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Impressions from first visit to Dhaka after 5 years

bluesky

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He’s blackpilled maybe :partay:

He isn’t wrong, we seriously don’t look for taxis outside, we just open Ola/Uber app and book a cab and then its just a pick and drop service. Which is something which happens anywhere else as well.
In Tokyo, it does not happen the way Indians describe their catching taxis. People go out and catch taxis on the roads. Some taxis refuse to go because the destination is out of the driver's way.

It is certainly the way in all the developed countries. However, there are cases of handicapped or sick people who use the Apps to call taxis.

Here, the 3rd world Indians are talking as if they live on Mars, and Taxis go there to pick them up by a phone call. Exceptional things are here talked up as if that is very normal.

Indians remain big mouth as always.
 

peagle

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One words: Chaos

Dhaka is not something one can comprehend

Chaos is something I've felt in almost all developing cities, except perhaps in northern Malaysia, and that was over 20 years ago, they must have improved even more by now.

I hope you wont mind, but other then Chaos, what was your secondary impression.
 

bluesky

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@Bilal9 and @Destranator, please ask all your Indian friends to watch the video of old but vibrant Dhaka below and compare it with their ugly city called old Delhi. If Old Dhaka is a Heaven, Old Delhi is a Hell on this Earth.

 
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itsanufy

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View attachment 810134
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Super good. Made my weekend. Dim sum was, I would say, better than what you get in most pricey places in Guangzhou.

In Guangzhou, out of all places, it's surprisingly hard to get normal dim sum. Half of all places are outright crap, and another is super overpriced, and still mostly mediocre.

And... finally, after 3 years.... :cry::cry::cry:😭😭😭

View attachment 810138
And you liked our deshi style chinese.
Man it was a nightmare for me to eat proper chinese in China.
 

itsanufy

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In Tokyo, it does not happen the way Indians describe their catching taxis. People go out and catch taxis on the roads. Some taxis refuse to go because the destination is out of the driver's way.

It is certainly the way in all the developed countries. However, there are cases of handicapped or sick people who use the Apps to call taxis.

Here, the 3rd world Indians are talking as if they live on Mars, and Taxis go there to pick them up by a phone call. Exceptional things are here talked up as if that is very normal.

Indians remain big mouth as always.
Actually we don't have to call, all we need is a smartphone. This service is available in cities and tourist spots, for villages there are cab service agencies where you have to call to book.
You can cross check this information more than a million of our people visit India on different purposes.

But has rickshaw gone , no. Many of them are converted to eclectic ones, but provides last mile connectivity in most of the cities.

Noida is the rikshaw capital of world after Delhi.
 

PoondolotoPandalum

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View attachment 810134
View attachment 810135

Super good. Made my weekend. Dim sum was, I would say, better than what you get in most pricey places in Guangzhou.

In Guangzhou, out of all places, it's surprisingly hard to get normal dim sum. Half of all places are outright crap, and another is super overpriced, and still mostly mediocre.

And... finally, after 3 years.... :cry::cry::cry:😭😭😭

View attachment 810138


Probably a Chinese chef, or trained by a Chinese chef in Dhaka. There are a few around Dhaka. But still, I did not expect Dhaka to have a good Dim Sum, which is a suprise. Back when I was growing up in 90s Dhaka, Chinese restaurants were just another word for fancy restaurants. The food was more thai than Chinese

Have you tried the local cuisine? From my experience, Chinese folks tend to give South Asian cuisine a miss. Similarly, South Asian folks aren't that enthusiastic about authentic Chinese cuisine. Personally, Chinese and South Asian cuisine is some of the finest on earth. They both have their place, and the world is richer for it. It's impossible to choose between the two.

Having said that, both sides (at least to my tastebuds) have their own specialties:

Chinese: Seafood (1000X, lobster, crab, exotic fish, squid, octopus), roast duck (or better, goose), Dim Sum, hand-beaten noodles, mastery of steamed food, vegetable preparation, and dishes. Those are the type of Chinese food I eat, I'm sure there are many more to discover (i will be posted to Dalian at some point). Generally, I feel the Chinese are a bit more adventurous when it comes to food

South Asians: Better at rice, bread, desserts, anything with milk, and probably better at preparing meat, particularly beef (a Bengali specialty). I find Chinese meat quality to be a bit generic, with the exception of Roast Duck. Overall, South Asian cuisine is perhaps a bit more conservative

There are some surprising overlaps. If anyone grew up in 90s Dhaka and remembers Swiss Bakery or Fuang Foods (trendy bakery chain), the products they sell were almost identical to stuff you'll find in Chinese bakeries. When I went to Chinese bakeries in Singapore, I was immediately reminded of my childhood tastes. Bengali's eat a lot of Pitha. And some of our rice-based Pitha's are quite similar to certain types of Chinese fitters. Especially Bhappa Pittha. The Chinese version is virtually identical
 

Bilal9

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Probably a Chinese chef, or trained by a Chinese chef in Dhaka. There are a few around Dhaka. But still, I did not expect Dhaka to have a good Dim Sum, which is a suprise. Back when I was growing up in 90s Dhaka, Chinese restaurants were just another word for fancy restaurants. The food was more thai than Chinese

Have you tried the local cuisine? From my experience, Chinese folks tend to give South Asian cuisine a miss. Similarly, South Asian folks aren't that enthusiastic about authentic Chinese cuisine. Personally, Chinese and South Asian cuisine is some of the finest on earth. They both have their place, and the world is richer for it. It's impossible to choose between the two.

Having said that, both sides (at least to my tastebuds) have their own specialties:

Chinese: Seafood (1000X, lobster, crab, exotic fish, squid, octopus), roast duck (or better, goose), Dim Sum, hand-beaten noodles, mastery of steamed food, vegetable preparation, and dishes. Those are the type of Chinese food I eat, I'm sure there are many more to discover (i will be posted to Dalian at some point). Generally, I feel the Chinese are a bit more adventurous when it comes to food

South Asians: Better at rice, bread, desserts, anything with milk, and probably better at preparing meat, particularly beef (a Bengali specialty). I find Chinese meat quality to be a bit generic, with the exception of Roast Duck. Overall, South Asian cuisine is perhaps a bit more conservative

There are some surprising overlaps. If anyone grew up in 90s Dhaka and remembers Swiss Bakery or Fuang Foods (trendy bakery chain), the products they sell were almost identical to stuff you'll find in Chinese bakeries. When I went to Chinese bakeries in Singapore, I was immediately reminded of my childhood tastes. Bengali's eat a lot of Pitha. And some of our rice-based Pitha's are quite similar to certain types of Chinese fitters. Especially Bhappa Pittha. The Chinese version is virtually identical

You have to realize that Bangla as an area in the early days had a lot of traders and exchanges of travelers - not only from the rest of India and Indo-China but also China proper and points much farther away.

I was astonished to know that Soan Papdi (my favorite dessert) was invented in Turkey (Pişmaniye or Pishmaniya) and is also popular in Iran. In Iranian stores you have to go ask for "Peshmak" or "Pashmak" - the root word relation here "hairy" or "Pashm" is clear. The Turkish/Iranian variety is not as greasy as the Indian or Bangladeshi variety (probably introduced during Mughal times in India and Bangladesh).

Here is how they make Pişmaniye in Turkey. Used to be manual but nowadays they have motorized equipment.


There are other foods in Bangladesh (especially breakfast foods and desserts) which have origins overseas - even as far as Portugal/Spain. Firni (Payesh) is very similar to Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding). The addition of rose water is a local customization. In Spain they used orange blossom water as flavoring - because citrus is a common crop in Spain.
 
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Bengal71

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He’s blackpilled maybe :partay:

He isn’t wrong, we seriously don’t look for taxis outside, we just open Ola/Uber app and book a cab and then its just a pick and drop service. Which is something which happens anywhere else as well.

I was in Kolkata 4 years back and extensively used Uber. Also used regular taxis 2/3 times, total scammers they are like most taxi drivers in the subcontinent.
 

PoondolotoPandalum

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You have to realize that Bangla as an area in the early days had a lot of traders and exchanges of travelers - not only from the rest of India and Indo-China but also China proper and points much farther away.

I was astonished to know that Soan Papdi (my favorite dessert) was invented in Turkey (Pişmaniye or Pishmaniya) and is also popular in Iran. In Iranian stores you have to go ask for "Peshmak" or "Pashmak" - the root word relation here "hairy" or "Pashm" is clear. The Turkish/Iranian variety is not as greasy as the Indian or Bangladeshi variety (probably introduced during Mughal times in India and Bangladesh).

Here is how they make Pişmaniye in Turkey. Used to be manual but nowadays they have motorized equipment.


There are other foods in Bangladesh (especially breakfast foods and desserts) which have origins overseas - even as far as Portugal/Spain. Firni (Payesh) is very similar to Arroz Con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding). The addition of rose water is a local customization. In Spain they used orange blossom water as flavoring - because citrus is a common crop in Spain.

There are a lot of items in our cuisine that have a foreign origins.

Believe it or not, green Chilies, which everyone assumes is something native to our subcontinent, never grew up in South Asia until Portuguese traders bought them there from South America.

Examples of foreign cuisines in Bengal household cuisines:

Pudding: French-style creme caramel, extremely common in Bengali households (Eid, dawats, etc). The Bengali and French versions are almost identical. Though French dairy products tend to be superior, they taste a bit better. But the same recipe regardless. Probably another gift of portuguees traders

Blini: Don't know how common it is, but my grandma made a lot of those. It's identical to the Russian style of pancakes, or French crepes.

Churros: Never liked the Bengali version. Then I tried the western version which tasted pretty much the same. Never saw what the fuss was about. It's a boring fried piece of dough

Prawn Malay Curry: The clue is in the name (Malay). Though the Bangladeshi version is a bit different

Russian Salad: At least what I grew up eating. Tastes the same as actual Russian Salad

Plenty more I can't think from the top of my head
 

Paul2

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I hope you wont mind, but other then Chaos, what was your secondary impression.

After a few days, you start seeing some patterns of organisation in all of these — somehow it all works.

Probably a Chinese chef, or trained by a Chinese chef in Dhaka. There are a few around Dhaka. But still, I did not expect Dhaka to have a good Dim Sum, which is a suprise. Back when I was growing up in 90s Dhaka, Chinese restaurants were just another word for fancy restaurants. The food was more thai than Chinese

Have you tried the local cuisine? From my experience, Chinese folks tend to give South Asian cuisine a miss. Similarly, South Asian folks aren't that enthusiastic about authentic Chinese cuisine. Personally, Chinese and South Asian cuisine is some of the finest on earth. They both have their place, and the world is richer for it. It's impossible to choose between the two.

Having said that, both sides (at least to my tastebuds) have their own specialties:

Chinese: Seafood (1000X, lobster, crab, exotic fish, squid, octopus), roast duck (or better, goose), Dim Sum, hand-beaten noodles, mastery of steamed food, vegetable preparation, and dishes. Those are the type of Chinese food I eat, I'm sure there are many more to discover (i will be posted to Dalian at some point). Generally, I feel the Chinese are a bit more adventurous when it comes to food

South Asians: Better at rice, bread, desserts, anything with milk, and probably better at preparing meat, particularly beef (a Bengali specialty). I find Chinese meat quality to be a bit generic, with the exception of Roast Duck. Overall, South Asian cuisine is perhaps a bit more conservative

There are some surprising overlaps. If anyone grew up in 90s Dhaka and remembers Swiss Bakery or Fuang Foods (trendy bakery chain), the products they sell were almost identical to stuff you'll find in Chinese bakeries. When I went to Chinese bakeries in Singapore, I was immediately reminded of my childhood tastes. Bengali's eat a lot of Pitha. And some of our rice-based Pitha's are quite similar to certain types of Chinese fitters. Especially Bhappa Pittha. The Chinese version is virtually identical
As I understood, Chinese restaurants here are belonging to locals who were here from before 1971.

Anybody under 50 from mainland China would've known mandarin.
 

Bilal9

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After a few days, you start seeing some patterns of organisation in all of these — somehow it all works.


As I understood, Chinese restaurants here are belonging to locals who were here from before 1971.

Anybody under 50 from mainland China would've known mandarin.

Well I will recommend two more places to eat in Gulshan,

One is a typical chophouse gourmet burger place (a bit pricey) which is Farmhouse Burger,


The second is Peyala, a Cafe (like Starbucks) slash dessert place (they also serve fast food),


On top of these two - and if you area dessert fiend, there is a Bengali traditional sweets place in Gulshan too.


 

Destranator

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@Paul2, @Bilal9 and others:
My recommendations for you to try out next time you are in Dhaka:

  • Renaissance Dhaka Gulshan Hotel - buffet dinner at Bahar restaurant - Hybrid Bengali/Chinese/Western cuisine but every item cooked to perfection. Dozens of desserts to choose from to top it off. On the expensive side at BDT 7,000 but worth the experience imo (heavily discounted though for certain bank cards) https://www.facebook.com/RenaissanceDhakaGulshan/



  • Chef's Table Gulshan branch - food court with quality restaurants to mix and match from but no ugly heckling that you would experience in other food courts like the one in Jamuna Future Park https://www.facebook.com/chefstablebd/

All located in Gulshan.
 
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UKBengali

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Dhaka is still be kind of a mess now in 2022. It will probably take around the mid-2030s when all the large infrastructure projects are completed and most of the slums are cleared for it to look like a modern metropolis on the same level as cities like Jakarta are now.


@Indos : Are you able to advise on how the slum clearance is going on in Jakarta right now?
 

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