South Asia

Indian PM: Hilsa may make 'me break vegetarian vow'

Hilsa
Image caption Hilsa is the most popular fish of the Bengali community

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he is willing to break his "vegetarian vow" if hilsa fish is served to him during his trip to Bangladesh.

Mr Singh has arrived in Bangladesh on a two-day official visit.

Hilsa, a South Asian version of the shad, is a Bengali delicacy and one of the favourite dishes of the community.

Though available in Indian markets, the tastiest varieties have always come from the rivers of Bangladesh.

In an interview with the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) news agency, Mr Singh was told that Bangladesh would like to offer him the hilsa fish even though he was a vegetarian.

"I am willing to break my vegetarian vow because I have heard about the delicious dish of hilsa fish. So, I am willing to make that exception," he said.

Much of the hilsa sold in Indian markets is imported from Bangladesh - presently, it is selling for as much as 1000 rupees ($21; £13.5) a kg in the market.

Hilsa can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked in young plantain leaves and prepared with mustard and curd, among other things.

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