It’s very unlikely to order Indian food at Cox’s Bazar however, after my recent trip there, I choose to believe otherwise. In fact, it is widely believed that Cox’s Handi is far better than that of Dhaka’s thus, when a friend recommended me to visit Koyla near Laboni Beach for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity.
Koyla’s location is exactly next to the entrance of Laboni Beach yet despite being in such a prime location, they were quite empty at 12.30pm. They have rooftop, indoor, and outdoor seating space and since it was quite windy, we chose to sit outside. You’d require taking off your shoes to sit on their elevated garden seats. The waiters were quick to provide us with a menu and to our surprise, they had naan/paratha available on their menu. Why was it surprising for us? Because we had been on the hunt to find them at Cox’s but all the places had them available after 5pm only. We placed an order for Chicken Reshmi Butter Masala, Garlic Naan, Sweet Lassi, and a Lemonade.
The order arrived a little after 20 minutes but we were happy with the presentation. Not only was the food served in antiques, the Lassi arrived in a Matka (earthen pot). We were also served some salad and achaar as condiments. The Naan was buttery for sure but what upset me a little was its flakiness since I prefer them to be slightly plump. However, it was the succulent chicken that won me over. These bite sized creamy boneless chicken was unlike any reshmi chicken I’ve had. It was soft and melted in my mouth due to its proper marinating with curd. Reshmi Chicken tends to have a mild, sweet, and nutty taste and this dish delivered it all!
The Lassi was overpriced for what was offered. Of course, the presentation was a nice touch but in terms of taste, the Lassi was too thick to be consumed with a regular straw and there was nothing extraordinary about it either. The Lemonade was a much better choice compared to this Lassi as at least it was refreshing.
I am so glad that during this trip, I chose to be spontaneous with my picks of where to eat. Most tourists tend to stick to deshi food everyday (which is completely fine). However, it is about time we give a chance to the other cuisines this place has to offer. Koyla will definitely be a place I will make sure to visit every time I’m in Cox’s Bazar and you should make sure you do too. If not for their Indian food, you may give their Bangla food a try at least.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - I had been seeing a buzz around the interior of this new restaurant in Dhanmondi called Little Asia. Upon entering you’ll notice a warm lighting throughout the place with some seats next to the windows receiving natural lighting. We took some time to look around and finally picked a place to sit.
To start off, the menu was immense. Since they are named Little Asia, they wanted to bring in food from different parts of Asia. I went for the two dishes that everyone had been posting pictures of: Chicken Maki Roll and Nasi Goreng.
The concept of Japanese Maki roll is used for their Chicken appetizer. A layer of shredded chicken breast wraps capsicum, mushroom and cheese and is later fried with a layer of breadcrumbs. The presentation of the dish really pops out until you realize that the bed of sauce is actually store-bought ketchup and not marinara. However, somehow this dish tasted good! The coating was crispy and the cheesy interior is something no one can resist. The reason why I think I enjoyed the dish is because it tasted quite familiar to the evening snacks I have at home which have bread crumbs as their coating.
The Nasigoreng didn’t really look appetizing but the flavors of the rice really won me over. The smoky and aromatic taste of the rice made the rice a meal itself. I could binge on it without any sides however, 2 chicken satay, a poached egg, salad, and chips are also provided with this meal. The rice itself was so good that the sides really didn’t make much of a difference to me. They also were out of the typical Indonesian chips that they tend to serve on regular days and thus, we were provided with packaged chips. The sambal had quite a kick to it but yet failed to be close to the authentic one in terms of color and consistency.
Other than that, I really liked their Halal Bar which had an array of nonalcoholic drinks. We ordered the Blueberry Yoghurt and Nutty Vanilla Freddo which was a new addition. I wasn’t particularly pleased with any of the thickness. The Blueberry Yoghurt had a great potential to be a must-have drink but the consistency of the drink was a let down for me. As for the Freddo, it was nothing impressive and barely had any Nutty taste unlike the name suggests.
For me, Little Asia has some good dishes but some very odd ones. If they maintain the taste of the rice of their Nasigoreng, I will recommend it to whoever asks me for a place for an Indonesian meal.
By: Ifreet Taheea
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - With Uttara being the new hub for almost every restaurant and cafe to consider expanding to, the main restaurants there tend to get hidden. Fat Joe’s is one such burger (and pizza) joint that not many people are aware of.
To start off, if you are looking for a premium burger, this is not your place. This is just an upgraded version of the messy burgers you typically find at most restaurants these days. The location of Fat Joe’s is inside Heart World and the interior is quite simple if you ask me. Their menu consists of pizzas, burgers, sides, poutine, and wings. We ordered the Molten Chic, Cruncheese, and Signature Pizza and for sides we had the Buffalo Wild Wings, and Onion Rings. Now began the waiting period, it took them quite a long time to serve however, once we received our orders, the portions seemed to be quite big.
My burger was the Cruncheese and I, being an anti-messy burger person, crave it till this date. The burger had a well-seasoned beef patty as well as a block of cheese, coated with breadcrumbs, and then deep fried. As soon as I took a bite, the cheese oozed out and soon I was devouring the entire thing. What really stands out in this burger is the use of green chili mixed sauce. The spiciness really helps in giving the milky texture of the mozzarella a kick. The Molten Chic’s patty was really juicy. Despite being a thick chunk, they managed to not overcook the chicken. The other condiments in the burger though were not working with the chicken. The mayo was way too sweet to go with the chicken patty.
The Signature Pizza was something that still gives me nightmares. With a base as thick as a loaf of bread and meat which weren’t cooked well, the overall taste of the pizza was just disappointing. We took a bite only and left the rest of the pizza untouched. As for the sides, the onion rings were very basic. What I didn’t like is that the batter was not coated evenly leaving some onions exposed. The wings were way to vinegary. I’d prefer that they would deep fry the wings and then coat them in a sauce as they were soggy when we had them.
My overall experience with Fat Joe’s has been mostly bad. Other than the Cruncheese, I wouldn’t really recommend anyone to try that place out. You might as well spend a similar amount at Mad Chef or Khana’s in Uttara.
By: Ifreet Taheea
Sanaa Sept 9 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Yemen's girls are very skilled in cooking "Bint al-Sahn," a large flaky pastry kneaded from a mixture of flour, water, eggs, sugar and clarified butter that gives the dish a shiny golden color.
The dough is sprinkled with nigella seeds. The dish is served warm with natural Yemeni honey drizzled on top.
Young people adore this sweet dish. This is the must-served dish in any engagement and wedding parties, especially in the northern parts of the country.
Amal Mutahar, a sociology teacher, told Xinhua that Bint al-Sahn is the most famous dish of the Yemeni cuisine, and is part of the traditional culture in all Yemeni family events.
Amt-Alrzak Jhaf, a social activist and specialist in the Yemeni folk food, said the origin of this dish is the historic Old Sanaa City in the heart of the capital Sanaa.
According to many grandmothers in the Old Sanaa City, Bint al-Sahn traditionally used to be a must-served dish at engagement parties, in which the mother of fiancé asked about the fiancée's cooking and housekeeping skills.
In response, the mother of fiancee presents Bint al-Sahn dish to the mother of fiance, saying while pointing at the dish: "please look at this dish and taste it ... the girl's skills are here in this dish, which she baked it by herself."
For this reason, the dish was named literally after this tradition: "the girl is in the dish."
According to Amt-Alrzak, this dish requires skill and experience in kneading the dough and forming its thin and smooth layers.
"Whenever the layers are 'smooth and transparent' inside the dish, they are evidence of the girl's skill," she wrote in her Facebook.
Bint al-Sahn is still a traditional standard to this day between many Yemeni families to determine girls' cooking skills.
Conservative Yemeni society still adheres to its customs and traditions that prevent boys from mixing with girls in schools, and does not allow the boy to meet the girl during the engagement period.
The surface of the dish is usually decorated with pieces of dough, in the form of welcome words or other love messages.
Bint al-Sahn is traditionally served to the guests at the middle of the main course of the lunch, usually after the dishes of Shafoot, rice with meat, potatoes with vegetables and before the Saltah dish. However, the Yemeni new generation prefer to eat it at the end of lunch as a dessert dish.
Bashir al-Sulwi, journalist, told Xinhua that Bint al-Sahn has a special place in his heart "despite pains of war and economic blockade." Bashir refers to the humanitarian crisis and civil war between Houthis and Saudi-led coalition forces.
"Whenever I eat Bint al-Sahn, it always reminds me an intimate message from my sweetheart," he recalled.
Although the restaurant opened quite some time ago, Tuscany hasn’t really managed to leave a mark when it comes to serving Italian food. Sadly, my visit there recently did little to change that.
The interior of the place was very confusing with some areas receiving natural light and some completely dark. To add to that, the restaurant was empty at lunch time. The chef himself came to receive our order. The gentleman told us about his journey to becoming a chef in Italy and finally coming back to cook here.
They start you off with some buns. The butter had to be asked for which is very weird as the buns were just plain ones. We ordered Gamberetti All Aglio-E-Olio, Funghi Pizza, and Farfalle Con Pollo-E-Funghi i.e a seafood dish, a pizza, and pasta.
With prawns sauteed in garlic chili peppers and cooked in lemon & butter sauce, Gamberetti All Aglio-E-Oliowas a delight! The prawns stood out with their redish pink tails. But what really stole the show was the spinach in lemon and butter sauce with its richness. Soak some toasted bread with the sauce and you'll be swoon away with the velvety texture.
If an Italian restaurant can’t get a classic Margherita or Funghi Pizza right, then I am sorry but I am not going back there. Tuscany messed up terribly in delivering a decent thin crust Funghi pizza. The crust was thin and didn't fall apart, however the tomato sauce base tasted like the ones you'd have at random snack shops. I couldn't smell the oregano or any herbs and the quantity of cheese was also very poor. The only good aspect would be the use of Chanterelle and Button Mushrooms because of their meatiness and it’s quite rare to use them in pizzas found at Dhaka.
The Farfalle Con Pollo-e-Funghi contained strips of chicken breasts, mixed mushroom cooked in a creamy white sauce. A dash of nutmeg is what set the pasta apart from the ones I've tasted in Dhaka. The creamy sauce tasted quite similar to the one of gamberetti (minus the spinach). Now moving on to the negative of this dish, the chicken tasted undercooked. The presentation of the dish wasn't proper at all and at one point the pastas started getting clumpy.
The sad thing with Dhaka is that nowadays, too many restaurants claim to be authentic whereas their dishes are hardly close to it. Tuscany is such a place where every dish screams fusion. They are created in such a way that it’d cater to Bengali taste buds and still I don’t know whether I’d go back to that place when places like Bella Italia exist.