Apart from Iftar outings, indulging in Sehri outside one’s home has become the newest trend during Ramadan.
Foodies are saying this is filling up the void of “Dhaka not having a night life.”
“I came here with my friends,” said Noman Habib, a working man, speaking to UNB at Dhanmondi’s Cafe Rio on a late Tuesday. “Getting reservations for Iftar is impossible; they are booked for the next 10 days. Luckily I could book a table for five of us tonight.”
Restaurants being booked well in advance for Iftar are a common scenario.
Sazed Zaman, one of the owners of Sultan’s Dine, a popular restaurant in Dhanmondi’s Jhigatola specialising in wedding cuisine, said his restaurant has been booked till 20thRamadan for Iftar, with only a few tables available for Sehri.
“Although we maintained our regular menu for the whole month of Ramadan, we had no idea that we would receive such overwhelming response,” Sazed added.
“Unlike some restaurants, who are charging exorbitant prices for Iftar, most of them are offering reasonably-priced meals for Sehri, which is in line with the actual spirit of Ramadan” said Raj, a social media food blogger.
Considering the demand, many restaurants are offering late night dinners, rebranding them as “Sehri offers”. One such restaurant, Perk N Smirk, in Jhigatola, is offering a Bengali platter consisting of Plain Polao, Qurma and other side dishes from 9pm till 3am.
“Although customer turnout is satisfactory, it is not like the previous years where people used to choose our restaurant for Sehri outings as we were among the handful of restaurants who were open for Sehri,” said Rajibul Alam Sadek, assistant manager of Old Dhaka’s Al-Razzak Hotel.
The restaurant is considered to be a pioneer in this regard, as they were one of the first renowned restaurants to offer Sehri meals decades ago.
“Many restaurants are now offering Sehri meals, which make it convenient for the customers to visit cafes close to their homes,” he added, “This year we’re mostly receiving customers from Old Dhaka only.”
According to Star Kabab’s Elephant Road branch supervisor Abdul Jalil, apart from their Dhanmondi-2 branch, all their other branches will be serving Sehri.
This trend is also becoming popular for students who live in hostels. “Rather than having to wake up and cook for myself, I can take my roommates out for a decent meal nearby,” said Sadia Jebin, a student of Dhanmondi’s University of Asia Pacific (UAP).