Another culinary adventure!

And this one was good. Our housekeeper made a chicken dish, it’s a recipe from a local ethnic minority. You wrap chicken and other goodies up in banana leaves and then bake it. She said that she cut down a lot of the hot peppers for us. Bangladeshi food is HOT.

Now I have a problem. We forgot to ask her what the name of the dish is. I’m not sure how we’re going to describe this when we want her to make it again. We’ll probably have to show her these photos.

Another Vegetable

To our surprise and delight, our gardener planted water spinach (空心菜) in one of the many flower beds surrounding our house. This particular one is above the car port. Today we got the first harvest.

How’s this for a raised-bed garden?
Better-looking than anything we can buy on the local market!

Things grow very well in this climate, especially now, during the rainy season. Vegetable-loving us are very happy.

Barista Class!

The best coffee roasters in Bangladesh (the one that I found last year) holds training classes for aspiring baristas. They also have classes for helpless amateurs like me who want to pose as someone who knows what they’re doing. When the CLO (Community Liaison Office) at post organized a class, I jumped at the chance to demonstrate my clueless but enthusiastic ineptitude.

We learned about different kinds of beans and roasts, and how to make espresso, cappuccino and lattes. My sad attempt at a latte gave me more respect for real baristas who actually know what they’re doing.

Hands-on help from real baristas
I couldn’t even drink my own creation…
Lipstick on a pig.
She had better luck than I did

We had more luck with the pour-overs.

There is a proper way to make a pour-over

We learned a lot about coffee and had fun sampling our new skills.

Sampling our own creations
Coffee-producing areas of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is trying to increase its coffee production. This coffee roastery is working with local farmers to try to enhance and improve the quality of the crop. They say that in a few years Bangladesh will start exporting coffee. We got to try some local coffee beans. It’s quite good. The hope is that this new crop will raise the standard of living of the local farmers.

This changes everything

In the grocery store yesterday, I saw some international variations on American “food.”

If you don’t know what Tom Yum is, go visit a Thai restaurant. It’s delicious.

Hot Tang is my go-to backpacking beverage. Not sure how this would taste hot. Or cold, for that matter…

Beef bacon is not awesome

I get it, Bangladesh. Bacon is awesome, but you’re a Moslem-majority country, so real bacon is a no-no. And you did your best, I’m sure. It kinda, sorta looks like bacon.

But.

It does not taste like bacon. Instead of the crispy, oily, smoky goodness that is bacon, you gave me a mouthful of tough, chewy, salty, beef jerky.

Not awesome. Thanks for trying, but you did not succeed. Next time, maybe try goat.

Birthday with Celebration Cakes

Yesterday was the birthday of one of the locally-engaged staff in the section. We had a small celebration. “Happy Birthday” was sung in English, not Bangla, to my disappointment, but the birthday treats were very nice.

Of course, we had a cake:

But we also had some savory local snacks. One is like a samosa, and the other was a meat-filled pastry. Very yummy.

I was too busy eating to get a good photo…

The treats came from a friend of the Embassy staff, a housewife started selling her homemade snacks, and it grew into a business (“Shumi’s Hot Cake”) with several branches around the city.

A house hold name in Celebration Cakes

I told the LES that I was interested in trying the local foods. They took me at my word, encouraging me to try the treats, and explaining what was in them. I’ve said it before, interacting with LES might be the best part of this job. They are very sweet and welcoming.

One of them also told me that Dhaka is known as a “ten pound post.” Standing on the bathroom scale this morning, I realized that she was right. The food is really good in Bangladesh, so I will have to hit the gym a LOT if I want to maintain my waistline here…