Winter is a time when pitha stalls pop up in different areas of Dhaka city and its surrounding.
Among all deshi winter delicacies, pitha (they vary from palm-sized fritters to pancakes to dumplings) is the most popular one.
They are usually made with rice flour, coconut, and date molasses. Sometimes they are steamed or fried or soaked in syrup or milk.
Sometimes they are filled with kheer or kheersha (milk reduced to a solid consistency).
The savoury pithas usually have meat, egg or vegetable in them or they are eaten with an array of bhortas (mash or paste).
From roadside food carts to different shops, everyone is seen busy preparing and selling pithas to customers during the cold season.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, some online shops have also started selling pithas.
The Business Standard prepared a list of some of the well-known pitha shops of Dhaka:
Price: Tk20 to Tk40
Adda Prabartana, a concern of Prabartana Limited, provides authentic Bengali food in a homely ambiance, using the finest ingredients from their own farm.
Their delicious pithas include moog pakon, bhapa pitha, patishapta, chitoi pitha with bhortas, and jhal bhapa pitha.
Adda's menu also has winter special duck curry, paratha, and naan ruti among many other traditional food items.
Bhapa pitha is a classic pitha which appeals to every Bengali and Adda's bhapa pitha tastes just like the ones made by our mothers or grandmothers.
They use their own farm's date molasses in the filling which makes the pithas taste divine.
From sweet pithas to savoury items like jhal bhapa pitha or chitoi with bhortas, the quality and taste of everything here is outstanding.
We tried the chitoi pitha with three different bhortas, the shutki bhorta (dry fish paste), shorisha bhorta (mustard paste) and a spicy green chili and coriander leaves paste.
The combination of the soft chitoi with the spicy bhortas tasted absolutely delicious.
Jhal bhapa pitha is another one of Adda's bestselling items, which has a savoury filling of meat, onion, and different spices.
Patishapta pitha is also a very popular sweet dish of Adda. It is sold all year round because of its popularity. The thin crêpes are made with rice flour and sweetened with date molasses.
In addition to nice meals, Adda has a delightful traditional atmosphere suitable for family gatherings and friendly hangouts.
Located in Mohammadpur, the pitha shop is open seven days a week, from 4pm to 8pm. They also take orders for different events.
Mirpur Pitha Ghar
Price: Tk10 to Tk35
Mirpur Pitha Ghar is one of the most popular places for pitha in Mirpur area. All the pithas they serve are homemade.
Their popular pitha items include patishapta, malpoa, jhalpoa, vegetable puli (steamed or fried dumplings) and nakshi pitha. They also have lobongo lotika and moog pakon.
Using rice flour and meat, onion and special spices as filling, Mirpur Pitha Ghar serves their special puli pitha.
Their patishapta with a creamy coconut and molasses filling will melt in your mouth.
Their malpoa, a sweet, thick pancake like pitha is also a popular and best-selling item.
The fresh and homemade ingredients make their pithas unique.
Baily Pitha Ghar and Jaggery Restaurant
Price: Tk30 to Tk50
Baily Pitha Ghar is one of the best known pitha places in the city. They sell over 30 different kinds of pithas.
The spacious atmosphere is welcoming and the location is convenient for shoppers in the Baily Road area.
The restaurant's shahi malai, rosh ful pitha, puli pitha and chitoi pitha are popular among food lovers.
Shahi malai is a pitha prepped with bread and semolina and it tastes incredibly soft and sweet.
Their rosh pakon pitha, although delicious, might taste too sweet for some people.
The jhal poa that they offer tasted the best in the bunch because of its unusual savoury flavour. It is a regular poa pitha with a spicy vegetable mash filling.
The shop's best-selling item is chitoi pitha which is served with a generous amount of bhortas.
Shantinagar Pitha Ghar and Kabab
Price: Tk20 to Tk50
Located in Shantinagar, the shop is a hidden gem as it offers some interesting choices for pitha lovers. In addition to regular pithas, grilled fishes are served as sides if the customer wants.
We tasted their malpoa and patishapta. The patishapta was succulent and had a creamy filling of semolina, and the malpoa tasted sweet and spongy.
Then we tasted a unique dish with grilled seafood and specially prepared chitoi pitha which blew our minds.
Although the special chitoi felt a bit too chewy, coupled with the grilled fish it tasted superb. Added bhortas only fueled the aroma and flavour of the dish.
Price: Tk15 to Tk80
Bahari Pitha, an online store based in Mirpur, is run by Irin Chowdhury. They are famous for their nakshi pitha and narkel naru (coconut and jaggery balls).
Since 2013, Bahari Pitha has been selling a range of pithas, including moog pakon, jhinuk pitha and lobongo lotika.
They have a total of 47 different pithas including the exclusive Hilsha pitha (has a savoury hilsha filling).
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are also many sweet shops like Mithai, Bikrampur Mistanna Bhandar and Rosh which sell pithas.
Moreover, super shops like Shwapno, Meena Bazar and Agora also sell readymade pitha boxes in winter.