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Bombay duck

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Its name suggests some kind of fowl curry, but Bombay duck is actually a fish – to be precise, the marine lizard fish (Harpalon nehereus), known in the local dialect of Marathi as bummalo. How this long, ribbon-like sea creature acquired its English name no one is exactly sure, but the most plausible theory holds that the Raj-era culinary term derives from the Hindustani for mail train, dak. The nasty odour of the dried fish is said to have reminded the British of the less salubrious carriages of the Calcutta–Bombay dak when it pulled into VT after three days and nights on the rails, its wooden carriages covered in the stinking mould that flourished in the monsoonal humidity.

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