Balijatra, the centuries-old historic trade fair which commemorates the maritime past of Odisha with South-East Asian countries, is as famous for shopping as it is for eating out. Lakhs of people throng to the millennium city of Cuttack to witness this week-long fair. While you can find almost every type of food at Balijatra, we have listed the absolute must-haves below:
This is the most famous food at Balijatra. Thunka-puri is the Big Mac equivalent of the traditional puri. It is fried in ghee or oil and is served with chenna (cottage cheese) curry. Thunka-puri is predominantly available at the centre of the fair, between the riverbed and ground.
You simply cannot miss Cuttack’s favourite food at Cuttack’s biggest event. It is available almost throughout the fair, but mainly at the centre of the riverbed side. If you want to know some of the best places to find dahibara in Cuttack city, read here.
Gupchup or Paanipuri as known in other parts of the country is equally famous here. It is also available throughout the fair. While it is available with the tangy water, some vendors also make the dry version of it in which they add masala, matar, seu and top it up with a sweet red sauce.
Alu and Papdi chats are another extremely popular street food that is available in plenty at Balijatra. You can also try the Kachori chat available with most vendors. A few famous chat vendors also put up big stalls with tables and chairs on the riverbed side. Don’t forget to ask for extra sauce.
Mutton, Chicken, Fish, Prawn or Egg wrapped in a coating of corn flour and potato and deep fried are another delicacies that shouldn’t be missed if you are a non-veg lover. Chops are available at shops before the thunka-puri stalls on the field side.
6. Roll, Chowmin & Pakodas
These are popularly coined as ‘Fast Food’ here. These joints are spread throughout the fair and some of these stalls have a place to sit and eat too. Rolls are wraps of chicken and egg with onion, spices and sauce. You can also have a ‘double egg’ or ‘double chicken’ roll which is double the quantity of each in it. Vegetable and paneer rolls are also available. Mixed Chowmin and Chicken Pakodas are also worth trying. Some of these stalls serve biryani too.
7. Sea Food
Tiger Prawns, Crabs and many varieties of river and sea fish are available on the riverbed side. You can choose pre-marinated ones and have them fried or roasted. For fish lovers, the Fisheries Department has a stall wherein you can try their amazing preparations.
When you are done with all the spicy food, you can end your evening with something sweet such as rasagolla, chena-jhilli, chena-paes, chena-gaja, chena-poda, malpua or the many other amazing desserts that Balijatra has. Ice cream and juice stalls are spread throughout too.