The rich and verdant land brings forth vegetables that are
lush and fruits that brim over with beneficial properties and, therefore,
form a large part of Orissan diet. Rice drawn from the emerald paddy
fields in sun-drenched valleys finds its way to the table - sweet smelling
and delicious. Due to the religious leanings of the State meat consumption
is relatively low, though most hotels and restaurants have it on their
What is rich and plentiful is the diverse selection of seafood, with crabs, prawns and lobsters steeped in the ever-present ingredients of - Orissan cuisine - curd (yoghurt) and coconut milk. The curd here is rich and creamy and gives the succulent flesh an additional flavour. It is not only the seafood which is traditionally cooked in curd and coconut milk but also yams, brinjals and pumpkins are liberally used in curd with mustard seeds giving the whole preparation that extra zing.
Small cakes, or 'pithas', which are both sweet and savoury, are extremely popular in Orissa. Chhenapodapitha, the caramelised custard-like dessert is popular not only with the locals but also with the tourists.
The Traditional Mahaprasad
Another traditional must is the tasting of the 'Mahaprasad' or the sacred food offered as 'Bhog' to Lord Jagannatha or Jagannath. Available at the Anand Bazar of the Jagannatha Temple, one can procure it quite easily. The temple kitchen is believed to be the largest kitchen in the world. Created on a cooking facility, which is highly efficient despite its age, 400 'Supkars' (cooks) work around 200 hearths daily to feed over 10,000 people.