With the onset of winter, the roadside pitha shops in Lalmonirhat not only give people something warm and delicious to nibble on but also provide seasonal labourers a much-needed livelihood. People throng the mobile pitha (rice cake) shops located on various street corners of the town mainly in the early morning and also in the evening.
As mercury dropped in the northern district, people began relishing the mouthwatering collection of pithas available at the numerous roadside pitha shops. Visiting Lalmonirhat district town, the UNB correspondent found hundreds of pitha shops set up by low-income and poor people across the town. People in warm clothes were seen queuing to have a taste of steaming bhapa pitha, both in the morning and the evening.
The menu of the pitha shops includes mainly bhapa and chitoi pithas and costs Tk 5 per piece. Many eat the chitoi pitha with egg for Tk 15-20. Shafiqul Islam, who set up a pitha shop on the western side of Sharnamoti bridge along the Burimari highway, said since he does not have any work to do, he opens a pitha shop during winter to support his family.
Using rice flour and other ingredients, he prepares the pithas during the day at home and then starts selling those in the evening. Besides selling bhapa and chitoi pithas, he also serves boiled egg for his customers. Although the number of customers grows after late evening, he closes his shop before midnight, he said.
“Every day, I sell pithas worth Tk 5,000 to 7,000 which helps me pay my children’s tuition fees and family expenses. But, when winter will be over, I’ll start doing something else to earn money and keep myself busy,” he said. Aminur Rahman, a pitha seller of Sheikh Hasina Bridge area on Kakina-Rangpur road in Kaliganj, said he used to support his family working as a day-labourer.
“Now I don’t have any work and it’s very difficult for me to support my family. Now, I prepare pithas at home with my wife and sell those,” he said. “Taking warm pithas in the cold is really delicious. Many people with their family members come after evening to take pithas here,” said Sontosh Roy, a resident of the bridge area.