Eat Well and Eat Healthy in Bangladesh

Bangali cuisine — in it’s simplicity — can be one of the most enjoyable things about your visit to Bangladesh. You can eat well and eat healthy in Bangladesh, and you owe it to yourself to try a little bit of everything.

Boiled rice is the staple diet of the Bangladeshi’s and is served with a variety of vegetables in addition to curry, thick lentil soups, fish and meat preparations of beef, mutton and chicken. Mustard and soyabin oils are used as the cooking oil of choice.

Rice, although eaten as the first course, is still included in most follow-up courses. Lentil soup (called dal) is the usual second course followed by fish or meat curry as the third course.

Two types of sweets are enjoyed by young and old alike in Bangladesh: sweetened yoghurt and sweetmeats. Bengali sweets are well known all over the sub-continent and are very popular. The yoghurt is pink in color and very sweet like custard.

Fish is the dominant kind of meat, Ilish (hilsa ilisha) is very popular among Bengalis, can be called an icon of Bengali cuisine. Almost every part of the fish is eaten; the head and other leftovers are usually used to flavor curries. Khashi (referred to as mutton in Indian English, the meat of sterilized goats) is the most popular red meat.

Another characteristic of Bengali food is the use of a unique cutting instrument, the bothi. Traditional cuisine and culture is very demanding in the kind of cuts of vegetable used in each dish, vegetables cut in the wrong way is often frowned upon. Furthermore, since different vegetables are usually cooked together, the wrongly cut ones could remain raw or become overcooked.

In Bangladesh, the culinary style developed rather independently; it was not greatly influenced by the rest of India and Southeast Asia because of the difficult geography of the Ganges delta. Four characteristics stand out: fresh-water fish, beef, the extensive use of parboiled rice and mustard oil. Dal is also a staple. Spices are used sparingly, and the methods of preparation are relatively simple – steaming, frying or stewing. There is an extensive use of root vegetables.