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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Bangladesh formerly E. Pakistan, is a largely Muslim country which corresponds roughly to E. Bengal (W. Bengal being largely Hindu and part of India). The geography of Bangladesh is therefore dominated by the great rivers which flow into the Bay of Bengal (and are apt to create floods during the monsoon season) and by the enormous alluvial delta which they have created. The climate is subtropical. Population density is remarkably high.

Fish and rice are the staples. Well-known fish include the hilsa, Tenualosa ilisha, a shad and therefore full of small bones; and the bekti/bhekti/begti (etc.), which is Lates calcarifer, the giant sea perch which is one of the best fishes in the Indo-Pacific and well known in Australia as barramundi. Rice is considered to be a food of higher status than bread, so when rice is served there will not be bread. However, many breads, mostly corresponding to the range available in India, are made. An example is provided by luchi, a kind of fried bread like the northern Indian pooris. Stuffed, e.g. with green peas, these become kachori.