Since times immemorial, the land of Sambalpur is inhabited by tribal and folk communities. With Maa Samalei’s blessings, the people of Sambalpur have been promoting the vivid culture of Sambalpur all over the world with immense pride. Be it the beautiful sarees of Sambalpur or the music that’s enough to make you tap your feet, Sambalpuri culture hasn’t taken a step back from being in the limelight. But are we missing something? The food of Sambalpur is just like the other traits of its culture- vibrant, joyous, and drool-worthy. We have curated a list of 5 delicious traditional Sambalpuri dishes that you need to try when in Western Odisha. 

Chaul bara-tentel jhol

Bite-size rice fritters served with tamarind chutney, chaul bara is the most famous street snack of Western Odisha. With a crispy crust and soft interior, chaul bara is every Sambalpur’s go-to evening snack. Served with a sour, pungent tamarind chutney which has a lighter consistency than that of a chutney, chaul bara is served with chopped onions on top in a pattal.


An authentic Western Odisha dish, Ambila is a tangy curry made with an assortment of vegetables. The gravy is usually made with curd with a panch phoran tempering. Packed with fiber, ambila is a perfect side dish for rice and pakhala bhata. 

Jhuri bhaja

We don’t think any non-veg lover should shy away from trying this incredibly moreish dish made with small fish. A mustard-based dish, Jhuri bhaja is a fish stir-fry with a tempering of panch phoran and curry leaves.


If we tell you that this dessert is made from the twigs of the Ganjer tree, we know you will have a hard time believing us. But trust us, Sarsatia is a mildly sweet dessert made with the twigs of the tree and has an almost melt-in-mouth texture. However, due to depleting vegetation, the dish is going extinct soon. So, go and grab your plate of Sarsatia as soon as possible.

Hendua patalghanta chutchuta

Made with mashed tomato, potato, grilled okra and dried bamboo shoots, Hendua patalghanta chutchuta has a tangy and pungent flavour profile. A perfect accompaniment of pakhala bhata, this dish is every Sambalpuri’s favourite during summers. 

With Sambalpuri Day around the corner, we couldn’t afford to miss the vibrant culinary culture of the land of Sambalpur. Highly symbolic of the culture and heritage of native Western Odisha, Sambalpuri food is usually rustic, moreish and pungent in flavour. Don’t wait anymore, plan your trip to Western Odisha and relish these dishes.