Sticky Rice

Some Lao say that four Lao can eat a large basket of sticky rice. I think it looks more like a small village could eat from a large basket the size of a carryon suitcase.

Various sizes of rice serving baskets for sale at Phousi Market in Luang Prabang, Laos.

To make sticky rice in Laos, you soak, rinse, and steam the rice over boiling water. It is hard not to buy the special rice cooker and basket for a few hundred thousand Kip (1,000,000 Kip = $120).

Sticky rice being steamed in a conical basket.

Wedding and Christmas Lights All Year Round

In Bangladesh there are many happy (and bittersweet) opportunities for decorating the house with lights. For a farewell party last week, professional lighting guys arrived in the morning and strung (and flung) lights on the trees, gate, and house.

Draping lights off the roof.

There is a famous company here in Dhaka called Banani Decorators who charge around 6,000 Taka per day ($80) but my friend has a friend who knows a guy who is the guy… 3,500 Taka ($45) for the first day and 2,500 Taka for the second day. This price includes labor and lights. Always be friendly and ask around. Find out who the “nodes” of the social world and “get up and go” kind of people are… they will set you up. Plus, a proactive type personality will probably also help you with the music, logistics, etc… and even be a good friend.

The magical result.
Tape and lights.
Weaving lights through the tree.

Good times here in Dhaka.

The "Dhaka Shot" of the lights...

Restaurants in Dhaka – Part One

Going out to eat is a hobby of mine (some people collect stamps; I collect restaurants)… in the next year, I hope to go to 100 restaurants in Dhaka.

Eating sheeshlik with rahmali bread at BBQ Tonite

Until there’s a website or app for restaurants in Dhaka, these are the ones I have been to (and my own rating system):

BBQ Tonight (11/13 stars): meat on stick, three kinds of fresh flat bread, Afghan/Bangla/Pakistani/Indian food – must try: the “rahmali” or “handkerchief” bread.

Thai Kitchen (8/13): Thai cooked by a Thai cook – must try: chicken dumplings steamed.

Dhaba (7/13): Bengali street food in a cafe – must try: “Phoughka” which are chick peas in dough shells.

Roll Express (8/13): Bangladeshi filled flat bread – must try: dhosa filled with potatoes.

Oh Calcutta (8/13): West Bengali food – must try: Luchi/puri = fried bread. Elegant interior and good for business clientele.

Bamboo Shoot (9/13): Chinese owned Chinese food. Must try: fried dumplings.

Spaghetti Jazz (7/13): Italian. Must try: homemade spaghetti with garlic and chili flakes.

Caspian (6/13): Persian. Must try: Baklava bites.

El Toro (3/13): Mexican. Must try: going on a night when they have avocados.

Soi 71 (7/13): Thai. Must try: the play room in the basement. Good for business clientele.

The Steakhouse (8/13): Steak. Must try: Australian beef medium rare.

Khazana (7/13): Indian. Must try: the naan? This place is the place recommended by Indian business clientele.

Heritage (7/13): Indian/Bangladeshi. Must try: the buffet lunch for 450 Taka? Also popular with business clientele.

Don Giovanni (4/13): Italian. Must try: fried cheese.

Wasabi at the Bellagio (5/13): Japanese. Must try: a drink at the bar. One of the few places with a liquor license. Popular with business clientele.

Le Souffle at the Bellagio (6/13): French. Must try: the red mirrored bathroom. One of the few places with a liquor license. Popular with business clientele. The most expensive restaurant in Dhaka. 5,000 Taka for dinner for one.

Arirang (3/13): Korean. Must try: some other place.

Koreana (7/13): Korean. Must try: jigae.

Sura (3/13): Korean. Must try: shabu shabu.

King’s Confectionery (6/13): Baked goods. Sells chicken with curry. Must try: Croissant filled with Nutella and cream.

Movenpick (6/13): Ice cream, Swiss style. Also serves one sandwich type. Must try: a waffle under your ice cream.

Northend Coffee Roasters (10/13): Coffee and baked goods. Must try: cinnamon buns warm from the oven.

Best Western (2/13): Hotel food. Must try: the smoky bar on the roof?

Northend Coffee Roasters Cinnamon Bun…

That’s it for now except for a few local places without names.

~ Food with friends tastes best. ~

The Organic Grocery of Dhaka – Southwest Gardens

Road 108, House 11, Apt. 102 on the second floor.
Road 108, House 11, Apt. 201 on the second floor so behind the tree.

*** As of August 2013, the new location is Road 108, House 11, Apt. 201*** Organic vegetables in Dhaka? YES! And organic fish, eggs, flour, and rice. The shop is spare in decor with fridges filled with green onions, basil, spinach, etc. The shop has kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage, etc. There is a freezer for sea bass, snapper, chicken and so on. I asked the grocer how often he gets his goods delivered from the farm (located to the south on the riverbank) and he said that the delivery is fresh every day.

Flurry photo of the sign by the door to Southwest Gardens.
Flurry photo of the sign by the door to Southwest Gardens.

Tucked away (like many things here in Dhaka) on a road parallel with Gulshan Avenue behind where the Wonderland amusement park once was located, is the organic grocer of Dhaka. The previous employee, Laurence, has been sent off to India to open the shop there. The shop is located in an apartment building. You cannot park in the building but there is plenty of parking on the street. The shop is on the same floor as a spa with has red signs. It is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9-6. The new location has less character and appears to have a tailor connected to it.

Handwritten address... with phone number.
Handwritten address… with phone number.