- Chunilal has been making rajbhog for 30 years
- 300 pieces of rajbhog are made every day from 14 kg of chhana, which, in turn, are made from 2.5 maunds of milk
- Each rajbhog weighs over 150 grams and costs Tk35
- Many people take this renowned rajbhog to friends and family abroad
Brahmanbaria, known nationwide for its delicious chanamukhi sweets, is also renowned for Chunilal's rajbhog, which has always been cherished by sweet lovers for decades.
Due to its unique taste and quality, the fame of this mouth-watering rajbhog made of pure chhana (cheese curd) has transcended the district and spread overseas. Sweet lovers travel from far and wide to Chunilal's rajbhog, even during this coronavirus pandemic.
Sunil Mallick alias Chunilal, the proprietor of Chunilal Mistanno Bhander, has been making rajbhog in the remote Aruail Bazar of Sarail upazila of Brahmanbaria district for about 30 years.
It took Chunilal, a resident of Aruail union, five years to learn the art of making chhana rajbhog from Gourang Roy, a sweet maker in Haraniber Bazar in Nasirnagar upazila.
In 1988, he set up a tea stall in Aruail Bazar to support his financially strapped family. After selling tea and other snacks for a few years, Chunilal decided to start making rajbhog in the shop.
Chunilal's rajbhog has become very popular thanks to its unique taste and creation process. To sustain the taste, Chunilal buys local cow milk every day from the markets. The rajbhog remains fresh for three days after preparation.
Many have been inspired by Chunilal to start making rajbhog themselves, but the quality does not even come close to Chunilal's ones.
Initially, he used to make the sweets on his own, but now his son Gopal Mallick helps him. There are no other staff in the shop.
Chunilal's rajbhog is not sold by weight, but in pieces. Each sweet weighs over 150 grams and costs Tk35. Despite high demand, the father and son duo make only 300 pieces of rajbhog every day. As such, his daily sales of rajbhog amount to Tk10,500 per day, or Tk3,15,000 per month.
Chunilal said rather than increase production, he prioritizes maintaining the taste and quality of rajbhog.
Gopal Mallick said, "I have been making rajbhog with my father for about 20 years. We need 2.5 maunds of milk to make 14 kg of chhana to prepare 300 pieces of rajbhog every day."
"It costs about Tk30 to make one piece of rajbhog. Although profit margins are low, it is tremendously gratifying when people appreciate the sweets. People from different parts of the country visit my store, and many even take the sweets overseas," he added.
He said further, "99% of our rajbhog is chhana and 1% is flour. A small amount of flour is applied to make the rajbhog inflate. People enjoy eating rajbhog in our shop as we maintain a clean and hygienic space and our sweets are completely free from adulteration."
Akram Mia, a young man from Sarail Upazila Sadar who went to eat Chunilal's rajbhog, said the fame of Chunilal's rajbhog had spread far and wide, and in social media as well.
After trying it, he said, "The rajbhog is different in taste and quality than what is available in other shops."
Jabed Al Hasan, another customer said, "Chunilal makes rajbhog with great care. To the best of our knowledge, he does not use any adulterated substances, which the fame of this rajbhog has spread near and far. We also send it to friends and family overseas."
According to Piyush Kanti Acharya, president of Brahmanbaria District Citizens Forum, Chunilal's rajbhog is a heritage of Brahmanbaria.