7 Street Foods of Dhaka

Written by Farhana Sadia Nity (Bangladesh contributor)

Street food is an important part of Bangladesh’s food culture. The unique and delicious foods are hidden away in narrow streets. People of all ages relax and satisfy their taste buds by having their favourite street delicacies. In Dhaka you will get different types of mouthwatering street foods. If you are a street food lover and relish the experience of new & unique tastes, read on to see what the top 7 popular street foods are in Dhaka.

1.Biryani is a dish full of long-grained biryani rice that will not stick together and has either chicken, mutton or beef pieces which are marinated in hot spices. There is a saying that, “If you are getting married and you don’t have biryani in the wedding dinner then you are not getting married!” You will find  various types of biryanidin Dhaka like haji biryani, chicken biryani, beef biryani, kacchi biryani, dhakaiya kacchi biryani, korma biryani, hilsa biryani amongst other types. Among them kacchi biryani is the most famous. It is extremely tender! Biryani from Dhaka means something very special to the food lovers of all over the world and Dhaka is known for it.

2. Bhel puri is another common street food in Dhaka which is very cheap in price. It is very popular amongst students as it’s a go to meal after school. It is a perfect party snack. Tamarind water (local people call it ‘tok’) is also a part of this dish which adds a unique flavour to the dish. Basically the main ingredients of bhel puri is the mixture of different pulses, various masalas (spices) which bring a sour and spicy taste. “Dhakaiya bhelpuri” is a similar dish that many people enjoy and is an easily available street food in Dhaka.

3.Once upon a time the “kebab” was served in the Mughal courts. Now a days it  has transformed into a common street food in Southasia. The smoky, char-grilled aroma and melt-in-your-mouth texture can easily get you hooked. People from the elite class to the lower income classes, from all ages enjoy the different kebabs. People eat it with puri (fried pita) or luchi (pita). In “puran Dhaka,” you will find a variety of kebabs like shami kebab, seekh kebab, jali kebab, muthi kebab, galouti ke bab, boti kebab, tikka kebab etc. Kebabs are typically cooked on a skewer over fire, some kebab dishes are fried in a pan or baked in oven or prepared as a stew. Nevertheless, the kebab is classic all over Southasia and the Mughuls have left their mark through a dish which the kings ate.

4.Haleem is undoubtedly one of the most common snacks in Dhaka. In fact, iftar (breaking of fast) during Ramadan is never so exciting and complete without a bowl of Haleem! This dish is super satisfying. This dish is enjoyed not only in Ramadan but also throughout the year. Haleem is made of wheat, barley, meat (usually minced meat of beef, mutton or chicken), different types of lentils and spices. It is slow-cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste like consistency. The recipe has two parts; first part involves the cooking of meat and grains separately and the last part is mixing of these two completely separate items. Haleem is served with coriander leaves, lemon wedges, chopped ginger, green chilli and fried onion. Sometimes it is served with naan or any kind of bread.

5.Falooda is a sweet and appetizing dessert. Mainly, it is mixed with a lot of ingredients including sweets and fruits. It is prepared with a mix of fruits,  basil seed, jelly pieces, almonds, raisins, sago pearls along with milk and ice cream. This cold desert is a very popular dessert for all aged people and enjoyable on every occasion. It is a signature dessert of Dhaka. The use of jelly of milk and ice cream defines the taste of the Falooda. Falooda really does taste as good as it looks! It contains high levels of energy, carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fibers, fat & calcium as well.

6. Doi Chira is a sweet yogurt. The doi in the doi chira is the sweet yogurt. Doi itself is very healthy as well as a tasty dessert to eat. It is made from milk. It is traditional and can be found in any sweet shop. Basically, Doi chira is prepared with chira, sugar, banana, and fruits. In general, the chira is kept in the water for 4 to 5 hours and then it is mixed with the doi, sugar and other fruits. It effortless to prepare and it is full of fresh fruits and is one the very few street foods that are considered healthy. You will find  doi chira in any hotel or sweet shop. This tasty street snack is for the health conscious and for many who would like something sweet and healthy!

7. Ayone can find Jilapi in Bangladesh specially in Dhaka as it will be in every store, or restaurant. Both Old Dhaka and new Dhaka have mastered the art of making delicious jilapis. You will find many types of jilapis like the sweet and the not-so-sweet, the simple and the one with countless loops, the big, the small and the tiny, the expensive, the reasonable and the cheap, and the list goes on and on. The ingredients are Rice Flour, Flour, Water, Yeast, Yoghurt,  Sugar, Butter, Orange Food Color. Basically it’s a very crispy, juicy and perfectly tasty street snack and is a must try.

It’s very tough to choose just 7 street foods of Dhaka as Dhaka is the capital of various street foods of Bangladesh. You will find so many types of street foods  in Dhaka and there may be just over 100 dishes. The best way to experience Dhaka’s street food is to visit Dhaka and explore the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh!