Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 14, Tuesday, April 03, 2012




Thai Food Festival & Cultural Show @ Pan Pacific Sonargaon

We all love Thai cuisine. But interestingly enough, there's a catch hidden somewhere in the preceding statement; the Thai food we eat in several of the places in our country is basically a deshi version of the Thai food. Although country-wise customisation is not a bad thing at all, it is nevertheless a delight to taste real, authentic Thai food.

Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka is giving you the scope to experience just that. On 28 March, 2012 the hotel commenced its Thai Food Festival & Cultural Show. The carnival will go on till 3 April.

The event has been organised by Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka in association with Thai Trade Center and Thai Airways International. Faruk Khan, honourable Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, officially inaugurated the festival as the Chief Guest. Thai Charge d' Affairs to Bangladesh and several other prominent guests were also present at the gala.

Making no compromise on the authenticity of Thai cuisine, highly professional Thai chefs have been flown in to prepare the dishes. The food, therefore, holds the real flavours of Thailand, those of history, perfection and enigma.

The buffet they are offering includes a wide consortium of Thai food, such as sautéed beef with red curry and corn pepper, tom yam soup, fried fish with chili sauce, spicy minced beef salad, spicy seafood salad, sautéed mixed vegetable with oyster sauce, to name just a few.

The buffet is indeed an extravagant one, complete with desserts. The buffet lunch/buffet dinner costs Tk.3000 (all inclusive) with 50 percent discount for children. The festival is being held at Café Bazaar of Sonargaon Hotel.

Café Bazaar indeed went the distance to ensure that you have a true experience of Thailand. And by distance, I also speak literally to mean more than approximately 950 miles of distance! The festival is featuring cultural shows performed by Thai dancers.

Not just by the sensations of taste and smell therefore, you'll also experience enchanting Thailand through sights and sounds. And Thailand has a very rich heritage. Watching the exotic dances rooted deep in the history of Thailand while munching away great Thai food is a delightful experience indeed.

If you want to experience it all, do visit Café Bazaar of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka by 3 April. For reservations, call 8140401.

By M H Haider

The Solitaire affair

In a star-studded event, Gitanjili Lifestyle launched their new brand ME Solitaire in Bangladesh on the evening of March 26 at their Gulshan 1 outlet. With the likes of beauty expert Farzana Arman Munni and actors Richi Sulaiman and Naushin present along with some of Gitanjili's priority customers, the new concept of ME Solitaire was introduced. Along with a presentation of ME Solitaire, customers had the chance to walk around and view the array of glittering jewellery with drinks in hand.

ME Solitaire is the first of its kind in Bangladesh -- with a “you create you” tagline, it is an entirely web-based experience in which customers can pick their diamonds and cuts online and create customised jewellery that will surely stand out in their personal collection. Customers are able to visit Gitanjili Lifestyle's spacious outlet and observe in person what the website offering looks like, whether it's a princess cut diamond or up to a 4 carat piece. After placing an order online, their customised jewellery is delivered to Gitanjili to be picked up.

“Bangladeshi customers have always wanted to customise their own solitaire but didn't have the opportunity to do so until now. It is great especially for weddings and anniversaries,” explained Nasheeba Akbar of Gitanjili. Ranging from .35 carat up to 4 carat, the details of the solitaire diamond and the bands can be selected from a variety of choices offered. “This increases the comfort level of our top clients because they can come to the store knowing what they want,” added Head MBO, Shahela Khundker.

The understanding of diamonds in Bangladesh is still pretty low -- as one of the largest brands for diamonds in the world, Gitanjili Lifestyle is trying to change that. Still, with limited knowledge of carat, clarity, and colours of solitaire diamonds in addition to very few established online shopping opportunities in Bangladesh, ME Solitaire could be a hit or a miss. However, as Khalidur Rahim of the brand explains, with a customer base that loves exclusivity and with Gitanjili's reputation of bringing in popular brands (i.e. Gili, Asmi, Nakshatra), it is expected to be accepted among their large A-list clients.

By Olinda Hassan

8th Dhaka Motor Show: For A Revving Economy

With one of the highest Vehicle CNG Conversion ratios in South Asia, Bangladesh is considered as one of the growing markets for the automobile industries. As the economy steadily grows, coupled with the fact that roads are still the number one choice of transportation, Bangladesh is indeed an attractive market. The 4 day Dhaka Motor Show, beginning on 22nd March was aimed at capitalising on these points along with a few more.

With 13 reputed automobile giants vying for attention, the throngs of visitors the show attracted was of course not the least bit surprising. Conference and Exhibition Management Services Limited USA in association with CEMS Bangladesh organised the show at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre and Commerce minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader inaugurated the event, urging the business community in Bangladesh to think of manufacturing cars. Rahimafrooz was the co-partner, showcasing its international brand, Globatt. Car and motorcycle distributors and dealers from India, Pakistan, China, South Korea, USA, France, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Dubai, Taiwan and Thailand displayed their products at nearly 350 booths spread throughout the conference centre.

The entire affair maintained a very international feel to it, lending it an aura much appreciated by car aficiandos. While brands were all competing for the most sales orders, there was one thing in common; most of the cars were sold on the basis of reliability and affordability as opposed to its power and look. Hence, Proton's 1600 cc “Proton Exora' and The Great Wall's, a Chinese Government-run Motor Company, 1500 cc GWFlorid, priced at 2,65,000 and 1,200,000 respectively, with the latter having a 50000 taka discount, managed to draw a lot of the crowds. Tucked in a corner stood the imposing and instantly recognisable Audi, set up by Auto Museum Ltd. Although, its sales order may not have been off the roof, it did attract plenty of onlookers, all equally awed at the beautiful bodies of steel on display.

Mitsouko Motor, Nissan and Hyundai also brought brand new vehicles whilst Intraco Motorcycle and Generator also brought a model of their own. AB Bank's booth was also set up, providing loans at 18.5% interest, helping customers make instant choices. The feasible prices was perhaps the main attraction behind the fair, while the chance to get the feel of some of these vehicles, seen only in movies, was also an added incentive. “ I will not be purchasing anything this year but looking at the trend, next year perhaps the cars will be even cheaper and then I will definitely buy something”, Abrar Faiyaz, a student of UODA informed while Shehzabeen, a third year student of BRAC, eyed Hyundai's 2000 cc Sonata with interest. “With fuel prices rising and the already stifling traffic jams, it is quite a dilemma”, she said before adding with a smile, “to buy or not to buy.”

The festive atmosphere and revelry arising from flashing cameras, laughter, excitement and dreams coming true cloaked a stark realisation; Bangladesh was indeed moving towards a middle-income economy as we spoke. The organisers efforts for the Dhaka Motor Show was perhaps just a drop in the ocean of Bangladesh's rapid globalisation but its ripples were keenly observed indeed. So what surprises will the 8th edition of the show hold next year? We impatiently wait to find out.

By Osama Rahman


An escape from Dhaka

As I stepped into the Mermaid Gallery Café, I knew something was amiss - - the commotion and mad rush that is our everyday life in Dhaka! Often I have heard the expression, far from the madding crowd. As a person who has grown up in Dhaka city, I had rarely ever had the chance to comprehend the true meaning of this saying. Never had I imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be able to feel this in the middle of this bustling metropolis.

The food at the café was great. But what is unique is that the food in Mermaid Gallery Café is healthy. As a food lover, I have visited numerous food outlets in Dhaka, ranging from the street side cafes of Old Dhaka to the posh restaurants of Gulshan. Excepting a few occasions, the food was always awesome! I had also come up with the opinion that good food is synonymous with stomach upsets. But not in Mermaid Gallery Café. On enquiry, I learnt that all the food here is organic, the fish coming fresh from the Bay of Bengal.

I was also surprised to learn that the Mermaid group is based in Cox's Bazar. They are the pioneers of eco tourism in Bangladesh. The well trained and knowledgeable staff of Mermaid Gallery Café informed me that while conventional forms of tourism usually leave a carbon footprint on the environment, eco tourism takes into consideration the natural flora and fauna of the environment, implements environment-friendly practices that minimises the use of scarce resources such as water and energy, and also integrates the culture of the locals. Eco tourism initiatives include recycling, energy efficiency, water re-use, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities is an integral part of eco tourism. All this information was new to me and got me interested in visiting the Mermaid Eco Resort and Ashram located at Cox's Bazar.

Closer to home, I learnt that Mermaid is opening a new outlet in Gulshan 2. Let us hope that we can find a getaway in the middle of this crazy city.

By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

Andeem's Baishakh

For the country's biggest festival, Andeem has come up with a colourful and trendy 'Pahela Baishakh' line of saris. The collection, essentially in cotton have been embellished with screen-prints and intricate designs like appliqué and embroidery. The collection ranges from Tk 3,200 to 5,200.

Please visit: facebook.com/ andeem.online or call 0171 228 8225 or 0171 210 6927 for further information.


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