Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

EATING OUT

Streetside delights Best fuchka in town

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Firstly, I must add a disclaimer. There are close to an infinite number of fuchka/chotpoti stands in Dhaka, and in no way is anyone capable of crowning someone “the best”. But there are renowned fuchka stands in each neighbourhood which are so good that people revisit them time and time again, and it’s a shame not to share this information with our dear readers.

Opposite 7/6 Block D Lalmatia

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Situated in a quiet corner, this little cart definitely has a loyal fan following. What I love about this place is that they add lime juice as well as zest to their fuchka, resulting in a distinct taste you don’t get in other places. Their chotpoti is amazing, because they are not stingy at all with the amount of crushed fuchka they put on top of it.  As it’s an inner road, there isn’t much traffic so you can actually enjoy your fuchka in peace. There is always a group of young people standing on the footpath behind the stand enjoying their plate as they chat. Their spiciness ranges from mild to ulcer-inducing spicy, but not to worry because there are a number of general stores just beside this stand where you can run and buy one (or three) bottles of Fruitika. Yes, I speak from experience.

Price: Tk 25 per plate. If you live near Lalmatia and haven’t been here yet, you have wasted precious time.

Beside Kumudini and Café Lebanon, Gulshan Avenue, near Gulshan 1 circle
This is probably Dhaka’s only “Drive-through” fuchka place! It is a favourite amongst those who are stuck daily in the infamous Gulshan 1 traffic jam, or those who have been out and about and don’t want to indulge in a sit down snack. You can see cars parked along this stand with people inside enjoying fuchka as they listen to their favourite radio station. The good thing about this place is that they do have seating options for those who wish to sit and have a chat. Another advantage is that they have great takeaway packs. They can pack the fuchka shells and the fillings separately for you so you can take it home and eat street food in the comfort of your living room. My mom likes taking these packs along when she visits people’s houses instead of the usual doi-mishti, which is also a great idea.

Price: Tk 60 per plate, quite a reasonable price to pay in Gulshan Avenue!

La Café Family, beside Family Needs in Rabindra Sarani, Uttara

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Sometimes even the best of us may end up in Uttara by accident one afternoon. In that case, this is the place to go. It is situated beside Family Needs, a popular supermarket in Rabindra Sarani, Uttara. This little café is quite random, as you can find everything from Chinese food to biryani to finally fuchka. Uttara locals love this place, and it’s so crowded that you have to wait for a while to get a seat. They start making fuchka at 4pm, and most of the time they run out by 7pm.

Price: Tk 45 per plate … not a bad price to pay!

Pink City
As one of the few places in Pink City Shopping Mall selling food, this place was bound to be a hit. There are always fashionable ladies standing around this place replenishing their shopping energy levels before round two.  I have relatives who come from all corners of Dhaka to shop at Pink City, and they are always saying how great this fuchka place is. I also have to point out that they are really clean. They sell the regular fuchka and chotpoti as well as dahi fuchka. Fresh fruit juice is also available and made right there.

Price: Tk 75 per plate. Well, it’s Pink City, the most expensive mall in Dhaka, hosting the richest customers in Dhaka, and I’m sure the poor guys pay a handsome sum to rent their little space. So what can you expect?

Infront of DMC Girls’ Hostel

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

“Fuchka Mama” has been manning his fuchka stand for about 25-30 years in front of the Dhaka Medical College Girls’ Hostel. His speciality is his “tetul-er tok”, which he will gladly give you an extra cup of if you ask. It’s mainly the students at DMC who flock around Fuchka Mama, but students from other universities also pay him a visit every now and then. He is also popular amongst the patients and relatives of patients who are in the DMC hospital. Fuchka Mama will also give you a piece of paper to use as a napkin to wipe your hands; how cool is that? At the moment, Mama is teaching his nephew his art so that the fuchka stand lives on for generations. He also caters for fuchka at holuds.

Price per plate: pretty unbeatable at Tk 25.
I have been to a lot of places around the world, but there is just nothing like a Food Safari in Dhaka city. The next time you are bored at home, why not grab a couple of friends and go to the opposite side of town just to try out the street food? We can watch all the TV shows about food in TLC, Fox Traveller, Discovery Channel etc., but it’s a shame that Dhaka citizens aren’t aware of the potentially grandiose food adventures there are to be had right here at home!