Top 10 Street Food You Must Try In Bangladesh

street food in bangladesh

Bangladesh, or the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by India, Myanmar, and the Bay of Bengal. It is the world’s eighth-most populated country, and it offers its visitors plenty of cultural activities to explore. If you are into visual arts, you can check out the National Art Gallery. Or head to Ahsan Manzil to check out Bangladeshi architecture - it was formally the residential palace of the Nawab of Dhaka, and today houses a museum. If you prefer to spend your time outdoors, you can head to Patenga Sea Beach, where you can stroll along the water’s edge and watch the sunset. And of course, there is plenty of food to enjoy in the country as well. To help you decide what to eat, we have created a list of top street food that you must try in Bangladesh. So keep on reading to see the options.

1. Shingara (Bengali samosa)

Singara with Sauce packs
Source: Photo by user Ferdous used under CC BY-SA 3.0

We’ll start our list off with something that is small but mighty: shingara. These bite-size balls have everything we love in snack food. Crispy fried dough? Check! A yummy filling inside? Check! So delicious you will find it hard to stop at one? Definitely a check! These dough balls are similar to samosas, and their fillings depend on the region and vendor. It is common to find a mixture of vegetables and spices, but sweet variations are available as well. Their small size makes them perfect to grab and eat on-the-go while exploring an area.

2. Rumali roti (flatbread)

Rumali Roti in Afghanistan
Source: Photo by user Ganesh.rao used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are a bread lover, then you will enjoy rumali roti - a thin flatbread that tends to be eaten with tandoori dishes (dishes cooked in a clay or metal oven in a cylindrical shape, called a tandoor). The name translates to “handkerchief bread” in English, which makes sense, as the bread is thin and floppy and typically served folded like a handkerchief. Historically, it was used to wipe one’s hands after eating a meal. On the street, you’ll find vendors flipping and stretching the bread in the air, a skill that takes a while to perfect - think of all the dropped rumali rotis! They are made with flour and water. It is kneaded, rolled out thin, and heated in a flat, hot surface until bubbles start to rise. This is the perfect accompaniment to your meal.

3. Velpuri (puffed rice snack)

bhelpuri at Flavors of India
Source: Photo by user stu_spivack used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most common street foods in Bangladesh is velpuri, also spelt bhelpuri. This snack is savoury, consisting of puffed rice, veggies, and a tangy sauce made of tamarind. The veggies often include onion, potato, and tomato, but exact ingredients vary by location and availability. Historically, it is thought that velpuri was invented by migrant workers in Mumbai, though anything more specific than that is unknown. What we do know is that if you’re looking to try quintessential Bangladeshi street food, this is definitely a must.

4. Fuchka (stuffed fried dough balls)

Fuchka 002
Source: Photo by user Bellayet used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Up next we have fuchka, also called panipuri. This street food is small in size and therefore easy to eat - it is no surprise that this makes it an incredibly popular snack to enjoy. Fuchka is a round and hollow thin bread, which is then stuffed with fillings. A typical fuchka filling consists of mashed potatoes and has a tangy and spicy flavour (while panipuri can be made sweet or savoury). This spicy finger food is the perfect snack to stop for if you’re looking for a small bite to tide you over until mealtime.

5. Hilsha (national fish of Bangladesh)

Shoshe Ilish
Source: Photo by user Acoomar used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Hilsha is the national fish of Bangladesh, so it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular dishes here. There are a variety of ways to cook the hilsha fish, but the most common way to eat it is in a curry - indeed, hilsha curry is a popular dish Bangladesh. This flavoursome dish is made by marinating the fish in chilli paste and turmeric and then frying the fish. Once cooked, it is served on a bed of rice. The hilsha can also be smoked, steamed, or baked, and it is typically served with a variety of vegetables and spices. If you like it, why not try it cooked in multiple ways?

6. Chanachur (crispy snack mix)

Mixture (the Indian snack) in Chennai
Source: Photo by user Aravind Sivaraj used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re after a savoury, crispy snack, then track down chanachur. This snack contains a mixture of dried foods like lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts. The dried ingredients are flavoured with salt, spices, and herbs. These days you can find bags of this snack packaged and eaten like crisps or chips in western culture. If you love the crispy, savoury quality of potato chips, you’ll definitely want to give chanachur a try.

7. Bhorta (fried mashed vegetables)

Dry Fish
Source: Photo by user Delhifoodwalks used under CC BY-SA 4.0

For those who are looking for something comforting, then our next street food is perfect for you. Bhorta is a mixture of vegetables that have been mashed together and then fried. It is often served with rice. The vegetables vary by region and availability, but common ingredients include potato, eggplant, and tomato. These are mixed together with a variety of spices and is sometimes made with fish. It sounds so simple, but who doesn’t like fried food? This dish will leave you feeling warm and comforted.

8. Jhalmuri (spicy puffed rice snack)

Source: Photo by user Rupamdas75 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you want to understand what jhalmuri is, all you have to do is translate the name. Jhal translates to “spicy” in English, and “muri” to puffed rice. And that’s exactly what this popular snack is. In addition to puffed rice, other common ingredients include cucumber, roasted peanuts, and potatoes all mixed together. In Bangladesh, it is common to find vendors selling it in a paper cone called a thonga. This makes it super easy to carry with you while you check out the attractions in Bangladesh.

9. Chole bhature (spicy chickpea curry and flatbread dish)

Chole Bhature from Nagpur
Source: Photo by user Dheerajk88 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Next, we have a dish which is considered street food but is also often eaten for breakfast. Chola, also called chola bhature or chole bhature, is a dish made of spicy chickpeas (chana masala) and a fried bread called bhatura. Oftentimes, it is served with chutney and pickles, and the bread is a great way to soak up every last bit of this delicious dish. It is thought to have originated in Punjab, India where it is a common breakfast, but has since spread across India and Bangladesh. Today, you can find street vendors stirring large pots of this spicy dish.

10. Pithe (Bengali rice cake)

Patishapta Pithe
Source: Photo by user Acoomar used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Pithe is a crepe-like rice cake that can be served hot or cold. While recipes vary by region, these are generally served as a sweet treat with ingredients like coconut or banana. In Bangladesh, pithe is served year-round, but there are a special pithe made during the harvest festivals. These tend to be made with coconut and date tree molasses. Regardless of the time of year or the recipe, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is definitely a street food you’ll want to try.

So many flavours in Bangladesh

One of the best ways to explore a new location is to enjoy its food, and street food is a great way to do that - you can get to know a neighbourhood while enjoying a yummy treat. And whether you prefer something savoury or you’d rather have something sweet, there’s certainly street food for you to enjoy in Bangladesh. So take note of your favourites and make sure to stop by and taste them while you’re off exploring the best attractions and historical places in Bangladesh.

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Nicole is an American expat living in London, England. When she moved from the midwest to London in 2012, it was her first time leaving the US. She has traveled steadily since then, making trips...Read more

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