With the advent of winter, sales of traditional pithas have boomed as roadside shops in the capital and elsewhere in the country are crowded with customers.
As the making of winter pithas at home is declining, footpath shops have become the first choice for many for easy availability of the items.Like the every winter, sales of the delicious pithas (cakes) like ‘bhapa’ and ‘chitoi’ have begun at many roadside shops in the capital city.
The seasonal pitha business brings smiles to the many vendors as they set up makeshift shops at the roadside or other open space to earn some extra money taking the advantage of the winter.
Sales of winter pithas usually start in the afternoon and continue till late night as people of all ages are crowding roadside shops in different places of the city.
During a spot visit to a pitha shop at Marul Badda on Wednesday, it was seen that a young-aged man was preparing scrumptious Bhapa on the roadside while pedestrians were having the delicious food items.
A pitha-maker, Rubel Hossain, who came from Dewanganj in Jamalpur, said, “I sell a pitha at Tk 5 to Tk 15 as per size and quality.”
The vendor who sells vegetables in Badda in other seasons said, “Pitha sales are a good business in winter.”He said, “I sell pithas worth Tk 1500-2000 every day and my profit is around Tk 700-800.”
Aktar Zaman, a customer of the shop, said, “I become nostalgic whenever I get pitha on footpath in winter. It takes me back to my childhood. We used to gather round the fire and chatted for hours.”
“Earlier, people used to go to their houses of father-in-law to eat pithas in winter but now many people is crowding to pitha shops,” he added.
Another seasonal pitha vendor in Tejgaon area said he sells winter pithas worth Tk 1500 every evening and his profit around Tk 500.
But, the vendor said, “It is a good business in winter but the profits from pitha sales are poor now compared to the previous years for the rising prices of the essential materials.”
Like the two vendors, many have turned into seasonal yummy pitha sellers.
Vendors said they usually sell two most popular items—‘bhapa’ and ‘chitoi’. Bhapa is a steamed flour sweetened with jaggery and desiccated coconut while chitoi a runny mixture made with flour and salt and then cooked on iron cooking pots to be eaten with mustard paste or chilli chutney.
Meat, eggs and vegetables are also used in preparing some pithas such as vegetable pitha, jhal patishapta and mangsha (meat) patishapta.
The commercially made pithas are gradually replacing home-made ones and many large food shops and restaurants now also sell traditional pithas.
Every winter only a few items like bhapa or chitoi are available on the footpath. For more varieties, a trip to the restaurants and fast food shops is a must.
Winter pithas like dudh chitoi, dudh puli, jhal bou, calcutta puli, kheer puli, narkel puli, chandra puli, chitoi, jamai pitha, jhal jamai pitha, kola bora, patishapta, malpoa, bhapa pitha, bhapa puli, shahi puli, phool pakon, nokshi pitha, surjomukhi, chicken pitha, jhal chingri pitha and vapa are sold at some restaurants in the capital at prices as low as Tk 5 per piece and up to Tk 500 per kg.
Many said now the winter here is duly celebrated with the obvious relish of tasty pithas making a shop ‘a place of social gathering’. Pitha is not a mere delicacy but a traditional culture that makes the season enjoyable.