Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 77, Tuesday, July 21, 2009



Shop Talk

For the love of the leaf

No adda is complete without a hot cup of tea to accompany the conversation, neither is there a better way to unwind after a long, tiring day.

The morning newspaper seems empty in one hand if not accompanied by the tea cup in the other. No matter how you take your tea, with milk and sugar, garam masala infused, strong and black, with a dash of ginger or just tea with a few refreshing drops of lemon, there's no good alternative to tea when it comes to the Bangali palate.

To say that tea is a way of life in this part of the world, one would not be wrong. These days, on a stroll down the aisles of the many different grocery shops, one can find on display a variety of local and imported teas of different kinds to match the coffee beans, which used to monopolise the racks a while back. There are even flavoured teas, which seem to have become rather popular in recent days.

There is a wide range of teas to choose from starting from the very basic that you find in every household to slimming teas and other different flavoured ones, as well as “health teas” and even dessert teas; not to mention the ever popular ready-to-drink teas that require as little effort as just adding hot or cold water.

Most popular and widely available are the various flavoured teas by the British company Twinnings, offering flavours like Earl Grey, Peach, Chamomile, Lemon, Peppermint, Vanilla, Orange, Black Currant and a flavour blend of fruity flavours, as well as Ginseng and Green tea.

Apart from the flavoured teas, the other most popular ones is the green tea which is not only imported but also made locally by companies like Finley Tea Ltd. Chinese Slimming teas and Ginseng teas are also rather popular as well as the special blend of Jasmine tea that comes in a charming yellow tin package hailing all the way from the Republic of China.

No matter what you're looking for there is at least one tea up for grabs which is bound to catch your eye. There are even teahouses popping up around the city, offering many different types of teas such as “Cha Ghar” at Satmasjid Road in Dhanmondi, and “Adda” at Prabartana, etc.

An interesting little gem of a tea shop is a tiny little shanty tea stall opposite Pizza Hut at Dhanmondi 12/A; on first look it's no different than any other tea stall dotting the road sides, but what it offers sets it apart. This little place offers a unique tea delicacy called “Chocolate Cha” which is basically Ovaltine infused tea, bound to make anyone with a love of all things chocolaty go gaga over it.

Even the countless bistros, café's, restaurants and other eateries around the city have now opened up a slot for offering an option for the tea-lover to choose between a piping hot cup of tea or a nice refreshing, tall glass of chilled iced tea to soothe themselves on a scorching summer's day.

To what we owe this return to this age old love of the leaf is something one will never know, but drinking tea has most definitely become the chic thing to do these days. Some might suggest it is a result of all the recent discoveries of the many properties of these little green leaves that are beneficial to the health.

They say that not only will tea rehydrate you; it may also protect you from developing heart disease, and even cancer. Apparently, three or more cups a day may also protect your teeth and strengthen your bones. Many go so far as to saying that drinking tea prevents cell damage and makes you look younger, in a way tagging tea as the elixir of youth.

The scores of myths about the tea leaf spiral back a long way; while some are now proven facts others are just fun to believe. More and more people around the world are switching from coffee to tea nowadays and we are not far behind when it comes to this change in drinking habits.

Whatever the case is, maybe it's mostly because of the health beneficial discoveries that makes it a fashionable drink in today's health conscious world or maybe just because there's so much you can do with this leaf and it just tastes so good, tea is back in business and its here to stay.

By Farah Tarannum
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

On The Cover

This week, Star Lifestyle focuses on a national passion; we romance tea in all its forms. So brew a cup of smoking, hot cup of cha, lean back on the sofa and flip to the centrefold and while you are at it also check out the season's deals and offers around town.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Special thanks to The Westin, Dhaka


Bangladeshi Culture: Where art thou?

Bangladeshi culture has lost her path somewhere over the years. The rich culture of our nation has been overshadowed by that of India's and other such overpowering countries. Our deshi words have been replaced by the slant superficial Hindi words. Here allow us to present to you a few out of the many of such words; moshla has been materialised into masala, onnonna into annanya, and shobji into sabzee. It is a matter of utter disgrace as we alter our Mother Tongue to fit into a specified class. Bangladesh is celebrated as the only nation in the world to have fought for her Mother Tongue. Where is it that we have landed? Will our culture fade away until it is nothing but a mere silhouette?

Indian media has diffused through our culture a volatile vile of Bollywood. Gaye holuds dance to the beats of Bollywood with little or no tune that we can identify as our own. Our local weavers are hard pressed to run their businesses with the current pace of Indian goods flooding into our markets on a daily basis. Rarely do some of us opt for a Bangladeshi sari when we have our options open to Indian ones.

As I rummage through the TV channels, all I can spot is another Hindi soap opera or Hindi dubbed cartoon. Our media is unfortunately somewhat overshadowed by the overwhelming contents of the hindi soaps that have reached immense heights of popularity recently.

By Sanjana Rahman



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