Pithas and winter: An eternal love affair
Krishti Aung Leona
‘Pithas’ are our cultural embodiment. Since ages, our winters are closely bonded with steamy sweet savoury pithas. Pithas are a festive delicacy mostly endeavored during the chilly winter months of Poush and Magh. Winter in Bangladesh brings about a change in the culinary scene in both rural areas and the metropolitan.
Earlier, before urbanization took over, Pithas were a village carnival (mela) delicacy, which were held during the winter months. Pitha artisans used to sit by the melas and sell a piece of pitha which was no less than a piece of art. Our city hawkers who sell pithas in the street corners add a tinge of originality and rural flavor to each pitha that they sell. And we bet, that earthy flavor is scarce if you are to eat pithas at a restaurant or in a five-star.
On that note, today we have listed for you the best street corners in Dhaka for pithas, where you can sit on a chilly winter evening with your loved ones and get that rural flavor amidst the chaotic metropolitan.
Charukola Lane, Shahbag for Bhapa
Watch the pitha-makers cautiously making each piece of that classic bhapa pitha while you order one. There are at least twenty street stalls of Bhapa Pithas in this street, and each Pitha chef excels in making bhapas. Infused with our deshi sweetener 'gud' and topped with shredded coconut, bhapa pithas will leave your mouth with a heavenly sweet taste. Bhapa Pithas are the most common amongst winter pithas. Each bhapa pitha costs 10 Taka only.
Mirpur 11 and Farmgate for Chitoi
Chitoi pithas are the easiest to make, yet they taste the best. If spices are your thing! A steaming hot chitoi with a dash of your favourite bhorta will never disappoint. Mirpur 11 has eighty varities of bhorta to go with your Chitoi. Farmgate too offers more than fifty varities of bhortas. Bhortas are made with mashed coriander, mashed dried fish (shutki), mashed mustard seeds and many other veggies. Most of them are extremely hot, so make sure you carry a bottle of water with you. Each chitoi costs only 5 Takas and Bhortas are on the house!
Old Town (Puran Dhaka) for a Pitha Feast
Yes, you heard that right! Puran Dhaka offers almost every variety of Winter Pitha. From fried nakshi pithas, to bhapas, to sweet and savoury dudh-chitoi, Puran Dhaka is a heaven for pitha lovers. Prices vary from store to store. Puran Dhakaites are into pitha business for over 200 years. You can take a trip to the famous Mughal era's Lalbagh Fort with your friends while you plan for a Pitha-Walk in Puran Dhaka this winter!
Photos: Sadik Haque