A Lot of Fish and Some Vegetables at Chittaranjan Park Market (Delhi, March 2022)

I have been in Delhi for just over a week now (and will be here for just under another week). If you’ve been following my gluttony on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been eating rather a lot. Well, I suppose that wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog, even if you don’t follow me on Twitter. Most of my meals have been eaten at home and many of them feature a genre not easily replicable in the US: Bengali fish dishes. Yes, Bengali fish (mostly from Bangladesh) can be found frozen in desi stores but I stopped buying them a long time ago over concerns about sustainability etc. When in Delhi though I partake freely. Now, you may be wondering how I partake freely of Bengali fish in Delhi but you shouldn’t. There’s been a large Bengali population in the city for a long time (part of the larger Bengali diaspora). Bengalis are spread over the city but it is the neighbourhood of Chittaranjan Park in South Delhi that is the most iconic locus of Bengali life in the city. And it is in the Chittaranjan Park market that the best Bengali fish can be found. Or so my mother insists, anyway, having shopped here for several decades. Today I accompanied her to the market to buy some fish. We also bought some veg. Here is the pictorial evidence.

There are actually two C.R. Park markets and both have fish sections. We went to Market No. 1, not just because it’s larger but because it’s where my mother’s preferred fishmonger is located: Dulal’s Fish Shop. Dulal himself is no longer at the market (though hopefully he’s still with us) but the fish is as good as ever. I’m sure all the other vendors are very good too but loyalty is all. As you’ll see this fish market is very different from the one in Goa I reported on about two years ago. For one thing, the Assolna fish market was larger and more informally laid out outdoors. For another, if in Goa the fishmongers were all women, here they are all men. And the selection too is very different: the focus here is primarily on the fish Bengalis prize over all else. Which is to say, on a lot of fish: Bengalis are major fish eaters.

I have noted the Bengali names of most of the fish pictured in the captions in the slideshow. If you need English names this Wikipedia page is a very good resource. After buying a lot more fish than can conceivably eaten in the next four days, we also bought a little bit of veg, including the Bengali gondhoraj lebu/lime and a Bengali variant of lau/lauki/bottle gourd that neither my mother nor I had seen before.

Launch the slideshow for a walk through the market and let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Well, I doubt I’ll be visiting any more markets on this trip but I look forward to eating most of our haul from today. My remaining Delhi reports will be of restaurant meals. Those will start on Tuesday.


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