Bangla Mishti Hub: For the Best of Bengal’s Sweets

Bengal and sweets go hand in hand. When we talk to our non-Bengali friends, one of the main topics that arise apart from the decadency of the state is definitely its sweets. We Probasi Bengalis often find solace in proclaiming that our mishti is the best in India, and that is corroborated by all or sundry. Often, when some of our non-Bengali friends visit Kolkata, they ask for names of iconic sweet shops in the city, and believe me there are lots of them. If someone wants to cover them, they have to possibly crisscross the city a few times. But no longer. The Bangla Mishti Hub at Rajarhat is a useful step in the direction where Bengali sweets from many a top brands can be tasted under the same roof. 

Bangla Mishti Hub promoted by HIDCO, a Government of West Bengal corporation, is located just off Gate no 3 of Eco Park in New Town Rajarhat, not too far from the famed Biswa Bangla gate. The place was started in 2017. As you enter you can’t help but locate a stall of Biswa Bangla selling various products from all over Bengal. Your first thought is whether this is a place promoting sweets in isolation or other products too.

It is good to note that Biswa Bangla stall is the only aberration, the rest of the shops, or rather stalls in a huge hallway are all from Bengali sweet vendors. In fact, there are close to a dozen different stalls of sweets here. Of these, Nabakrishna Guin was closed for the day. And I was a little surprised to see Haldiram’s as they are not traditionally not known for their Bengali sweets. However, the stalls did have many delicacies of Bengal. 

Our first stop was at Bheem Nag’s Brother Srinath Nag. Well, this is not the famed Bhim Chandra Nag, a 200-year place in Bowbazar which is world famous for its sandesh. I was told that this place had a lineage from his brother’s family. I however do care more for the taste of the sweets. The Kheer Kadamba here was just super, and the Sharbhaja (a milk cream-based sweet from Krishnanagar in Nadia district) also acquitted itself well.

I am from Golpark, and was happy to see my friendly neighbourhood Ganguram here. But I do consume their Mishti Doi and Radhaballavi frequently at home, so decided to pass it for today, given my limited capacity. But my wife still went for their Baked Sandesh. Noticed that Ganguram, and many other outlets were selling tinned and packed sweets so that people can do their purchases in very little time. As Mishti Hub is not too far from the Kolkata Airport, many people flying out collect a few delicacies en route their flight to other cities.

Nalin Chandra Das is another iconic sweet joint in North Kolkata that is more than 150 years old. Again a sandesh specialist, had on display about ten types of Nolen Gurer Sandesh, as well as contemporary stuff like Chocolate Sandesh, Rose Sandesh, and Black Currant Sandesh. Their Rasogollas were the largest among all displayed.

Hindusthan Sweets is a more contemporary name in Bengali sweets. They are also into the restaurant space with their brand “Bhooter Raja Dilo Bar”, and the management is known for its savvy marketing. Their Am Doi and traditional Rasogollas are things that I love, but on this day we tried a plate of Mihidana, a micro-sized sweet from Bardhaman (the closest cousin it has in Bonde or Boondi, though there is a huge difference in taste). The Mihidana was well made. 

Gupta Brothers, known more for their chaats and non-Bengali sweets had some random sweets and were even selling Pringles potato chips! Was tempted by their Kachori-sabji, but decided to give it a pass. K.C.Das the originator of rasogolla was in full cry serving a range of delicacies. Recently I have become a fan of their savouries too like Radhaballavi Cholar Dal, Chhanar Chop. They have their signature creations such as Lalmohan and Rasamalancha which are not to be missed. 

Mithai was distinct in offering huge-sized sandeshes, a couple of them proudly adorning their counter, weighing more than 500 grams. Of course, they are so well-known for their Mishti Doi as well.

Balaram Mallik and Radharaman Mallik perhaps has the most corporate model among all the sweet chains in Kolkata, with outlets in almost every locality. Apart from other delicacies they are known for their Baked Rasogollas, which are in high demand. Banchharam is another famous shop making its presence felt here, their lyangcha in my mind is even better than Saktigarh, the original town known for this delicacy. Their Bengali home sweets such as patisaptas and pithes are also in great demand. 

All over the hub, there are boards giving information about the various sweets of the state, enriching your knowledge as you savour the sweets. For food connoisseurs, these informations come very handy.

One aspect which I missed was the representation of sweets from different districts of Bengal in a big way. On quizzing the various stalls, I was told that the district special stalls are sometimes given space during special occasions like Durga Puja, but usually, the stalls are restricted to the Kolkata biggies. Each Bengal district has its signature sweets, so there is scope to even plan a district mithai hub, either here or somewhere else to popularize and promote them.

The other issue was the facility lacked a toilet, the only option for relieving yourself is to walk down to the nearest place inside Eco Park. Maybe the authorities can look at building a public toilet either on or around the premises. 

All that said, Bangla Mishti Hub is definitely a great idea well-executed. For the uninitiated, it can give a holistic idea about Bengali sweets in a very short time. 

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