Ghoti or Bangal? Chingri or Hilsa? East Bengal or Mohan Bagan? The fight has been endless since time immemorial. The Ghotis (people from WestBengal) and Bangals (people from East Bengal) have been at loggerheads about almost everything. The bitter sweet rivalry between the Bangals and the Ghotis is unique, and can be called funny to an extent as the nasty rivalry which existed years ago has faded into oblivion.
The Ghoti Bangal tiff has long ended and now there are even marriages between the Ghotis and the Bangals whom we lovingly call ‘bati’. However, old habits die hard and the bitter sweet rivalry still remains when it comes to food. The “bhojon roshik” (food-loving) Bangali places no other puja above pet puja and the Ghotis and the Bangals still have their own unique takes when it comes to Bengali feasting.
Bengal being the Land of Gluttons the flavor of Bengal goes far beyond the traditional “maach bhaat” (fish and rice). The Bangals and Ghotis have kept their own unique traditions alive in their own unique way.
Hilsa Vs Prawn
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This fight is real. While the Bangals can go ten extra miles for that perfect “Padma nodir ilish” (hilsa from the Padma river), the Ghotis are best known for celebrating with Golda chingri when Mohunbagan wins the match. Chingri maacher malaikari is a hit among the Ghotis while ilish maach bhapa rocks amongst the Bangals. During Saraswati Puja, it is a must for Bangals to offer “jora ilish” (two hilsas) to the goddess, while the ghotis eat vegetarian food on this day.
The Oily And Spicy Vs Light And Sweet
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The Bangals prefer it hot and spicy and oily and are known for their unending love for meat and fish. However the Ghotis prefer to keep it a little low key and are fans of shukto, which is a minimal vegetable stew made of brinjals, potato, bitter gourd, and raw banana. There is a hint of sweetness in every ghoti food.
The Fight Of The Daals
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The ultimate food fight remains alive when it comes to the preparation of daal too. While the Ghotis go for plain daal, the Bangals, living up to their thing of adding spice to everything, like daal mixed with vegetables. This difference has been bridged to a great extent now and a peace treaty now resides between the two daals. However, for the Bangals, there is a tradition to eat “Garur Dal” on the last day of ashwin month, and this contains vegetables and water lily stalk as the main ingredient.
While the Ghotis like a bit of sweetness to their food much like their nature, the Bangals will go an extra mile to make your eyes water with all that spice. Ghoti or Bangal, if you a have Kolkata in your heart, you will crave for both the delicacies of East and West Bengal for one is as delectable as the other.