and mixed vegetable including egg, various kind of meat, and a hot cup of tea at last of breakfast.
Lunch is the main dish for Bangladeshis. Almost all the Bangladeshis take plain rice in lunch. Most of them take different kinds of vorta and Bhaji (saluted or fried vegetable with green or fried chilly and other spices) are very popular. They also take various kinds of spicy illusive fishes with it. So it is called that Mase vate Bangali (i e the land of rich and fishes). Fish or meat Jhol (liquidated, may be with different kind of vegetables) with plenty of chopped spices and other ingredients Cooked in low heat and for long is typical and an exclusive dish of Bangladesh. Dal (pulse) is must in Bangladeshi tradition in lunch. Adding ground ginger, garlic, onion, cumin, and chili pepper pastes, this dish also included fennel seed, black cumin, methie and so on herbs makes the Bangladeshi traditional meal greatly delicious.
Almost all Bangladeshis take same items of foods in dinner. Dudvat (milk and rice) is very common as the last item of dinner. This is eaten with seasonal fruits like mango, banana or jack fruit or just with Gur (country sugar).
During the harvesting season breakfast and evening snakes consist of a great variety of Pithas (rice cakes) of different sizes and shapes, salted or sugary, fried, boiled, sun dried or cooked. The remarkable Pithas are Sandwish, chitoi, dhupi, Pati-Sapta, antasha, pufi, Vapa, pua, various Nakshi Pitha etc. Swandwish pitha (taler pitha) is prepared from a mixture of rice flour, gur and salt, fried in mustard oil. Chitai a paste of rice flour baked in especially designed clay pans. It may be soaked for a day or two in evaporated milk. Pati Sapta is a variety of rolled pancakes with Kheer (great delicious, prepared with milk thickened through continuous boiling) filling. During weddings the bridegroom is given Nakhsi Pithas-carved and decorated rice cakes, which are real tasty.
In weeding or other social festival, Biriani (fine rice with chicken, beef or mutton cooked in Ghee or clarified butter), Pilaw (spicy like Biriani but without meat), with Chicken roast or mutton Rezala is served as main dish. Khichuri (Hotchpotch) is another popular item in Bangladeshi food habit. Different kind of pickle of mango, tomato, olive etc are also taken much.
Various varieties of inland and marine fishes are available throughout the country. Fish lovers should not miss the great taste of smoked or boiled or fried Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha), the national fish of Bangladesh. Trout, Eel, Butter fish, Ruhi, Katla, Mackerel, Reetha, Pungas Catfish, Walking Fish, Giant snake head are very testy and common in Bangladesh. Among the marine fishes Lobster, Red Snapper, Rupchanda, Tuna, Bhetki, Loittya are very popular.
Among the seasonal fruits the appeal of jack-fruit (the national fruit of Bangladesh) is universal for its sticky and juicy substance. You may take the taste of Fazli aam (a famous mango) for sophisticated experience. There are a number of varieties of mango each having an exotic name differing in taste, varying in sweetness and even in flavours. The litchis of Rajshahi are juicy and colourful, pleasing both to eye and the tongue. Pineapple is another treat. Lots of them are grown on the hilly area. The other remarkable fruits of Bangladesh are Guava, Plum, Palm, Water Melon, banana etc.
Bangladeshi Snacks and Breads
Singara– is spiced potato pockets wrapped in thin dough and fried. It is really tasty and inexpensive snack that you can find almost anywhere in Bangladesh.
Samosa– Bangladeshi samosas tend to be triangular, filled with cabbage and other vegetables, and are very crispy.
Dallpuri-is a popular and common item as snakes contain dall(pulse) covered with specially prepared flour paste fried in hot oil. Sometime it contains potato in lieu of pulse.
Naan– (flat bread baked in a tan door oven) is a common item in almost all restaurants in Bangladesh. It may be contain banana or other fruits as paste.
Muglai Barata– (bread contains spicy egg or meat) is another popular item in evening snakes.
Tandori– (flat wheat paste baked in oven) in very popular and common item in breakfast.
Bakorkhani– (wheat and sugar based) is a famous and traditional snack available in old Dhaka.
Desserts of Bangladesh
Misti Dhohi, flat Chana, Sweetened Yogurt, Sandesh, Rasgolla, Ras Malai, Kalojam, Pudding etc are unique milk based dessert. Taste a Pranhara (heart winner) or a lady Kenny (named after Lady Kenning, wife of the British Governor of East India Company) and you will know what it means! Kheer is also a great tasty milk based dessert. Sweetmeat is served to a guest any time of the day or night. A messenger who would carry good news to a relative or a man also accompanies those sweetmeats. Besides, Halua based on carrot, sooji or wheat cream, almond, pistachio, nuts and so on and Zorda are the common dessert in Bangladesh.
Drinks in Bangladesh
Prepared Tea: Bangladeshis are a tea drinking people. You’ll find little tea stands throughout the country with a few people sitting and drinking a small cup, perhaps with some snacks. Tea drinking and tea stalls offer a great way to engage with and meet the common people. Most tea is black tea served with condensed milk and sugar, but you can also request red tea which is without milk.
Lassi: It is a yogurt and ice based refreshing drink. It refreshes both body and soul when you are tired in travel.
Sugarcane juice: You can find juice stands on the streets here and there, where fresh sugarcane thrashing and ready juice is served.
Lime and Date juice: Sometime you may found natural Lime and date juice in street that is really exotic to taste.
Green Coconut Water: It is also available in street and it is fine, safe and nutritious to drink.
Besides it, international soft drinks are readily available. Hard drinks are available in star hotels and selected restaurants.