Tag Archives: restuarants

…my Dhaka Facebook

We’re nearing the final stretch of our time in Dhaka, and I realized that there are quite a few proto-posts festering in my mental queue. I hope I can get some of them out here before we go, but as you know, I’m not a very dedicated blogger. 🙂

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What follows is a list of the “likes” I’ve make on Dhaka-related Facebook pages.

When we first arrived here, one of our first questions to the kind sponsor who picked us up at the airport was, “Where do people go out to eat?” His response was brief. In his view, there were 2-3 places to go. Once we’d tried the food at those places, we were complete disheartened, and rarely ventured out to eat ever again. Thankfully, Dhaka is not the dreary food town it was even 2 years ago, and there are many more options. One indication of this is my first Facebook recommendation: Dhaka Foodies. The young urban class of Dhaka is all about mobile internet, and on this site, they review the restaurants, cafes and bakeries of the whole city. Luckily, the diplomatic enclave is one of the restaurant hotspots, so you’re sure to find something nearby on their page. It’s not as searchable as a Dhaka-Yelp would be, but it’s VERY active.

Your Bangla Tour helped me set up a tour of Old Dhaka and included a visit to an authentic local household as part of the trip. If I hadn’t needed to get back to Neko, he’d have extended our supposedly 6 hour tour into the late night, just to make sure we got a chance to visit the Ramadan night market. He focuses mostly on village tours, and tours for people interested in social justice and development initiatives with minority tribespeople. He’s a great guy!

The German Butcher now has a Facebook page, for all your updates on their product line. This is one of the few places you can buy a large roast, or pork sausage. If you want them to make the sausage more interesting, they take custom orders for ingredients (like apple-pork, or red bell pepper/capsicum). They carry bagels from The Secret Ingredient now, so you’ve got one stop shopping for things not available elsewhere.

The “Australian Butcher,” aka the White Hen Gourmet is in Banani, but worth the trip for meat, I hear. That’s relatively near the Korean store, but I don’t think they have a Facebook page.

However, as long as you’re in Banani, stop by Cream and Fudge, Happy Octopus, and Jatra. The first will satisfy your Coldstone Ice Cream cravings, the second is a ritzy kids shop that sells Pebble items among the rest of its inventory, the last is the handicrafts store that kinda reminds me of Pier One, back when Pier One was cheap and eclectic.

If you’re interested in handicrafts, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Aarong. This page is awesome for 1 reason–reading the comments of all the people who are horribly offended by the supposedly risque fashions and the high prices. The drama is incredible.

I get a lot of personal things, Christmas decor and wee care package items at Folk International, which I’ve mentioned before here often. Their Christmas selection is always astounding, at least in a predominantly Muslim country. Get there in October for the best options. You could also try the DhakaCraft Bazaar, but they’re not frequent posters on their Facebook page.

Puran Dhaka Walks will keep you apprised of their weekly Old Dhaka walk schedule. They offer Friday walking tours of the historic buildings in Dhaka, and are extremely knowledgeable about the area, unlike some other tours I’ve taken, and won’t mention here.

As far as restaurants go, I’ve got several in my FB likes, though listing them may say more about my pathetic eating habits than anything else. Liking them has led me to some great deals, and was my only way of knowing how to do delivery orders.

Pizza Hut
Nando‘s
Soi 71 
North End Coffee

Last, a list of resource pages, for events, shops, restaurants and happenings:

Been There: Bangladesh (the #1 tourbook for the country)
Diggin Dhaka (the #1 expat map of Dhaka)
Bangladesh Unplugged
BD Menu

There are heaps of other places which have joined Facebook in the last 2 years, e.g. Movenpick, but these are the ones I already had “liked.”

 

…Happy times in Dhaka

We had a lovely day today in Dhaka. The weather has finally become something like a nice summer day in California. The humidity broke, and the skies are clear (ish). It was a perfect day for a little bit of adventuring here, or as much adventuring as this pregnant lady can handle all at once. 🙂 On a normal weekend day, we’re usually known for taking an afternoon nap, but we spent most of the day out. Since it’s my last weekend in Dhaka for a while, I am happy we made the trip.

It started off with a mosquito bite, not a very auspicious beginning to the day, but I got through that trauma quickly. Brush it off, brush it off… 🙂 Then, dressed in my casual stretchy best, we headed off to a charity fundraiser fair at the Grace International School. It was a fair-sized fair, about 30 vendors, many of whom I’d never seen before. Because Grace is a Christian school, they have connections with some of the Christian charities and NGO-training/manufacturing centers here in Bangladesh. Who knew there was a Mennonite mission here? They apparently make handcrafted paper goods, including cards, photo albums, wrapping paper, etc. Their main store is in Mohammadpur district of Dhaka, so the only time I’d ever see their stuff would be at a craft fair. Mohammadpur is VERY outside our driving comfort zone… (We noticed yesterday that the furthest we’d ever driven from home was about 2 miles, and only to that extreme in one direction… Pizza Hut).

After the craft fair (which was very productive… we even found a cute Sari-blanket for the wee-adventurer-to-come), we decided to follow the recommendation of a friend and have lunch at Roll Express in Banani:
But, we couldn’t find it, so we headed for someplace we’d been before, Dhaba, the restaurant that serves authentic “street food” but in a hygienic environment. They have a great tandoori oven and are well known for their Dosas and Phuchka. Their dining room is pretty small and intimately lit, but I’ve never had anything I didn’t like. It’s mid way along Road 12, on the east side of the street.

Afterward, we remembered that we were pretty close to another treat we hadn’t experienced yet, Cream and Fudge Factory, the coldstone knockoff that has all the Americans raving. Cream and Fudge is on the second floor of a building at the NorthEast corner of the Road 11 and Road 12 intersection in Banani. I had the EveryBerry Cheesecake and Mr. A had an AppleCrumble. Both were lovely, and a single was just the right size for after lunch. A single-size serving was 250 tk, a double was 400 tk. They also have shakes, sundaes and coffees.

While there, we checked out some of the other stores in the building.
Happy Octopus sells cute children’s things: casual and Very Fancy clothes, toys, items from Pebble (a local hand-knit NGO/company that sells to Europe and Japan and has a women-focused training and employment mission).

Haru Ichiban on the 3rd floor (i.e. 4 from the ground), sells stylish western men’s clothing from Esprit, Calvin Klein, Zara, and many other brands. They have both formal (i.e. tuxedo formal), business and casual fashions, shoes and accessories. Their FB site implies that they also have women’s things, but we didn’t really explore their items. Aesthetically, it was a very western-feeling shop to look at as well.

On the ground floor was Quesadilla,  a new Mexican-ish, American-ish restaurant, which I’ve heard good things about but haven’t yet tried. Their Mexican menu seemed pretty limited, but there were also some American classics to balance it out. Maybe we’ll try it when we get back from our baby-trip to America.

The building also housed a pharmacy and a dry cleaner. Something was being built on the 2nd floor, so there’s more excitement to come.

…Le Souffle

In my ongoing efforts to catalog some of the “places to go in Dhaka” here’s my take on Le Souffle, a French restaurant that is part of the Bellagio group of restaurants. It’s located at the north end of Gulshan Avenue, near the Canadian School and the Pakistani Embassy, in a large white mansion. Le Souffle is on the 2nd floor (counted American style, i.e. not the ground level, but just above). In the same building are a tapas place and a Japanese restaurant. All of these restaurants use imported food and chefs, and are thus considered some of the fanciest places in Bangladesh to eat. Certainly the price point indicates that. The dinner at Le Souffle was not your typical 500t night! It’s more along the lines of a nice dinner in DC, $40 pp.

However, the food was definitely worth the price, certainly for a date night. The food was fresh, bright and served well. We had a prix fixe menu, which included the cute dessert shown above, lamb wrapped in fatty duck, asparagus, carrots, mushroom soup… Many things I can’t even buy here for myself to make a nice dinner with.

The staff were quiet and attentive, though they did leave our empty plates on the table for an extraordinary amount of time after we’d finished eating. I think that may have had to do with the large party we dined with. This would probably not be the same with only a small group. You can BYOB at Le Souffle, I am not sure if they have a wine list (official or under-the-table).

Before our dinner, we were treated to an amusebouche from the Japanese restaurant, a Tuna Shooter, that makes me want to check out that part of Bellagio soon. All in all, it’s worth a repeat visit, it _was_ the nicest place I’ve seen here in Dhaka.


…Soi 71

Soi 71 is one of the most popular restaurants in Dhaka among the expat crowd that I am familiar with. It’s a 20 minute walk from our house, but we hadn’t been yet, so we decided to go last week, and were joined by four of our friends.

A table for 8 in the subterranean dining room
A more intimate booth

Apparently they are popular enough to hope you have a reservation with a group of 6, so if you’re planning to eat there (especially at the locally popular late dining hour), you might want to call ahead. The restaurant is big, though, so if you can’t get into the preferred downstairs room, you can still get tasty food in the upstairs room.

The stairs leading downstairs, looking up

Soi 71 also has a midday coffee and pastries cafe in addition to their two dining rooms. The downstairs room, where we ate, had a large play area for little kids to bounce around in, with decor from popular childrens’ movies.

The food was awesome, at least to my thai-loving (dish-wash-hating), palatte. Some people don’t like it, but I think I could go there quite often and be happy each time. It’s a great standard-American quality restaurant, but with the added excitement of a cute decor and some aquaria.

One of several aquariums

…Craft fairs and Raffles

Yesterday I had planned to meet up with a fellow blogger (Becoming Bangladesh) and show her the delights of the American Club, since she’s not a member, but like many in the last week, she’s recovering from something and couldn’t make it. We rescheduled, but it left me with a great big empty afternoon of possibility.

We decided to head to the Dhaka American Women’s Club’s annual Christmas charity bazaar. It was much bigger than we’d anticipated it being, with food vendors, a real Santa, a bounce house, raffles and other craziness. We were lucky enough, in fact, to be the winners of a Nando’s gift certificate (a favorite restaurant, though we’ve not been to a Dhaka branch yet).

We capped off the afternoon with dinner at Sura, a Korean restaurant that lived up to its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Dhaka. Yum. Spicy! Tons of food! Fast service! Ambiance! We had dinner with our future neighbors, who’d we’d known back in language training in DC. They’re currently in temporary digs until their apartment is finished, but soon we’ll have some neighbors to share the Wii fun with.

Earlier this week, we’ve had a whirlwind of social events, poker night, a “tea” at the DCM’s, an ice cream date, skype-dates… its been nice to be so busy, the first few weeks here were rather quiet.

Nothing too fascinating in this update, but expect the photos from the upcoming Ball next weekend! We’re also planning some interior painting and a little mini-break out of Dhaka.

…a Thai escape

One of the things that expats do to have fun in Dhaka is go on vacations to nearby countries. There are, of course, two reasons for this: 1. You might never be back on this side of the globe. 2. You need to take a break from Dhaka itself, especially its traffic.

One of the places to go is Thailand, where you can go shopping for things other than Salwar Kameez (the local clothes), where you can eat tasty Thai food, and where you can get a great massage. There’s a direct flight there, so it’s a weekend trip. Yesterday we didn’t go to Thailand, but we had a Thai holiday just in our neighborhood.

I started the day by shopping at a charity clothing sale in support of the School of Hope, a school in a poor community that charges only 4 taka (less than 2 cents) per month in tuition.* The clothing was all donated seconds from local garment factories and everything was between 1 and 2 dollars.

After coming home, we had appointments at a Thai Day Spa for aromatherapy massages… wow. What a nice place. It’s called Samran Day Spa and has a variety of body treatments for men and women. When we were there we saw diplomats, businessmen, volunteers… They greeted us with tea when we arrived and brought us back to our rooms. The last time I had Thai massage, I was on a kind of futon on the ground, this spa used tables. Under the face hole in the massage table, they had placed a bowl of floating flowers. The masseuse has to be pretty limber, as they kneel on the table to so the pressure point therapy. My room had its own private bath and changing area. I highly recommend the place. We only had a 60 minute massage, but it felt like one of the longest I’d ever had, and they do up to 2 hours, as well as waxing, mani-pedi, scrubs and facials.

After the massage, we decided to go out for Thai food, down in Gulshan-1, at @Corner Thai. It’s located on the top floor of the Navana tower shopping center (use the elevator in the shopping arcade). It was the most expensive meal we’ve had here so far, but wouldn’t break the bank back in the states (about $35 for 2 people). It was also the spiciest. I have finally found a country where the chili pepper designations on the menu will feel spicy even to me. Yeah!!

It was a fun Thai escape. Today I have my first day of substitute teaching, wish me luck!

*The reason they charge anything is that most NGOs have found that a minimal charge has made the recipients value their education (or other charitable donation) more. They’ve paid for it, and they’ll work hard to see it succeed.