Are you planning a trip to Bangladesh, or maybe just interested in learning about the Bangladeshi culture? If so you’ve come to the right place; I’ve put together an introduction to the foods of Bangladesh, a guide that should help you to understand the most common foods and delicacies eaten in Bangladesh.
Rice, dahl (split dried beans devoid of their outer huls), and fish are staples of the Bangladeshi cuisine that can be found in all regions of the country.
Atta, a whole wheat flour made from hard wheat, is also very common, and is used to make the breads popular in Bangladesh: chapati (a thin, unleavened, flat bread), naan (a round flat bread), puri (an unleavened bread commonly served for breakfast), and roti (an unleavened flat bread often eaten with curries or cooked vegetables).
Pulses, otherwise known as legumes, are also very important in Bangladeshi cuisine, with the most common being chana, mung, toor, and urad.
The most popular spices used in flavoring foods are: cardamom, cinnamon, chili, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
Fruits are commonly eaten as they are generally widely available, especially bananas, coconut, watermelon, mangoes, papayas, lichees, pineapple, jackfruit, and oranges.
Beef is also a very important meat used in Bangladeshi cooking, especially in special dishes served as a part of feasts and banquets.
Three drinks that are commonly served in Bangladesh are: chai (a milky, sweet tea), lassi (a refreshing, yogurt drink), and green coconut water. There are many others, however these are three that you could find and most any region of the country.
Desserts vary by region, however, the most commonly found sweet delicacies are: halua (made with eggs or carrots, wheat cream, and nuts), misti dhohi (sweetened yogurt), firni (rice flour cooked in milk, sugar, and flavoring), ros malai (round sweets floating in thick milk), sandesh (a milk-based dessert), zorda (sweetened rice with nuts), and pitha (cakes or pastries available in many assorted varieties).
There are four main regions in terms of cuisine in Bangladesh: the South, the Northeast, the West and Northwest, and Dhaka (a cosmopolitan city with a great deal of history and Western influence). The following explains what makes the cuisine of each region distinct from others:
South Region: Sea fishes are commonly used in dishes, especially Shutki, a dry fish. The use of coconut milk is also very popular.
Northeast Region: Lake fishes are widely consumed as are fruits and pickles found in the hill country, such as shatkora and satkora
West and Northwest Region: River fish, vegetable curries, and the heavy use of spices define the cuisine of this region.
Dhaka Region: Fried rice and a great deal of meat are eaten in this area, along with a great deal of historical dishes, and dishes with Western influence.
Although this guide to the foods of Bangladesh is very concise, I hope it helped you to gain a better understanding of the foods that are most popular in this country. Some foods are found in all areas of the country, while others are specific to a particular region.