Between 2012 and 2013, I spent a few months in Chittagong at my parent’s house.
Chittagong is the southernmost port city in Bangladesh, and whilst it is on its way to becoming a hub for expatriates in modern times, historically, the city has begun to serve more as a gateway to the more popular tourist destination Cox’s Bazaar.
As someone who has experienced the city growing up and begin to tower over the largely wooded areas that served as peaceful refuges whilst growing up, it came as a shock to realize that between 2005 and 2012, the city underwent a rapid transformation in the amount of building construction.
Regardless, and as is common with tropical paradises, Chittagong delivers a wonderful medley of fresh fruits and foods that can either only be found in the tropics, with their focus on spicy dishes, or they pair well with not so traditional food items, as I began to observe during several months of fusion inspired dishes.
The exercise in doing thus created a passion for fusion medleys, and also in looking at basic means of sustaining multitude, through consuming pomegranates rich in antioxidants, alongside fish, which provide great brain food.
Hence, here are 10 tropical delights that highlight the wonderful world of living in tropical havens..
1. Fried eggs, sauteed mushrooms, guava slices and parathas with gouda cheese. I’m not kidding, it works.
2. Dried fish with chili and poached eggs.
3. Passion fruit with sugar, salt, and chili flakes (thanks to a visiting cousin, I was able to try this. It brought back memories of a time when my grandfather planted the fruits, before they were destroyed by the hurricane of 1991. I reckon these should be brought back on a wider scale, obviously).
4. Fresh basil and dried red chili bhorta (or salad. bhortas are a mix of fresh vegetables and spices, and eaten as condiments to South Asian meals).
5. Grilled whole tilapia with toasted garlic flakes.
6. Baby mango and baby papaya salad.
7. Fresh papaya and pomegranates.
8. Freshly brewed freshly harvested salty tea in the early autumn months.
9. Guavas, possibly the best fruit to come out of the tropics.
10. Jackfruits. Not for the faint-hearted, jackfruits are a fleshy yellow fruit best consumed with ample preparation taken with oil, to prevent the fruit from sticking on one’s hands. Regardless, it provides a tasty snack, and its seeds can be the much needed accessory to a fun curry.