Hilsa season is back in West Bengal

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Kolkata, June 23 : Hilsa, considered the most sought after fish in West Bengal, continues to be popular despite steep rise in its prices.

The most sought after fish among the people of Bengal is presently selling at a price of 8.14 dollars to 9.30 dollars, but that has not deterred the people to hit restaurants to savour their favorite fish cuisines.

"Last year, Hilsa rose to 600-700 rupees then also people brought it. It is seasonal fish available two to three months, so they don't care about the money. In restaurants, the sale has gone up very high," said Hindal Basu, a connoisseur.

Most of the restaurants in the city have stacked up menus with different preparations of the fish to make the most of the season.

The only drawback with the fish is its bones, but restaurants pushing sales have come up with boneless variety to attract all types of customers.

"We have sarshey ilish bhapa (fish backed in mustard sauce), tele mashla bhaja ilish (fried Hilsa), ilish beguner jhol (Hilsa and brinjal curry), ilish macher matha diye kachu (head of Hilsa with other vegetable), ilish malai (Hilsa cooked in cream) and ilish tok (sour tasting Hilsa). Hilsa has lot of bones and to bring in people who have difficulty with bones, we have a boneless varieties also," said Abhimanyu Panda, a chief.

Fish loving Bengalis particularly swear by Hilsa from Bangladesh. The silvery Hilsa swarm into Bangladesh rivers from the Bay of Bengal between June and September, and are hugely popular.

Bangladesh exports Hilsa fish worth about five billion taka annually, mostly to India. By Ajitha Menon

ANI

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