The cuisine of West Bengal is such that it appeals not just to the casual traveller, but also to the food connoisseur. It would be interesting to note that Bengal is the only state in India which has customarily developed the multi-course tradition of serving food. A contemporary day-to-day meal etiquette involves serving the food in a particular fashion that starts from a little ghee poured over a small portion of rice, followed by a bitter preparation called shukto, and then the lentils or dals, served together with roasted & fried vegetable called bhaja, some chutney and papor. Next comes the spiced vegetable curry, followed by fish, and lastly chicken or mutton. Dessert is quintessential to any Bengali meal, and is served at the end followed by a paan (betel leaf) to aid digestion.
Now, talking about the popular delicacies of West Bengal, first and foremost comes the non-vegetarian curries. Bengalis love their fish, and it’s a fact which is universally known and accepted. The famous Bengali dish, ‘Macher Jhol’, is a simple yet flavourful fish curry in a thin gravy and counts for an everyday staple served with steamed rice. Bengalis use a lot of mustard in their recipes, and the ‘Shorshe Maach’ is a good example of such a preparation. There are other interesting varieties including Doi Maach, Machher Kalia and Macher Paturi. There are plenty of choices for mutton and chicken lovers, with some of the popular dishes bring Doi Murgi, Murgir Jhol and ‘Kosha Mangsho.
Bengali cuisine also consist of delicious vegetable dishes with unique flavours that are obtained with the use of certain spices. In fact, it is a must to have at least two vegetarian preparations in a typical Bengali meal, one a bhaja or a fried snack and second, a torkari or curry. Shukto is one of the famous Bengali vegetarian delicacies. A bittersweet broth, it is commonly made of an assortment of vegetables like potatoes, eggplants, drumsticks, carrots and hyacinth beans. Another equally famous vegetable is the flavourful ‘Aloo Posto’, which is a simple curry made of potatoes, dunked in an aromatic paste of poppy seeds. If you are in Kolkata during summers, it is quite a possibility, you might end up being served ‘Lau Ghonto’ on your Bengali thali. It’s an interesting preparation made of bottle gourd and fried lentil dumplings with subtle flavours of coconut to add a touch of sweetness.
Delicacies like ‘Begun Bhaja’, ‘Doi Potol’, ‘Bengali Aloor Dum’ and ‘Dhokar Dalna’ have gained popularity among non-Bengalis too. While rice is quite popular in West Bengal, they also consume different kinds of bread with great delight. Luchi, or fried puffed puri, is the most famous bread recipe of Bengal, which pairs really well with Aloor Dum and Cholar Dal. Radha Ballabhi is a fried puffed puri, and what makes it so unique and special is the spicy lentil filling. Pair it with Aloor Torkari or any curried vegetable and your day is made. In winters, you would find Koraishutir Kochuri often served at the breakfast table.
Bengali sweets need no special introduction. The most famous among these are the Roshogolla, Ras Malai and Sondesh. There are other sweetmeats too which are just as popular. Some of the traditional mithais that you should feast on during your visit to West Bengal are Nolen Gurer Payesh, Patishapta, and the very delicious Misti Doi.
This West Bengal travel guide contains every kind of information you need for an enjoyable holiday. Inside it, you will find various kind of travel related information like the best time to visit, popular tourist attractions, things to do, best accommodation facilities and why you should visit it. It also contains additional information on the places which are a must visit during your vacation.