During our Foodka shoot in Bangladesh, we visited Cox’s Bazar- the pride of Bangladesh- the longest seabeach in Asia. Now, it was a day trip and as and when I visit again, this blog will be updated. This time, we went there by the morning flight and came back by the evening flight. this blogpost is on that very very short trip.
Cox’s Bazar, is not the original name of this area, which is under greater Chittagong area. Till the Moghul invasion in 1666, it was under the rulership of the Arakan kings. The folklore says, when nawab shah Suza was passing through this area, towards Arakan valley, he had the majestic fleet of 1000 palanquins with him. Nawab liked the area so much, that he took rest here for some time. A place named Dulahazara, meaning “one thousand palanquins,” still exists in the area. Now, while the British came, there was this gentleman named Hiram Cox, who was in charge of this outpost and like many things, changed the name of the place- to Cox’s Bazar. And thus the name.
Few important points while visiting Cox’s Bazar from Dhaka
- Cox’s Bazar is 415 km from Dhaka town
- It takes approximately 9 hours via road and 40 min by flight
- From airport, the sea beach or the main area (Inani Beach) is quite far, but the road is pretty good
Cox’s Bazar fish market is one off the biggest fish market in that are and for any food enthusiast, is a must visit. Even for somebody who is a street photography enthusiast, you get really good stuff there… Do check it out.
Sea Pearl Hotel, Cox’s Bazar
We had a day stay at the Sea Pearl Hotel Cox’s Bazar and it is a grand property. It has a huge sea-facing frontage and is truly a huge property. The property has 2 swimming pools, 4 restaurants and coffee shops. Most of the rooms are of a premium category and average rate per night is 10,000 BDT++. We met our friend youtuber couple BD Travellers and it was a good reunion. Honestly, I have not clicked much pictures in the hotel. So, you may like to check the Foodka Cox’s Bazar episode here.
But this blogpost is not about Sea Pearl Hotel. In fact, we didn’t stay there overnight. But the place where we spent most of our time, is something for which great things should be written about. It’s Palonki restaurant at Inani beach, Cox’s Bazar. Remember the story of 1000 palanquins of nawab Suja? Palanquins means Palki- literally and we were told that this restaurant is named after that incident. It’s a beachfront restaurant with pretty premium interior and a huge huge seafood spread.
While you enter, there is a beautifully done open air zone, which is very much in demand during the evening sunset and dinner. And on the extreme right, is the huge live seafood grill, with good varieties of seafood getting themselves grilled for us humans to savour. Of course, there is a huge AC interior done. Do check in and allow yourself to relax.
Starters at Palonki
They have some pretty interesting starters at Palonki restaurant, Cox’s Bazar. And no, I am not talking about the various types of Seafood grilled. the first one is Loitta fish, commonly known as Bombay duck and is pretty popular in the West Coast of India (commonly known as Bombil). Now, loitta is a super soft fish- which is enjoyed in both fresh and dried form. It’s priced at around 70-150/- a kg at Cox’s Bazar in fresh form, but the price is increased substantially when it’s dried. The reason is quite obvious- weight gets reduced. But, please note, loitta fish has no backbone and thus is very very soft. Please note, fresh loitta is available only at Cox’s Bazaar and very rarely at Dhaka.
As the GetBengal article says, the soft Loitta has a mythological story associated with its evolution. Legends say that when Lord Rama was building a bridge to Lanka, he sought the help of all the fishes in the sea. With the exception of Bombill all of them obliged. Lord Rama was angered at such an errant behaviour and he threw them into the seas near Bombay but not before crushing it in his palms. This physical torture crushed all its bones and it lives devoid of a backbone for ever. Govind Narayan in his autobiography, – ‘Govind Narayan’s Mumbai: An Urban Biography from 1863’ narrated the story.
After the crumb fried loitta, next was the seafood phuchka. The phuchka casing is quite normal- made with regular semolina. But the stuffing is made with mashed potato , some seafish, boiled squid, with spices and chopped onion and coriander leaves. The dip was similar to a momo sauce, but tasted good.
For a detailed description of the various main course at Palonki, please check the Foodka video here (especially 13:30 onwards)…
But the real interesting stuff, apart from the various fish and seafish, is the wild cock. It’s only available in the hillside area of Bangladesh and is quote popular in Cox’s Bazar. The meat is devoid of any fat and is quite fibrous. The prawn malai curry was average and can be avoided easily. The Laksa fish is to be tasted, if you can afford- as it’s around 3000-4000/- per kg. They have a huge bhorta spread and is recommended. Do take your time and enjoy the spread.
Palonki is a definite go-to place for seafood lovers and if you have some time in hand. A lazy evening, or dinner can be the highlight of your Cox’s Bazar trip. I am not saying, it’s cheap- no. But it’s worth the amount you spend.
I am sure, I’ve missed some of the good restaurants in Cox’s Bazar. As and when I go there next time, this post will be updated.
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