Broccoli or Chicken rolls--
that is the question.
Fardin Akbar Hyderi
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
Mom! Give me 20 takas to buy some food from the canteen!" I heard my younger brother yell from his room. Of course, I knew the reply coming up since I have had this conversation with my mother countless times before (and surprisingly, still do!). "No! You will get sick if you eat that stuff. Be a good boy and have the homemade paratha and omlette!" said my mom ever so expectedly. It is funny how even after growing up to be university students, where we are supposed to be 'independent', we still hide from our parents (mothers especially!) when we want to have the, apparently, 'unhygienic' but ever-so-delicious fast food. But are these fast foods as dangerous as they have been portrayed by you-know-who? Well, not always.
No matter how much we have to study, we never forget to grab a bite and while away some time from the hassle and paranoia that education and exams tend to bring into our lives. It is during exams when students are the busiest and in between classes, they always prefer having something that is quick, tastes good and is cheap. And where do you think one can get hold of that combination? Fast food joints, of course! On a hot summer afternoon, after a two and a half hour math class, a chilled coke and chicken roll from Star Kabab is almost godsent for most students.
There are tons of fast food joints in every corner of Dhaka City. Yes, maybe the pictures of McDonald's burger and fries on the billboard on top can be deceiving but it is enough to catch someone's attention and so one needs not worry about finding a place to grab a quick, scrumptious meal. Starting from those yummy chicken patties worth Tk 50 to fuchka plates for only Tk 40, every other food in these fast food stores are reasonable. Shiva Shahidi, a student of Mastermind School comments, "With the allowance I get which is around two to three hundred taka, I prefer having fast food. It is not only because it is reasonable but also because it saves me a lot of time because I always have to hurry for my next class. And also with a couple of friends to just hang out and chill, I would not mind having fast food again because it is tasty and also, we don't like waiting for twenty minutes on an average basis for food to arrive on the table." Moshfequr Rahman, a student of NSU, says, "Our campus has the best canteen for fast foods and it is pretty hygienic. With around seventy taka you get jhal fry and other delectable items, all made beforehand. So far, none of these foods have made me sick. Rather than ordering food in a classy restaurant, these items are ideal snacks in between classes because it saves a lot of time."
Forget university canteens. There are so many other places around Dhaka where you get fast food at a reasonable price and guess what? Not many people end up getting as sick as parents would think! Be it Labamba or Star Kabab, as much as we feel guilt disobeying our parents, these places and their food have a way of coming back into our lives with their exquisite, unique taste and reasonable prices. And the best part about them is, no matter what you order, they will all have their own personal Bangladeshi touch to it- whether it is the burger patty or the beef pizzas.
Despite all of this, no matter how good it tastes sometimes, fast food can be as bad as we are told they are. We may end up with an upset stomach or, God forbid, jaundice. As long as we don't have fast food from those shady little benders in the street and instead opt for places like Yousuf bakery, California Fried Chicken, Best Fried Chicken, Labamba, etc, we might just end up avoiding the health hazards that fast food is usually combined with. Of course, fried chicken, beef rolls, street lachhis are no broccolis and carrots but they surely taste good. So, maybe not every day but from time to time, we all need a little difference here and there. And hey, what is life without taking a little risk?