Exploring the 'National Pie Festival' of Bangladesh.

avatar of @rem-steem
3 min read

Venturing into the heart of Dhaka, I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual National Pie Festival held at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) located at Segun Bagicha Rd, Dhaka. As a first-time attendee, I was eager to immerse myself in our rich cultural heritage and introduce my son to the traditions of our land.

Let me share my honest experience and introduce you to our traditional Pies.

The Venue

The entrance. It was Pie Festival 1430 in our Bangla Calender.

The main building of Bangladesh Art and Culture Academy.

Upon arriving at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) ground, I was greeted by a bustling crowd, a testament to the festival's popularity. The festival's entry gate greeted visitors with a charming display of kitchen utensils like Kula and Dala, symbolic of the tools used in crafting traditional pies.

As attendees passed through, they were met with stalls adorned with hay, a nod to our rural heritage.

Despite the bustling atmosphere within the festival grounds, the parking area and entrance remained surprisingly crowd-free, offering a seamless transition into the vibrant celebration of our culinary traditions.

The open field was adorned with traditional decor, setting the stage for a vibrant celebration of our culinary heritage. Additionally, decorative elements crafted from bamboo, colored paper, and other natural materials added to the festive ambiance.

Stalls showcasing a myriad of Pithas, or rice cakes, from across the country lined the venue, enticing visitors with their colorful displays.

Exploring the Festival

As I navigated through the festival grounds, I was captivated by the sheer diversity of Pithas on offer. From traditional favorites like Patisapta and Malpoya to innovative creations like Rosh Phuli and Ilish Pitha.

I have collected some names of our traditional Pithas from the festival. Some are Patisapta, Bhapa, Pakan, Chitai, Malpoya, Malai, Pata, Rosh Phul, Bhajapuri, Bou, Kola, Rosh Golap, Ilish Pitha, Jhinuk Pitha, Hridoy Haran, Jamai Pagal and others!

There was something to tantalize every palate. The aroma of freshly prepared Pithas filled the air, beckoning me to sample their delights.

Eager to indulge my taste buds, I decided to try the Nokshi Pitha, a beautifully designed pie that showcased the artistry of our Pitha makers. Meanwhile, my son opted for a slice of Pastry Cake, drawn to its familiar flavors.

Despite my initial intentions to sample more varieties for example the spicy Duck Curry with the thin rice cakes, the crowded seating arrangements made it challenging to explore further.

Challenges and Reflections

You will see many in our traditional wear Saree and Salwar Kamiz.

While the festival offered a delightful glimpse into our culinary traditions, I couldn't help but notice some challenges.

The crowded conditions and inflated prices detracted from the overall experience, making it difficult to fully enjoy the festivities. I would love to see more seating arrangements besides the stalls so people can enjoy their food. Also, the ground was too dusty and the pies were not properly covered as they were on display. It didn't look very hygienic to me.

However, as I reflected on my visit, I realized that I too was part of the crowd, contributing to the vibrant energy of the event.

My experience at the National Pie Festival was a mix of excitement, nostalgia, and reflection. While I reveled in the opportunity to celebrate our cultural heritage, I also recognized the need for improvements in the festival's organization and accessibility.

Nevertheless, I left the festival with a renewed appreciation for the tradition of Pitha/Pie and a desire to continue exploring the rich tapestry of Bangladeshi cuisine.