When I asked Ishita Saha, who hails from Bengal in India, which foods and ingredients she misses the most, she answered without hesitation – street food. “Kolkata has a thriving street food culture not limited to an enormous array of Bengali savouries and chats but also Indianised Chinese, South Indian dosas, idlies, Tibetan momos, and even shawarmas and pizzas. Practically every street in Kolkata has a sweet shop too. Each neighbourhood has its famous food stalls – and they are, as the locals say ‘world famous in Kolkata’!”
In her suitcase, she brings back local popular brands of spices or cooking ingredients that aren’t available in Dubai – for example Jharna ghee or Kashundi – a very strong pungent mustard paste. In addition, she packs mouth fresheners (like they serve in Indian restaurants at the end of the meal), traditional pots and pans, seasonal fresh vegetables and sweets!
Like me, Ishita can find most things in Dubai that she needs and goes to Adil supermarkets for spices, biscuits and instant noodles made in India. Traditional Bengali fish is readily available in Bangladeshi shops in Backet in Sharjah – frozen and pre-packed (in Thailand!) In Dubai you can find it in Mefroz in Karama and Deira fish market also sells frozen Bengali fish in the Bangladeshi shops. The parents coming from Kolkata vouch for the freshness of these products and believe they taste even fresher than back home.
[Ishita B Saha is Editor of FoodeMag dxb and blogs at www.ishitaunblogged.com. Images have been provided by Ishita.]
What about you? Are you the kind who brings fried fish and drippy sauces in your suitcase when you return from your home country? Tell us more!