Bengali Food Culture -Smita Jannat


Food is the main source of human survival. Bengal and the Bengali nation are also discussed in history in terms of food. Food-loving Bengalis have increased their food list over time. But in this foodie Bengaliana, there is a lack of Bengali food today.
From daily life food to rice, dal, bharta, bhaja, batter, vegetables, shukto, chorchori, pappor, fish fry, fish curry, vegetables, meat, bhuna khichuri, polao, hilsha polao, biryani, tehri, luchi, bread, Parota, curd, sweets, pies etc. are used as main terms. They also have various specialties. Bengalis have no equal in adding different spices to each dish to increase their variety and taste. Moreover, there are 64 famous dishes of 64 districts. From Mughal-style kebabs to khasir polao, prawn malaikari, bakarkhani, fish broth, meat kalabhuna, shutki that make your mouth water just by name. Bengalis have learned to cope with all situations since the beginning of history. That’s why many delicious Banjans are made from roadside leaves and fruits in curry too.
But with the evolution of time, Bengali food is disappearing along with other cultures, especially every food restaurant or hotel in Oligo of the capital. Bengalis are addicted not only to western clothes but also to western food. Burger, pizza, sandwich, fried rice, Chinese, Italian, Japanese food along with the demand of these restaurants are growing naturally which are serving only the specific types of food only. If you go out on the street, Bengali food shops are not much visible except for some hotels, the rest of the Bengali food hotels are also very poor. On the other hand, the decoration of foreign food restaurants is more noticeable. And in the food business, the supply of western food is also increasing by leaps and bounds and the demand for Bengali food is also disappearing.

Humans naturally like to be attracted to what they see in front of their eyes. And children even more. When French fries are called alu bhaji, it becomes a Bengali dish. And it has become a rule. On leisure or weekends, we like to go to famous expensive restaurants and most famous expensive restaurants are famous for different countries’ food. It is okay to have a meal once a month, but now many people have to go to those restaurants to eat three meals a day. And the main reason for that is the lack of suitable environment and decoration in Bengali hotels. Today, if a foreigner comes to visit Bangladesh, he might think that we don’t have any traditional food of our own, so we are moving in this direction. Many people will say that it is natural to eat Bengali food at home during the week and get attracted to foreign food on weekends, but many people who are forced to eat at hotels not only on weekends but throughout the year will also want to eat home food in a beautiful environment, that is not available with a suitable amount.

A Bengali can cook five types of curry with one shutki. Bengali housewives are skilled at cooking everything from flowers to kathal curry. The food of old Dhaka in Bengal is famous. Padma Hilsa does not leave room to say anything new. Bengalis are good at making 20 to 30 types of bhartas. Still, a question remains, why Bengalis and businessmen are interested in different countries’ local food instead of Bengali food or why they are more interested in opening different foreign restaurants.

The first reason for this is the imitation of western culture in which children and adults are all getting together. As a result, their attraction towards western food is increasing. And these attractions are actually being promoted by restaurants of foreign culture. With their own name, they are keeping the attraction and decoration. But sadly it is true that Bengali restaurants lack decorum and facilities because of that people naturally prefer to go to foreign name restaurants to have a good time and to maintain their honor or status.
In order to sustain the traditions of Bengali food, the number of Bengali restaurants should be increased, where the ambience and decoration will be beautiful. Just as carefully as the foreign food hotels are made, Bengali restaurants should be made with more care where every Bengali can spend family time with his family.
Bengali clothes, Bengali language, Bengali culture and Bengali food which cannot be compared anywhere in the world. Whether non-veg or non-vegetarian, Bengalis are just as popular in taste. And this popularity should not be lost in the list of foreign foods because Bengali food is a Bengali tradition and it is the responsibility of every Bengali to protect this tradition. If Bengalis do not understand the glory of Bengali food then why others will understand.

The writer of this article is a student of Department of English, Jagannath University.