• Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Musings

THE DESIRE OF TASTE BUDS

Humaira Mustazir
Photo: Prabir Das
Photo: Prabir Das

‘Want to have fuchka?' How many of you were licking your lips after reading this line? If it was me, my heart would leap every time I come across the word 'fuchka'. Its sharp, spicy taste tickles your tongue each time you put this delicious street food in your mouth. You get lost in the world of fuchka and all your senses are heightened.

Photo: Prabir Das
Photo: Prabir Das

The streets of Dhaka are filled with various kinds of food, each with a different look and taste. Try to visualize foods like velpuri, kababs, jhaal muri and all the other items being sold by the street vendors. Many of us are already drooling but some may have issues with hygiene. Street foods have become part of Dhaka's tradition. Some items have been there for a long time and many new are being added. But fuchka has existed from very early times. It is called by different names in different parts of southern Asia. It is the street dish that has carried the tradition of street food; proof of this is that every foreigner who visits Bangladesh will obviously try fuchka.
Now what is the element or spice that makes it so tasty? Is it the crunchy outer layer, the stuffed chotpoti inside or the sour-tasting tok pani. People have different views regarding this. A question arises as to why this dish, when made at home, is not as delicious as the street ones. Why are the unhygienic ones, made by the dirty hands of street vendors, tastier than the ones made by our mothers in an hygienic environment? I think it is the street pollution that adds an extra flavour. Sounds quite repulsive but that's what it is.

Photo: Prabir Das
Photo: Prabir Das

Nevertheless fuchka is loved by everyone, from young to old. Actually it is unlikely that anyone hates it. Nothing matters when it comes to fuchka. Shopping areas are filled with fuchka shops. If you are shopping it becomes mandatory to have fuchka. After a shopping spree when you have a plate of fuchka with a glass of lassi, it gives you taste of heavenly foods. It is the common food in all parks. Plates of fuchka are sold there in huge numbers. Within seconds they are emptied and there is more to be ordered. It is almost an impossibility that a fuchka seller will ever run out of business. If you ask someone which is the best fuchka shop in Dhaka, you will never get a definite answer. Every individual will give you a different answer. One will say this one is good another will say that one is better. The taste varies from shop to shop, each one with its own specialty. One may have the crunchiest outer layer, one may have the tastiest chotpoti inside and the other have the sweetest tok pani. No matter what, people will have it unless they have health issues.

At this point I would like to say something about chotpoti. It is at the same time a complimentary and substitute food for fuchka. Some people like to have chotpoti instead of fuchka and it is the crucial component of fuchka, upon which the taste depends. In my opinion fuchka fests should be arranged regularly and on a large scale so that people can have more of it and it becomes even more renowned. Smaller sized fuchka is available nowadays but I along with countless other fuchka lovers hope to see more new shapes and flavours in the near future.
Lastly, do not try to control yourself and your taste buds when you pass by someone having this delicious dish that makes you go crazy. Run and grab it. Feel the joy as it crumbles in your mouth. Keep eating fuchka.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2014

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