This is what was involved in putting together this simple bologna and cheese sandwich I had for lunch today. The bread was purchased at the Westin Hotel here in Dhaka, as their head chef imports EVERYTHING he cooks with from Australia. I mean bananas and flour, many, many things you can purchase here. They also bake their own bread with this imported Australian flour, butter, eggs, etc. The bread is expensive but like nothing you could ever buy in Dhaka (and now you know why!) The bread is not always available, so you will to be lucky to get a loaf! The bologna was purchased from a place commonly known to expats and Bangladeshi alike as “The German Butcher”. This is the one of the ONLY places in all of Dhaka where you can buy bacon, pork bologna and other pork products. He also carries fresh (i.e. butchered acceptable to western standards and not on the side of the road somewhere!) beef and chicken. Don’t shop here at the last minute, because he is closed for sieste or around lunchtime 12-3PM. The cheese was purchased at a small grocery store named “Lavender” that has some of the items we are used to at home (Hershey’s chocolate syrup, corn flakes, Colby cheese, etc). The hot mustard was purchased at yet another shop in Dhaka. This shop is called Value Plus officially, but the “Australian shop” by expats because all the items are imported from Australia. I can buy granola bars, packets of macaroni and cheese, cake mixes, dried apricots, and even Cadbury caramello bars here! The lettuce was purchased in one of the open air vegetable and fruit markets. The price was stated, bargaining took place and a final price was settled on. The lettuce then travelled by rickshaw through the streets of Dhaka to arrive at our apartment, where it was washed in filtered water and then treated with bleach water and dried. Last but certainly not least, is the fact that you cannot have a sandwich without some type of accompanying “chip”. We can actually buy Pringles here as well as Tostitos and other brands. The Pringles are, strangely enough, sold around the corner from our house at a FRUIT stand! The prices are a little high, but convenience costs money! So, let’s review how easy it is to make a bologna and cheese sandwich in Dhaka:
BREAD: purchased at The Westin Hotel
BOLOGNA: purchased at “The German Butcher”
CHEESE: purchased at grocery store named “Lavender”
MUSTARD: purchased at the “Australian shop”
LETTUCE: purchased at a local market
CHIPS: purchased at a fruit stand
So, basically with all of the shops you would have to visit and the fact that there is no traffic in Dhaka, only GRIDLOCK, it could realistically take you an entire day to put this sandwich together! Think about this the next time you have your ‘simple’ deli sandwich for lunch!