[London] Ponchokhana: Bangladeshi food very near Whitechapel Station

Continuing my theme of seeking out food as close as possible to various train stations, I tried out Ponchokhana at 241 Whitechapel Road earlier this week. This is a small Bangladeshi cafe that opens early for breakfast (though I went for lunch) and combines freshly-cooked parathas with pre-made curries heated up on demand.

I asked for a fish-based recommendation and ended up with rui shatkora. This had plenty of flavour, the fish wasn’t overcooked, and the potatoes had soaked up the sauce nicely. With rice and (free) salad my lunch came to £7.50 for exactly the right amount of food.

Here’s a photo of the menu and here’s a photo of my lunch.

I’d go back if I needed a quick meal in the area. Anyone got any suggestions of what else would be good to try from the menu? I’m thinking sutki vorta next time.

Or any suggestions of other places worth trying that are similarly close to the station? (No dietary restrictions, though I do generally prefer fish and vegetables to meat.)

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Wow! Will definitely check this place out. I’d try the Hilsha, the dry fish curry, the quail, the lota dry fish, the boal - and some of the other fishes that I don’t recognise.

Also go to Gram Bangla and Amargoan on Brick Lane. There, get Keski Mas (like tiny whitebait curry), Shutki (dried fish), Fish Chutney (kind of dry preserve made with dried fish), Chingri Mas (small prawns, usually prepared with a vegetable), Hilsha (herring-like fish) and Quail curry. Veg wise, can’t go wrong with the Bhorta’s and Bengali Daal. God I’m craving all of this right now. I just finished a book about Calcutta and while the food is slightly different the fish names are similar and really got me thinking I need to get back down there.

Thank you! Those things all sound delicious.

I’m aware of Gram Bangla but I’m not sure it’s entirely my cup of tea — it seems to usually be full of men, and I’m a bit fed up of going in places where I get stared at for not being a man. One thing I liked about Ponchokhana was that the other customers were pretty much 50/50 men and women.

Amar Gaon is a new one to me, though, thanks! I somehow never noticed it, though Googling suggests it’s been there a while. I’ll add it to my list to try.

Amar gaon is slightly more chill and less men’s club than Gram, agreed. The guys behind the counter are a bit younger and seem to know the score.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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