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Food & Dining in Bangladesh


Western food is available in all major hotels and most of the big restaurants in import cities. But local dishes are normally far better and more exotic. Curries of many kinds around, cooked with proper spices and hot curry powders, including korma, rezala, bhoona and masala gosht, chicken, mutton, beef, fish and prawns, Chicken Afghani, Chicken Baghdadi, Chicken Kashmiri, Chicken Tikka, boti kabab, shutli kabab and a variety of fish curries should be tried. Those who do not care for rice dishes can try Mughlai parata, plain parata or naan, which go very well with curries. Seafood and sweet-water fish are available in most of the towns. Fish-lovers should not miss smoked hilsa, fresh bhetki and chingri (lobster/king prawns) malaikari, prawn dopyaza.

Mixed vegetable curries are plentiful – potato, eggplant, squash and tomatoes are the staple ingredients. Cucumber is enormously popular and often served with onions as a little side salad.

The idea of salad varies from international standard. In Bangladesh, a few round slices of onions and cucumbers is treated as a full plate of salad.

Dal is available at pretty much anytime of the day and accompanies most meals, though it doesn't compare to its cousin in India – expect a salty dal-flavoured water with a few lentils hanging out in the bottom of the bowl.

Boiled eggs (dhim) are a popular snack (Tk 3-5), and fresh fruit is abundant, such as bananas (Tk 2), apples (chinese, Tk 80-100/kg), oranges, grapes, pomegranates and papayas. Delicious and diverse, mangos (Tk 50-150/kg) are a very popular fruit throughout Bangladesh.

Table sharing is acceptable and even expected in most establishments, with the exception of nicer city restaurants. Many places have separate curtained-off booths for women and families, a nice reprieve from prying eyes.


Dhaka has an enormous variety of food catering to all budgets. Old Dhaka is overflowing with cheap Bangladeshi food where a meal can be had from Tk 50, while in the upscale neighbourhoods like Gulshan and Banani you can find just about any type of cuisine you can imagine – Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, and franchises such as Pizza Hut, KFC are abundant – at prices that the majority can't afford. Reservations are usually not required in most restaurants.

Local sweets (misti/mishti) like rasgullah and gulab jamun are excellent. To the uninitiated these are bite-sized soft cheese balls dipped (drenched) in syrup, coming in white and red varieties. Shops throughout the town (and especially near Gulshan) sell imported condiments from the US, Dubai and Malaysia at a premium. Imported chocolate is especially expensive – and usually not in the best condition as it gets melted and re-solidified daily in the tropical heat. Fresh is better.

Be careful when buying food from street vendors as health and hygiene standards are not always up to standards. Unlike Bangkok, street food in Dhaka is only for locals. Foreigners should stick to larger, organised food outlets.

Old & Central Dhaka

Restaurants are crammed throughout the narrow alleys and along the main streets. A full meal will usually run less than a dollar, though fish will push it closer to two.

On the ground floor of the Hotel Al-Razzaque (29/1 North South Road) is a large and popular restaurant, busy anytime of the day with Bangladeshi families and businessmen. Food is good – sometimes you'll have a choice of chicken and mutton curries, fish and vegetables, other times it's chicken biryani or the highway. Fish will double the price of your meal, at least. It's sandwiched between a clean and well-stocked juice bar and a clean and well-stocked sweet shop.

Old Dhaka was famed for its lines of biryani restaurants and some of the more famous outfits are still going – Hajjee Biryani is one of them. It revels in its eccentric reputation for opening only at certain times and only cooking a certain amount.


These areas are packed with crowded trendy and upscale restaurants, a magnet for the Dhaka elite who like good food or just want to be seen in their shiny new sedans.

Bamboo Shoot is a Chinese/Thai restaurant that prides itself in offering 'authentic' cuisine, and this is backed up by the number of Chinese expatriates seen eating there on any given night.

The food at Dhanshiri (beside the Westin) is good and they serve decent local stuff. However, make sure to check prices on the menu card before ordering and examine the bill afterwards. There are better places to get Bengali food, but Dhashiri's location is especially convenient.

Heritage (House 10, Road 109, Gulshan-2) is a Mugal décor restaurant which features Bangla-fusion cuisine.

El Toro (House 1A, Road 138, Gulshan I) is a fantastic Mexican restaurant serving burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like.

Sura (near the Egyptian Embassy) is a Korean restaurant that has table-top barbecue and most popular Korean dishes are available, along with a selection of sushi and sashimi. Popular with Koreans and other expatriates.

Possibly the best coffee available in Dhaka, CoFi 11 import beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Indonesia and even Starbucks beans and offer exotic drinks like Lemogini, Shikanjee, Guava Frappe, Mango Yogurt & Mandolito. They also have espresso dipped brownies and good sandwiches. Free WiFi. They also have live musical performances on the 1st Saturday of every month & on the Wednesday of the 3rd week of the month.





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