Top 12 Street Foods In Bangladesh

street food in bangladesh
| 5 min read

Bangladesh, or the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in Southeast Asia. It’s 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. For accommodation, you can book rooms in one of the 5-star hotels. There are plenty of great places to stay in Dhaka as well, the capital of Bangladesh. Coming to food, scroll down to find the top street foods in Bangladesh.

1. Jilapi (sweet fritter)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Md.Saiful Aziz Sh... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

One of the most famous sweets in Bangladesh, Jilapi, also known as jalebi in some parts of South Asia, is a popular and delectable sweet treat. This deep-fried dessert is made from a batter of all-purpose flour, yogurt, and sugar, which is then shaped into intricate coils or pretzel-like shapes before being fried to a golden crisp. Once fried, these syrup-soaked delicacies are immersed in a fragrant sugar syrup infused with cardamom, saffron, and sometimes rosewater, imparting a delightful aroma and a burst of sweetness.

Jilapi is often enjoyed as a special treat during festivals and celebrations, and even as a beloved street food. Its unique texture, with a crispy exterior and syrupy interior, makes it a favorite among those with a sweet tooth.

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2. Beguni (eggplant fritters)

Peaju and Beguni
Source: Photo by Flickr user raasiel used under CC BY 2.0

Beguni is a popular and delectable snack known for its crispy and flavorful profile. This beloved street food consists of thick slices of eggplant, often marinated in a spiced gram flour batter, and then deep-fried to golden perfection. The result is a delightful combination of crispy coating and tender eggplant flesh.

Beguni is commonly enjoyed as a tea-time snack or as a side dish during rainy seasons, and it’s a favorite item at local eateries and street food stalls across the country. Its unique texture and blend of spices, including turmeric and chili, offer a savory and satisfying flavor that is beloved by Bangladeshis.

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3. Shingara (Bengali samosa)

Singara with Sauce packs
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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4. Rumali roti (flatbread)

Rumali Roti in Afghanistan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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5. 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.

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6. Fuchka (stuffed fried dough balls)

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

Up next we have fuchka, also called panipuri. This snack food in Bangladesh 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.

Tip from tour guide

Fuchka and chotpoti are my personal favorites when it comes to street food. They’re a mixture of spicy and sour. Bangladeshi people like spicy food, so you’ll find a lot of it.

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7. Hilsha (national fish of Bangladesh)

Shoshe Ilish
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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 in Bangladeshi cuisine. 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?

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8. Chanachur (crispy snack mix)

Mixture (the Indian snack) in Chennai
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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9. Bhorta (fried mashed vegetables)

Dry Fish
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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. This traditional food in Bangladesh 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.

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10. Jhalmuri (spicy puffed rice snack)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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

Chole Bhature from Nagpur
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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12. Pithe (Bengali rice cake)

Patishapta Pithe
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons 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.

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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.

Frequently asked questions about street foods in Bangladesh

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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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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