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Kacchi Biryani: The ambrosia of Old Dhaka

It was a Friday afternoon. The monumental city was waiting for us with all its glory and sparkling chaos. Right after entering into Old Dhaka (Puran Dhaka), we felt alive as if nothing there stops even for a second. It was all very happening!

Old Dhaka in all its charm

The unplanned, unorganized buildings smelling like warm shrubbery are archaic, the spindled creepers hanging from some of the houses make the pale concrete alive. None seems to mind the mild dust everywhere as if its presence is essential in adding more noise in this old city. Life is rush here, no time for complaints!

My friend Nitu and I came to Old Dhaka to get a taste of its famous Kacchi Biryani. We had been hearing a lot about it, and finally, we decided to pay Old Dhaka a visit.  

The tale of Kolkata Kacchi Ghor

We entered in the warm room of a renowned local restaurant, Kolkata Kacchi Ghor, with the expectation of having a good plate of Kacchi. The place smelled like butter and thyme. After waiting for four minutes, the aroma came from across the room; oh, they had started serving our biryani on the plates! We were hungry and impatient.  It took them two more minutes to bring the plates to us due to adding the beef Jali Kebab, sliced cucumber salad, a couple of pieces of lime and plum chutney to the side.

Visually, each plate looked like ambrosia.

A plate full of colours: white basmati rice with the pop of mustard yellow, one glazed piece of well-cooked mutton, a big piece of potato perfectly burnt on the sides and the salad and lime added a touch of green. We were salivating. We could not wait anymore and started digging in.

A culinary masterpiece

The non-sticky basmati rice was cooked to perfection. The slow rising steam was forming a piquant cloud. I gave the rice a taste first and right then I realized, it was the most delectable form of rice I had ever tasted. I started tearing the big chunk of well-cooked mutton. It was so tender that the flesh would tear apart just with a light pull of my fingers. My mouth was watering and without wasting a second, I ate it. The succulent meat was bursting out with flavorsome tenderness. Gingerly, while enjoying every mouthful, I started to add all the elements to it.

The potato was the highlight of the plate, the element that brought it all together. The charred sides tasted like salted savoury caramel. The texture in the middle was pulpy and roasted. The beef kebab was filled with goodness. It seemed like the match of the spicy minced beef and sweet chopped onion was made in heaven.

We cleaned up our plates completely. Luckily, there was no elachi on my plate to ruin it all! I was overwhelmed with the taste blast, but it was not over yet.

They came up with glasses of Borhani and small cups of Kheer. We started sipping the borhani slowly. It was like taking a breath of fresh air, we were revived. Conclusively, we wanted to end it with sweetness. I took the kheer with a little plastic spoon. Smelling like luxury, the saffron was very refined and mesmerizing. The sugariness of milk and boiled rice was not overwhelming at all but was light and airy. I was on cloud nine after finishing it. It was a FEAST.

A dash of old Dhaka hospitality

We went to the counter to pay the bills. The manager was sitting there. He had a handlebar mustache and a head full of thick dark hair. He looked at us curiously and with a big smile he said, “I can tell you guys loved the food, didn’t you?” We nodded joyfully. “We sure did and you will see us again soon!” replied Nitu. He laughed and said “Don’t forget to order the mutton leg roast next time!”

It is the hospitality that cannot be bought, and it can be found everywhere here in Old Dhaka. The friendly faces, the generosity and the cordiality; the ‘people’ is what differentiates Old Dhaka from another old busy city.

That day we came back home with little more than a satisfied tummy; a happy heart.

The Food Ranger, Trevor James recently visited Bangladesh and our hearts could only take so much!

We Bangladeshis love to host guests. Especially if they are foreigners, we love to show them around our culture. In fact, we take a certain pride in it. And if the guest is a celebrity traveler and food enthusiast like Trevor James, a.k.a The Food Ranger, you can only imagine our excitement!

That’s right, Trevor recently came to Bangladesh and hopped on a culinary journey of trying pani-puris at TSC to dipping his wrists in bowls of Mejban beef in Chittagong. And goes without saying that he absolutely loved the Bangladeshi cuisine. (I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t? Right?)

Okay, who is Trevor James?

If you don’t know who the Food Ranger is, here’s a little schooling. Trevor James is a traveler and a photographer from British Columbia. He travels all around the world trying authentic local cuisines and making food videos. His YouTube channel offers a unique window to the street foods around the world. His fans tune in to watch him biting on tacos in Mexico city to trying handmade noodles in Chinese streets. And so far, his unique style of video making and traveling has earned him features in The Guardian and The Forbes.

For the love of food!

On January 21st, his fans on Instagram discovered him, to their surprise, in Nirob hotel, munching on 20 types of bhortas! A quick stalk revealed that he was in Bangladesh for two weeks and would try everything from the local street foods in Puran Dhaka to authentic cuisines of Chittagong.

We knew our food is the best in the world, we just needed this validation!

Behind the scenes photos from his social media accounts showed him traveling in the lanes of Puran Dhaka, searching for Biriyani, sharing home meals with Bangladeshi families, eating Mejban beef and gushing about it and so much more!

Until he releases his official Bangladesh videos, it’s tough to say exactly what food he tried but its safe to say that he was not disappointed! I mean, he did say he’d come again! We sincerely hope Trevor visits our small country again for the love of its food. We knew our food is the best in the world, we just needed this validation!