What’s Wrong With Bangladeshi Food?
Employee Monitoring Software
People of Bangladesh are well acquainted with Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese and various other foreign cuisines but we are yet to coin the term “Bangladeshi cuisine” and use it on a regular basis. Why does it feel so peculiar to give our local food a recognizable and distinct label? Is it because we have become bored with the food that we grew up with? Or perhaps it’s because we have always viewed Bangladeshi cuisine as a myriad of peasant dishes that looked dismal and cheap besides the glorified international food items.
It’s not what you think it is
When we think of Bangladeshi food we think of the miserable, overcooked and dried out shaak, shobji, bhaat, daal, maach and mangsho prepared by our domestic helps every day. The only thing that gets us even remotely excited about our cuisine is the enchanting and irresistible smell of the “Biye barir biryani“. Other than that though, Bangladeshis, especially those leading urban lives, are slowly getting detached from their culinary roots. It’s fair to say that most of us aren’t fully aware of the fact that our cuisine is remarkably rich in diversity and vibrant with delicacies from all corners of the country.
Ashamed of our food?
I think Bangladesh is one of the few places in the world where it’s not “cool” to have a taste of your local cuisine on certain occasions. For example, would you ever take your significant other out to a Bangladeshi restaurant for your first date? No. That would actually be perceived as “embarrassing”. Even when we are hanging out with our friends, Bangladeshi restaurants aren’t exactly our first choice unless we are broke and have nothing but TK 50 bills in our pockets.
“Poor” Bengali restaurants
I do understand that Bangladeshi restaurants don’t usually provide a very convenient ambience for city dwellers. In fact, they are often found to be dirty, unhygienic and crowded. This begs the question, why aren’t restaurant owners investing more in local cuisines? Why can’t a Bangladeshi restaurant be as neat, elegant and appealing as an expensive high end Italian bistro? I believe that the problem lies not with the quality of our food, but rather our perception of it.
Losing our street food
If you take a walk out in the streets of Dhaka today, you are likely to come across innumerable food carts selling fast food that bear no resemblance to our traditional dishes. As much as I love my burgers and hot dogs, I would have really loved to have a taste of modern, reinvented, Bangladeshi fast food in the streets. I mean street food in neighbouring countries such as India and Thailand are all about delicious local titbits, so why can’t we have the same here?
The food industry in Bangladesh has seen a massive surge over the last five years. However, Bangladeshi food has not been at the heart of this food frenzy. It’s safe to say that the once cherished Bangladeshi food is now slowly slipping away from prominence and into oblivion.
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