“If Bengali cuisine were Wimbledon, the hilsa would always play on Centre Court.” The “Ghotis” might disagree with this statement and replace hilsa with prawns but I completely agree with Samanth Subramanian. One of the major reasons why I love the monsoons is because of ‘khichuri’, ‘ilish bhaja’, ‘shorshe ilish’, ‘ilish pathuri’, ‘doi ilish’ etc etc. You get the gist. I love the fish! This time, all hotels and restaurants come up with Hilsa Festivals and one that I went to recently was the Hilsa Festival at Buzz, The Gateway Hotel.
My great grandfather along with his family arrived in Calcutta from Purbo Bangla (Bangladesh as we now know it) nearly seventy years back as refugees. They left behind everything – acres of land, large houses, jewelry, all material possessions to start a new life in a refugee colony in this city. Physically, the ties were cut but you can never cut away the roots can you? ‘Bangal‘ness is ingrained in our genes. From the way we speak, our behavioral traits to even what we eat. We like our food to be hot and spicy, we eagerly wait for the monsoons because that’s when you get the best hilsa, we love our fresh river fish, our ‘Boras‘, ‘Kochur Saag‘ ‘Kochur Loti‘, our hot and spicy ‘Pantha or mutton’, our ‘Pithe‘, ‘Puli‘ and so much more. If you want to savour this brilliant food of Purbo Bangla, head over to The Gateway Hotel, Kolkata where Chef Asish Kumar Roy has curated a special menu of old favorites and new flavors.