Long Out in the Country in Denmark

A plum ready for plucking.

The countryside in Denmark is never far from a town and spending a few days “long out in the countryside” as the Danes say… is easily achieved.

A 300-year old thatch roof farmhouse in modern colors.

Good homemade food, a few fruits from the garden, and a wood burning oven make for a “cozy” experience (the Danes love to be in a state of coziness).

Strong cheese called “Old Ole” on crisp bread.

Buttered Bread in Denmark

Four halves: potato, pork roast, fish filet, and “vet’s night snack.”

Open faced sandwiches are called “buttered bread” in Denmark. I have some favorites. It is harder and harder to find a place where you can buy ready-to-eat sandwiches but there are still a few places where this can still be done. One goes into the store, takes a number, and when it’s one’s turn, one orders “four halves” or however many sandwiches one wants. Then you can order them by name if you know what they are called (only some have special names like “the vet’s night snack”) but mostly, you can point.

Gravad lox sandwich made at home.

One can, of course, make sandwiches at home. I love the Danish open face sandwich because just like Peking Duck or a Korean Bulgogi lettuce wrap, there is something about the alchemy of certain flavors together that play my taste buds like a xylophone.

Where to Buy Household Stuff in Dhaka

Shopping directly from the artist’s studio is the most unique experience (but more about that in a later post) for acquiring household goods. Otherwise, since there is no Ikea, Target, and Pier One in Dhaka, these are some of the main stores where expats buy goods for the home. Plus clothes, gifts, etc. Here is a list of some of the places where I shop.

This handmade bowl and carved table are from Tayabuzzaman Topu’s studio.

Arong: A chain with many outlets. Located in Gulshan 1 and Uttara, etc. Like a Pier One. Everything from curtains, doohickies, clothes, shoes, plates, etc.

Jatra, 60E Kamal Ataturk, Banani, Dhaka-1213: On Kemal Ataturk. A place to get saris, hand made paper, rugs, bracelets, gifts, doohickies, etc.

Aranya: Same as Jatra and located in same building.

Decor Idee: Rangs Arcade, 153 A Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan 2: A custom made 70 inch long fabric hanger for 3,300 Taka. They text messaged me when it was ready at about 10 days.

Probhatina: Down in Dhanmondi somewhere. Lovely soft material and other items. Mostly Clothes. A little snooty shop.

Kumudini: on Gulshan. Several stories high and sells clothes, cloth, and some household stuff.

Carlotta Sisters: In Bashundura. Call to make a reservation. They are nuns who teach students to make lace. Tablecloths, aprons, runners, napkins, etc.

Then there are the markets: DIT 1, DIT 2, and New Market. And the “malls” like: Bashundhara and a place next to the flagship Arong in Uttara. Lastly, there are the roads: Road 11 in Banani is filled with shops and restaurants. The markets will give you the “local color” more than the newer stores.

A salesman at New Market.

Bangladeshi Home Cooking

Eggplant, fish, squash, potato, taro root mash, gourd, peas, red spinach, beans, taro leaf…

A secret was revealed to me… plain home cooking Bangladeshi style. Every time I’ve been to a Bangladeshi home, I’ve been served beef, chicken, biryani, and other bounty of the table. The food in Bangladeshi restaurants is fancy as well. I just want home cooking. Apparently, home cooking involves lots of “mash” made from different vegetables. Like in most cultures, this is not considered good enough for guests.

Veggies, shrimp curry, eggplant dip, pomelo and apple salad…

Finally, a Bangladeshi friend of mine understood me and my out of town guests (it makes me really happy when this level of cultural understanding happens) and he invited us to dinner. He made us “ordinary” food of vegetables. And more vegetables. I loved it. We had taro root in three different ways, tamarind sauce, squash, peas, eggplant, potatoes, fresh chapati, rice, beans, shrimp, and so much more. My favorite was the white taro mash with chiles. My guests were thrilled to be invited to a Bangladeshi home on the very night of their arrival from the other side of the world. I’m glad to have been given a friend who so comprehends me. He explained to me that even he likes to drop in on friends so that he can get real home cooking.

Taro mash. These mashes are typical, apparently.

So now I’ve got to learn this skill. More taro root for me please!