During our Kolkata food tour, our quest to understand the Bengali way of life a little more closely through its food, cultural anecdotes and references led us to the warm, genial and amusing company of a wonderful Bengali couple who were clearly ardent foodies. Restaurateurs Piyali and Sunando Banerjee, have translated their passion into profession through their culinary venture named Hanglaatherium. So brace yourselves for some amazing insights, great company, endearing interaction and of course some delicious food. The agenda for the day was to visit to a local market to learn about the Bengali cuisine essentials and to try a usual Bengali meal. Hence we started with a visit to the Gariahat fish and vegetable market. It is one of the city’s oldest and biggest market. Fish is the star element of the rich and vibrant Bengali cuisine. It is an indispensable part of the daily meal and such is the craze that more than one preparation graces the average Bengali lunch platter. Their cogent love for fish gets reflected in the busy and the chaotic scene at a fish market where their enthusiasm peaks as they select the best catch for the day. As we stepped inside the walled precincts of the Gariahat Fish market with our host Piyali, a regular visitor to this place, we were thrilled by the sight and smell of the mind boggling variety of live fishes. Piyali walked us through the common spices that preferred for daily cooking. There were Rui, Katla, Pomfret, Bhetki, Tryangra, Illish, Magur and many more. Piyali’s deep knowledge about the nitty gritties of the cuisine and her enthusiasm to acquaint us with the same made us fall in love with the experience. As we made our way through the sea of fishes, we got enlightened about their uses and benefits. Apart from getting familiar with the identities of the fishes, we also came to know about some socio cultural contexts involving these fishes. For example we learnt how the rui or katla fish is a mean of cementing the ties between the bride and the grooms family. In due course of the conversation we also came to know about the two categories of Bengalis, i.e the Ghotis and the Bangals, their prolonged underlying rivalry that has spilled even onto the football fields and their different culinary preferences in spite of having the common ingredients landscape being the same. From fish section we went to the vegetable section to learn about the favourite picks of the people of Bengal. We came to know that the Bengalis are equally fond of vegetables and the cuisine has iconic range of vegetarian delicacies too. Piyali showed us some of the usual fares like Pumpkin, it’s flower, plantain stem and blossom and some of the unusual yet coveted fares like maan kochu, different kinds of leafy greens vegetables etc. After that insightful market visit it was time to head to her home to taste a basic breakfast fare of luchi, sada aloor tarkari, begun bhaja and rosogolla. But before that Piyali’s spouse Sunando took us to a nearby crowded eatery selling an interesting thing called Patai Porota. As the name suggested, it was a flatbread that had borne the brunt of ruthless palm beating. The resultant fluffy and flaky mass is eaten with yellow pea curry or some sweet stuff. It was tasty but not outstanding. On reaching their home we were joined by one of their close friends Avijit dada. All the walking had made us quite hungry. Piyali quickly whipped up the sada aloor tarkari using just three to four ingredients. Sunando fried the luchi and soon the table was set for the meal and a hearty conversation. The subtle and soulful meal was accompanied by an amusing conversation about some of the quintessential traits and idiosyncrasies of the Bengali people. So there were the references to Borolin antiseptic cream, Dim paruti, Sunlight detergent bar, Horlicks health drinks. We are so grateful for this endearing encounter full of food and cultural connotations.