The authentic taste of Porabari Chom Chom leads to Tangail
Bangladesh is a land of sweetmeats of many different tastes and flavours. Being a country that has quite an affinity for milk and dairy products, Bangladesh boasts some of the tastiest delicacies in the world when it comes to sweets, with each region of Bangladesh having its own trademark sweet.
One of the best-known sweets in the country is Pora Bari's Chom Chom from Tangail, an exquisite sweet rich in flavour and an absolute delight when being chomped on.
The item is well known throughout the country, with it being commonly featured among the go-to sweets that Bangladeshis take with them while visiting guests.
The sweetmeat has also somehow defined how a Chom Chom, one of the signature dishes to come out of the historic region of Bengal, should be. The sweet also has a lot of heritage. The tradition started about 200 years ago in the small and quaint village of Tangail named Pora Bari, which is situated right beside the river Dhaleshwari.
It is a popular legend that the rustic climate beside the river Dhaleshwari makes it an ideal place for making Chom Chom. And that's why the sweet makers believe that the sweet cannot be made to perfection in any region outside of Tangail, a myth that has remained to this day.
It is not exactly known who first initiated the making of these sweets; however, it is thought that a person named 'Dashorath' was responsible for creating this delicacy during British Rule. To this day, the 'Ghosh' and 'Pal' families of the village have been making these sweets, with the craft being passed down as a family heirloom.
At present, there are 13 sweet-making factories in total, all of which are in Pora Bari Bazar and the surrounding areas, such as Charabari Bazar and Santosh. This place is associated with Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani. Other than this, about 50 shops are selling Porabari Chom Choms in Tangail as a whole.
The main ingredients required for making these sweets are curdled milk, flour, and sugar. These ingredients are instrumental in bringing tenderness to the sweets, one of the defining features of the Porabari Chom Choms.
The Chom Choms are a bit reddish in colour, which separates them from other Chom Choms in the country, which are generally muddy brown in appearance.
About 15 kg of milk is steamed to get 'mawa,' which has an idiosyncratic taste. There is also a legend that the water from the Dhaleshwari River is used in the sweets; however, this is more likely to be among the series of myths associated with the sweets.
The village has long been a port, which explains the creation of the sweets to some extent because the village hosted several traders from ancient times. The village was also known to be a dairy hub in the past, facilitating the production of the Chom Chom; however, these heritages have been buried in the past.
As Tangail is situated near the capital, tasting the sweet meat from the original production places can be exciting for sweet lovers. To get an authentic taste, one has to visit the 'Panch Ani' bazaar, which is situated about 21 kilometres away from Tangail city. One can easily reach the sweet-making hub of 'Panch Ani' Bazar in a rickshaw after reaching Tangail City.
The city of Tangail also has a lot of decent places to stay overnight. Hence, if one wants to visit the city and spend a night to get the taste of the sweets and immerse themselves in the bewitching beauty of the Porabari village, there are many options. 'Hotel Al Faisal,' 'Bureau Hotel,' and 'Hotel Prince' are among the notable places when it comes to staying overnight in Tangail.
Porabari Chom Choms are among the intrinsic culinary heritages of Bangladesh, and the sweetmeat with such a unique taste should be preserved and propagated not only by the government but also by individuals on a private level.
However, some fraudulent businessmen tarnish the sweetmeat's name by using low-quality products; hence, people should be careful when identifying the original Porabari Chom Chom.