Cox’s Bazar is undoubtedly one of the top vacation places in Bangladesh. The spellbinding scenic beauty of the crushing waves in this magnificent beach appeals to many travelers every year. Thousands of tourists flock to the coastal region year-round making it a central tourist hub in its own right. But as the saying goes – Cox’s Bazar isn’t just for the eyes but for its feasts too. There are a few delectable and must-try local cuisines exclusive to the coastal region. Here’s a checklist for what foods to try in Cox’s Bazar during your next trip down there.
Must-Try Food Items in Cox’s Bazar
Cox’s Bazar is a coastal city. Needless to say, it is heavy on seafood. Most of the items in this list will focus on different seafood items. Fresh and abundant seafood has shaped the food culture of this region in a unique way. And that is as much an attraction as the seemingly endless beaches.
Want to try fresh crabs? Downtown Cox’s Bazar should be the go-to location. Virtually every eatery here has a crab dish. Try the spicy crab item as it’s more authentic to the Bengali taste. In this dish, whole crabs are covered in spice mixes and are either slow-cooked or grilled to perfection. Depending on the restaurant the name should be different. But a quick look at the pictures in the menu should point it out. Be sure to check out Salt Bistro and Café for some authentic spicy crab.
The Bombay duck isn’t actually a duck. Rather it’s the genealogical English name for a very popular local fish, the Loitta. Its soft and meaty texture has made this sea fish a cult dish in Cox’s Bazar. And the city’s Poushi Restaurant has made it a staple try for any tourist coming here. Cubed Loitta fish is marinated in a mix of local spices and fried with onion. This simple is guaranteed to leave a lingering taste for a long time.
Rupchanda is a completely exclusive sea fish. As a result, Cox’s Bazar is the best place to try fresh Rupchanda. From curry to fry to grilled, the seemingly endless combination of Rupchanda delicacies is sure to flatter many. The most famous and unique way to try Rupchanda would be to try it grilled or fried.
The fry option is similar to Loitta where marinated Rupchanda is deep-fried in onion. The grilled option is usually chargrilled with a generous portion of spices and BBQ sauce. It is impossible to go wrong with either of these.
The Asian seabass is another must-try item in the area. It is also an exclusive sea fish that is freshly available in Cox’s Bazar. The sea bass or Bhetki as it is locally known, is prepared in a different way than traditional fish curry. The fish, marinated in spices with a generous dressing or mustard is covered with banana leaf and steamed for long hours. The result is an aromatic dish that will definitely fill the senses. The Bhetki Paturi tastes best with plain rice. Some prefer to try it with paratha as well.
Bhorta is almost as staple as rice and lentil in Bengali Cuisines. What sets the Bhortas of Cox’s Bazar apart is the sheer choice and different ingredients. Most traditional bhortas frequent tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplants. But the Bhortas of Cox’s Bazar feature different types of fish.
Special mention should be given to the Chuuri fish Bhorta. What’s surprising is that many restaurants even serve chicken Bhorta which is unheard of in Dhaka. In addition to being unique and tasty, Bhortas are also cheap with most items ranging from 50 to 70 BDT.
The list won’t be complete without Ilish and all sorts of different items made from it. Ilish is not an exclusive item of Cox’s Bazar. However, it made its way to the local delicacy thanks to its overarching demand. Just like other fish items, Cox’s Bazar has all sorts of different Ilish cuisines. From the traditional Ilish bhaja to Shorshe Ilish, the restaurants here almost specialize in Ilish delicacies. In addition to the common preps, there is also Ilish Paturi and Ilish Bhortas to try as a new experience. But beware of the bones though.
Pahari Morog Jhal Fry
Let us move on to something else other than seafood. The Pahari Morog is a unique delicacy of the coastal region, specifically the Cox’s Bazar area. These roosters come from the hills of Bandarban and Khagrachari.
The locally bred roosters have a different and subtle taste compared to the Deshi or broiler chicken found in the city areas. The Jhal fry item, a spicy chicken curry, has also become quite famous in recent years. If the fish items become tiring, there is always good old chicken curry to savor the taste buds.
Shrimp and Lobster
Finishing off the list with shrimp and lobsters as Cox’s Bazar is the best place to get fresh and large-sized lobsters. Virtually every restaurant here serves some form of shrimp dish. The most notable ones are shrimp fry, grilled lobsters, and Prawn Malaikari. Malaikari is one of the fan favorites here. It’s a slow-cooked prawn dish combined with oriental spices, cream, and sour curd. And if that wasn’t enough, there is Shrimp Bhorta too. These are the perfect go-to items with smoking hot plain rice.
One thing to note is that the prices of the grilled lobsters vary significantly from restaurant to restaurant. Some tourist trap restaurants will charge several times more than the actual price of the dish. It is important to check out a few before settling in one.
Cox’s Bazar with all its glory still remains as the top tourist destination of Bangladesh. It is a notable destination not just for local travelers but for international tourists as well. The place has a rich food culture with a huge emphasis on seafood items. It is sure to be a great experience for seafood lovers or any foodie in general.
Source: United News of Bangladesh