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Staff Repoter
Rtnn: Fuchka carts parked in neighbourhood alleys or in front of city parks and lakes are something synonymous with Dhaka. The concoction of spicy, flavourful fuchka-chotpoti on a plate is a palate teaser undoubtedly, and we all have our favourite fuchka places. Chotpoti-fuchka cart at Fusion Café in Gulshan, the fuchka shops of Pink City and Shimanto Square, and the corner snack bar at Chadni Chawk are some of the all-time favourites.

Amid stiff competition from vendors selling kebabs, burgers, chow mein and other snacks (all with their local twists) the age-old menu comprising solely of fuchka-chotpoti is gone forever.

The tok or sour tamarind water has always been one of the fuchka wallah's best-kept secrets and that is primarily what differentiates each vendor's recipe from his competitors. Recently, the fuchka wallahs have decided to be innovative and started to add variation to their time-tested recipe. So, the sour water has been meddled with and some are now serving sweetened tamarind water instead. 

For many, it has ruined the hot and spicy fuchka kick altogether, while others hail this innovation in the local street food scene. 

Some carts now have a curated menu for tamarind water choices, mint and yoghurt to name a few. The tok made with the popular Naga morich (Naga Viper pepper) is also a new addition. Certainly not for the faint-hearted, this extremely hot concoction has taken the fuchka-chotpoti experience to another level. There is a particular corner in food street Bailey Road, where a young man has popularised his many additions to the sour list. The popularity of the fuchka cart depends on this sour water variation now.

Chotpoti-fuchka carts are also offering doi fuchka, which was never a thing in the long history of Dhaka's street food scene. Not exactly a café recipe but they have managed a clotted version of fuchka in yoghurt in the carts. Doi fuchka is made with chilled yoghurt and tamarind pulp, it has always been a special offer in the cafes but never on the streets. Roll Express almost has a cult following for its doi fuchka.

Panipuri, also not a common item in the street food scene until now, is a Kolkata version of our fuchka. It is also called golgappa and a single piece is served on a small cup made out of dried jackfruit leaves, where the fuchka is found swimming in the tamarind water. It is meant to be eaten in one gulp and is topped up by the seller as many times as you want.

Last year, fuchka marked its place in the world culinary map as it made its way to the list of "50 of the best street foods in Asia" by CNN. The changes that we have seen in the local, street food scene only hint at the many changes that are yet to come. Undoubtedly, the fuchka will go through additions and subtractions to its menu. However, one thing is for certain, it has a place cemented in our palates.