Chittagong Hill Tracts is a realm of not just lush nature and rich languages, but ethnic cuisines as well. Sitting in Dhaka, you can indulge in the opportunity of tasting these traditional and truly unique flavours at CHT Express — a restaurant in East Kazipara.
With an intelligently lit space, and simple but elegant seating, the small eatery has a snug and comfy feel to it. And with the walls boasting alphabets of tribal languages and textiles, the decor complements the cuisine — an attempt to set the mood for ethnic food.
The menu, in a way, may simply be divided into two sections: ethnic delicacies and Pan Asian food, from Vietnamese to Japanese.
The Pan Asian delicacies have the CHT-twist to them. Take sushi for example. Arpon Chakma, head chef and owner, trained in the culinary studies, has used different kinds of rice from the hill tracts.
“Our ingredients are organic and come from tribal areas,” he said.
On the other hand, when it comes to the ethnic treats, he strives for authenticity.
“The idea is to present our guests with the same flavours they would find when they visit the hill tracts, or the tribal community villages as tourists,” he said.
And the flavours are indeed very different from what we are used to in Dhaka — a refreshing change.
Their Bamboo Chicken, for example, distinguishes itself from the normal curry, with the taste of bamboo, as the dish is cooked inside it.
Similarly, the ‘hebang’ delicacies are cooked inside banana leaves, thus featuring an interesting taste and aroma. The Egg Hebang, to illustrate, comes to your table wrapped in banana leaves; and the delicacy, complete with herby flavours, is an enchanting treat.
The serving dishes often have a traditional and rustic sense to it; earthy and natural.
CHT Express will not fail to provide an exotic culinary experience. Try their Pajon, which is an eclectic mix of a wide array of vegetables, and even shutki.
“Different communities prepare this item using staggering numbers of ingredients,” Arpon said.
“There is a saying: shat pode ghonto baish pode pajon,” he further said, explaining the fervour over the use of ingredients.
Complete with drinks and desserts — a few more ethnic than others — CHT Express offers in Dhaka a rare treat of delicacies of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The restaurant sets itself apart from the clutter of myriad eateries by offering food, which you do not get at every other restaurant whilst also having options of Pan Asian delicacies.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Dining at CHT Express will not put a dent in your wallet. In fact, the menu even has a Budget Meal category. Individual items are not very expensive either. Fish Hebang, for example, will cost you Tk 180. Generally speaking, for one person, a budget of around Tk 600 should easily suffice for a full-course heavy meal, probably with some change returned.
Address: 541 East Kazipara.
Facebook page: CHT Express.
Contact number: 01730470957.
Business hours: 12PM — 10PM.
Photo courtesy: CHT Express