Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 23, Tuesday, November 4, 2003







iftar bash
in dhanmondi and beyond...

DURING this month of Ramadan, the iftar plays a vital role in the whole culture of fasting, especially in our country. From iftar parties to the regular iftar at home, everyone goes into a frenzy after a whole day of refraining from all sorts of food and drinks. It seems that everyone out there is about to make up for the sacrifices of the day. The whole idea of a complete feast during iftar comes into the scene here. More and more people cater from those shops and stores in the neighbourhood and this keeps up for the majority of the month.

This year the iftar caterers seem to have shroomed everywhere in the city. Starting from roadside pandals to large fancy shops, everyone has been pulled into this profitable 'business' of selling iftar. As long as they satisfy customers and come up with new items, the stores seem to be making brisk profit. In a residential cum semi-commercial area like Dhanmondi, with both popular and not-so popular caterers available, it's often hard for customers to choose between all the options available. However, some of the stores have provided iftar during this season for years at a stretch and have captured the hearts of regular customers. Keeping all that in mind, we take a look at some of the popular yet quality food outlets for iftar in Dhanmondi…. Star Kebab has been a trusted name when it comes to iftar, for Dhanmondi dwellers for quite a few years now. The haleem is famous amongst most people around, and this is reflected in the fact that it's normally sold out an hour before iftar. The haleem is the main attraction, but sometimes they fail to provide an adequate amount of meat, so when you place your order make sure you ask for additional meat. The haleem is available in different quantities. Gelapi is the other attraction at Star kebab. They serve those mota gelapi's and one is most likely to obtain fresh warm ones if you ask for it. A kilogram of gelapi costs Tk.60. Apart from these items, Star kebab has different rolls including their famous kebab roll, shashliks and a variety of other traditional iftar items.

Opposite to Star Kebab lies its archrival, La Bamba. La Bamba has similar iftar particulars and seems to always be in competition with Star Kebab, whether its iftar or not. However, there are other stores right next to Star Kebab and they serve the usual iftar items as well, starting from the haleem to the gelapi.

Further down the road at Satmasjid road, in Road no.2 beside Rifles square lies Ambala, which has been catering its iftar with a lot of popularity. The doi bora is the most popular attraction here amongst customers and the haleem is good too. However, they have quite a few other items to choose from, besides their popular sweets.
Agora now serves iftar in its new Iftar corner. Both the chicken haleem and mutton haleem are very popular as well as amazingly different from that of other shops. Agora has definitely brought in a new taste and this is quite noteworthy.

Chilis Restaurant in Mirpur road has been serving iftar for quite a while now. They specialise in bringing in a chinese
and thai touch to iftar. However, their doi bora is highly

Amongst other stores in Dhanmondi, Thumri, the new joint in Satmasjid road, and Wimpy's in Road no.7 also stand out. They both bring in traditional as well as different varieties of iftar.

We move away from Dhanmondi now, with emphasising the place where tradition seems to be at its peak when it comes to iftar- Puraan Dhaka.

Iftar at Puraan Dhaka

Traditional food has no better place than Puraan Dhaka itself. As a matter of fact, large stores like Star Kebab get their haleem from their Puraan Dhaka branch and this reflects the quality of the food. The best place to visit for iftar in Puraan Dhaka is definitely Chalk or Chalk Bazaar. It is called the iftar capital in Dhaka and it definitely lives up to it. Firstly, going the hardship of getting to Chalk is significantly reduced if one walks or takes a rickshaw there. Taking a car shall make you stay over in the old part of the city for hours at a stretch, since the roads are narrow and there is always a bad case of traffic jam.

The atmosphere even two hours before iftar at Chalk is buzzing. People run along from one end of the road to the other, and the place is so crowded that it's even a hazard to walk along. However, the food makes up for all the inconvenience caused. The whole of Chalk is converted into a colourful street, the colour coming from all the varieties of food.

The only way of enjoying the iftar delights at Chalk itself is going into a hotel or restaurant after you have picked up your iftar from all the vendors. You can only enjoy a place to sit, if you order a biriyani or tehari or whatever is on the hotel menu. Contrastingly, taking the food back home spoils the flavour at times.

The ghoogni and booter dal mixture is popular amongst Puraan Dhaka residents, and one of the main attractions at Chalk is the bhoona chicken, dipped in this "secret" sauce. Most of the restaurants have their own haleem but the one that stands out is the one at New Amania Hotel. This restaurant cum hotel is also a decent place to get a seat, as their biriyani is good and is priced at Tk.15 for half a plate. However, the biriyani tastes more like tehari.

Amongst other items, the kebab definitely stands out. There is just one small kebab store in the road and it is placed opposite to the mosque. An old man sells this kebab and he does not have a proper shop but instead just grills it just beside the road. The kebabs include the normal sheek kebab and khiri kebab. Both the kebabs have surprisingly wonderful tastes and are differently marinated and this adds a diverse flavour to it. At the end of the day, the kebabs itself are worth the visit. Each is priced at Tk.10. The old man claims to be selling kebabs at the same spot for over 20 years. There are also different readymade kebabs along the road.

The gelapi at Chalk is the most appealing. However if one wants to witness or taste a variety of gelapi's chalk is the place to come. They have incredibly large gelapis and contrastingly small thin gelapis. The sweets here are very popular amongst all the customers and are quite cheap with a kilogram of gelapi priced at Tk.48.

For an amazing experience and a mouthwatering treat,
Puraan Dhaka during iftar should definitely be high on any list. Although the place is away from the main city, the journey adds to the spice of the whole occasion.

By Mishel Ali Khan

Photo: Munem Wasif

creative jewellery

Ornaments are a woman's best fashion accessory; let's face it, there's nothing that equals their ability to enhance our beauty and attractiveness.

Creative artisan Abrarur Rahman has given these accessories a new look altogether. His creations are totally different from the run-of-the mill jewellery we're used to seeing. You could say he creates exclusive jewellery that's unavailable anywhere else in the Deshi market. What makes his designs different is the fact that he never uses pure gold. The gold is mixed with silver, and he combines precious stones with wooden beads. The colour schemes follow the international colour trends, and the ornaments are designed to complement the clothes we wear.

Abrarur Rahman has had this fascination for designing jewellery since his childhood. He used to design ornaments for the female members of his family, who were simply crazy about the stuff. His creativity wasn't limited to jewellery alone. Furniture items, decoration pieces, wall mats, pottery, and wooden boxes, all had his creative artistry lavished upon them. However, his main interests centre on designing jewellery. The motifs he uses are often inspired from birds, flowers, and other
components of Nature.

With gold-plated jewellery, he uses ruby, amethyst, sapphire and garnet. His colour schemes are very eye-catching. Maroon, aqua blue, white, purple, blue-black, magenta, red, etc, are colours he uses frequently in his selection of stones. These stones are used as beads in his exclusive designs, which blend the modern and traditional to create a fabulous fusion effect.

Abrarur's jewellery mainly centres on ornaments for special occasions. Every year, he releases an exclusive collection for Eid. His first exhibition, held at Alliance Francaise in 1999, attracted a lot of attention. In the years since, his Eid collections have been steadily gaining popularity. His clients crave the uniqueness and the innovation in his designs. However, Abrarur prefers not to be commercial. He works on his choice pieces, and releases his collections in his own style every Eid. However, clients can order special jewellery for occasions such as weddings. His made-to-order designs match the outfits to be worn at the occasions. Another interesting testimony to his painstaking attention to detail is the fact that he takes into account the face shape and complexion of the person who will be wearing his designs, before he actually makes them. How's that for exclusivity?

Abrarur Rahman is a pioneer in the field of designer jewellery, in a country where everyone depends on foreign imports, and where local craftsmen have been following the same designs year after year. He has made a good name for himself with his costume jewellery. You can now catch this artisan's latest collection at his Eid exhibition, which is to be held at the WVA auditorium (Dhanmondi) between November 13-18, between 3pm and 8pm. This year's collection will feature light ornaments for adults, and a special collection of costume jewellery for teens. There will also be a lot of pendants and chokers. Price range will be between Tk 2600-12000. So if you want ornaments that'll really make you stand out, head straight towards the exhibition.

By Sultana Yasmin Translated by Sabrina F. Ahmad



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