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Tehari At Its Best
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
For just about any student, Nilkhet is a haven where they can find everything from books to stationary and not to forget the delectable foods. The assortment of shops selling tehari at Nilkhet offer the students a royal treat without burning a hole in their pocket. Placed under the corrugated tin roofed stalls, the tehari sold at the tehari shops of Nilkhet can satisfy palates of hundreds of students everyday from Dhaka University, BUET and from all over the city. As the spicy aroma from large pots of tehari makes every passers-by's mouth water, students who come to Nilkhet for their books and stationary needs, can hardly ignore the desire for having tehari from one of the roadside tehari shops.
Of the shops, The Royal Tehari House and Mubarak Tehari House are the oldest. “We have been providing our customers with quality tehari for almost twenty years,” says Sumon, manager of the Mubarak Tehari House. “The tehari served in our shop is made by experienced chefs from Puran Dhaka and the secret spices put by them make the tehari absolutely scrumptious,” adds Sumon. The famous tehari is cooked with fine rice, meat and lots of spices. “The meat in the tehari almost melts when you put it in your mouth. With the spices and delicious meat, the Nilkhet tehari is a total culinary delight to me,” says Rafid, a BUET student.
For most of the students, the best thing about Nikhet's tehari is its price. While a half plate of tehari (which is filling enough for most of the customers) costs only Tk 45, a three-quarter serving is Tk 68 and full plate of tehari would cost Tk 90, which is economically reasonable for the students. “Over the years I have been wondering how the tehari shops of Nilkhet manage to serve such good food at such cheap prices, maybe it is the huge turnouts of customers, which help them to make enough profits,” says Mou, a student of Dhaka University. “Though the prices of the ingredients have skyrocketed in the last few years, we tried our best to keep the price of food items within the range of the students,” says Litu, one of the tehari shop owners.
In addition to tehari, these eateries of Nilkhet also offer bhuna khichuri, morog polao and halim on their menu. Usually a considerable crowd gathers in the tehari shops every evening to taste the delicious halim. The lip-smacking borhani available at only Tk 20 per glass, is also very popular amongst the students.
The small tehari shops of Nilkhet always remain abuzz with hundreds of students from morning till late at night. People literally stand in queues to occupy a seat since the crowded shops can hardly accommodate fifteen to twenty customers. As we all know that students need a good supply of delicious food whenever they are staying up till late at night, preparing for an exam or working on a class presentation. For the students residing in dormitories of nearby Dhaka University and BUET, the tehari shops at Nilkhet remain open till as late as 12 to 1 am. “The tehari of the Royal Tehari House of Nilkhet is kind of a comfort food for me. Whenever I get irritated with run-of-the-mill standard of the food served in our dormitory cafeteria, I come to Nilkhet to indulge in the flavours of tehari and borhani,” says Sabbir a resident student living in the Surja Sen Hall, Dhaka University.
The small packed book shops, the sound, heat and smells from photocopy and printing machines and students roaming in the narrow alleys make Nilkhet an absolute student realm. The tehari shops at Nilkhet complete the picture by adding just the right taste. Sophisticated enough or not. Having tehari at Nilkhet would remain a culinary adventure for students many more years to come.