Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 60, Tuesday October 10, 2006

 

 

Eating Out

Are you hungry? We are...

If you are one of the many folk who has been affected by a sense of befuddlement when it came to choosing where to go to eat, what to eat and how much money to take, imhungrybd.com is just what you were looking for. Why so? Because this peach of a website offers answers to all these questions and more. So go pay them a visit before we elaborate.

So once that's done and dealt with lets get down to the nitty-gritty.

Imhungrybd.com is a product of the Project Bangladesh foundation. Remember those ingenious young entrepreneurs who took the country by storm with their red and green wristbands? Yes them. Well imhungrybd.com is a brainchild of those very people and is owned in part by the Project Bangladesh Foundation.

The idea was born out of a very simple plan.
Because of the many mushrooming fast food and food outlets in general sprouting out at every nook and cranny of the city, it is almost impossible to keep track of which is where and what price range each caters to specifically. Imhungry offers the customers this service free of charge. So in essence they provide the directory assistance for the people who want the food. And its' not just restricted to the address, phone number and location of the shop. Imhungry goes one step further and provides detailed menus listing prices of items available at the shop. So you will never have to feel uncomfortable with only a shiny Tk.500 to cover your back. You know the feeling.

The credit for this devilishly simple yet eternally helpful idea should go to six young men. Shayaan Seraj, Salman Khan, Zubayer Mahbub, Abdur Rahman Shabab, Alsan Ali and Fuad Tasrim Hossain. All young college-goers, the six set about to finding a solution to the problem of not being able to remember what to order from where. Would it not be a viable solution, they thought, if we could just sit at home and see what was on the menu where and then send the driver to just pick that up?

Seeing that similar services were already on offer at London and Canada, where two of the lot go to college, the set about constructing one for Bangladesh.

After much toil in the summer heat imhungrybd.com is the fruit of their labour.

The website is laid out very simply and restaurants are categorised as Bengali, cafe Chinese, continental, fast food, Indian, Italian, Thai and others. It's easy to manoeuvre and clicking on any of those options takes you to a page where the restaurants are listed with address and phone number. And clicking on the restaurants shall provide you the menu. Quite simple really. There is also a restaurant search feature and so you can just type in the name of the restaurant you want.

But this is not all.
Imhungrybd.com also offers a special restaurant in review section, in which one restaurant will be reviewed and used as the focus restaurant for a length of time, be it a week or month. This provides good advert not only for the restaurant but the customers also get to know about a particular place in detail.

There are already a significant number of restaurants that have been uploaded and more updates are underway even as you read this. The PB foundation expect that in the long run imhungrybd.com will cover not only all the restaurants in Dhaka but also in Chittagong. It is a big dream but not entirely unachievable and steps have already been taken towards it as restaurants like Meridian have already been listed on the website.

But wait. We aren't done yet.
To make the service even more endearing imhungrybd.com can also be accessed from your mobile phone. How so you ask? Well imagine you are on the road stuck in traffic and craving pizza from your favourite Bella Italia. But you have forgotten where it exactly is. So what you do is sms 'imhungrybd bella' to 2583 and before you can say bella, you shall be provided with the number and address of the restaurant. Of course normal charges apply but that's very little to spare for this novel idea which was made possible through the help of SMS Blue.

Can it get any easier than that?
As for restaurants the website is urging more and more to jump on the bandwagon. All they need to do is just send them the logo and menu and they will be listed on the site.

So why are you wasting your time. We know you are craving food, more so in this month where you are supposed to be fasting. So click online to imhungrybd.com, jot down your favourite dishes and send your driver to get them for you. After all you don't want to be caught eating out at this time of the year do you?

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam


Sura-authentic Korean restaurant

You have restaurants, you have authentic restaurants and then you have Sura. If you are somewhat confused by that introduction, it is paying a compliment to the fact that Sura, an authentic Korean restaurant tucked away in an expansive corner of Gulshan 2 has managed to attract such a wide variety of customers in such a short time.

Sura is Korean word which is usually used to refer to the dining place for kings. And once you have paid a visit to this superbly laid out place, and tasted their food you shall come back feeling just like one.

Sura offers authentic Korean cuisine while side by side provides adequate fusion with other Oriental food, like Chinese. So you will not feel out of place if you are new to Korean food, as yours truly was.

The first thing that grabs you when you visit the place is its sense of space. In this crowded city where every square inch matters the world, Sura offers an idyllic retreat where you can eat in peace and not once have to worry about your car and where its parked.

Aside the parking area, the restaurant itself is large too by most standards. There is an altogether seating arrangement for upto a hundred and twenty people, portioned into different rooms and open seating areas. Even their the tables are parked just far enough from each other to give customers a sense of privacy and intimacy. There are two separate rooms as well which are mainly used when people invite a large number of guests or when the outer rooms are filled already. The rooms offer a far greater sense of privacy and great artistry on the walls.

The rest of the décor is quite simple with common Oriental decorations you would expect to find in every other house in the Far East. Nothing too extravagant or gaudy and that is the strong point of Sura's appearance.

The best part of the restaurant however, is its food.
This correspondent was lucky to have a three-course meal of ample delight and one I would strongly recommend.

First up was the King Prawn and Cuttlefish Tempura, a common Korean appetizer that you have with a side helping of spinach or garlic or sauce. It retains a quite exquisite taste that leaves the connoisseur aching for more. Add to that the spicy roll and the quite stunning Kimbab and you might well be done for the day (fortunately for me that was just the beginning). For those of you not aware of what a Kimbab is, it is a common Korean dish made of vegetables, beef and egg rolled in rice and seaweed. It is quite addictive and once you develop a taste for it you will probably like this for the rest of your life.

The main course was dominated by Sura Galbi, which is a specialty of the restaurant. It is tender marinated short beef rib BBQ which is cooked right in front of you on the specially constructed tables. You can choose whether you like it tender or hard done depending on your taste and get it cooked to your benefit. The beef is imported and provides a quite discernable variance with most BBQ's that you have here. You can have that with the usual Oriental staple dish of fried rice or you can even try it out with the Japchae -- glass noodles, which is a novelty in itself.

Other specialties that you can check out include Shabu Shabu, a Korean style steamboat with slices of tender meat, vegetables, tofu and dumplings and Chicken Galbi which is spicy marinated boneless chicken BBQ.

We could go on and on about the food but that would make it a tad monotonous. The only thing you should know is that the food is in one word delicious.

There are numerous restaurants across town that offer you food in varying tastes and cuisine in different methods. Rest assured that Sura is unique in that regard. The food that you have here will taste different and more authentic than anywhere else in the city.

So if its Korean cuisine that you are interested in or you just want to try something new do not miss the chance to try out Sura.

Most of the materials are imported and that added to the open and generous setting provide for a more expensive meal than what the regular customer might be used to. But don't let that detract you. Because if there is one case where you should pay more for better service its Sura.

So if it's a business dinner or dining with foreign friends or if you are just searching for that X-factor in tastes, don't miss a beat. Check Sura out today! We trust you shall not be disappointed. Who knew Korean food could be so enthralling?

Sura in Arabic means 'prayer' and taking certain liberations with the phrase this could be the answer to the food connoisseurs prayer.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Photo Amirul Rajiv

 


 
 

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