Apart from Éclairs or similar kinds of candy items that tend to melt in your mouth, there is one traditional crispy delicacy that comes with similar promise.
Well, not quite! Since the item in question has nothing to do with chocolate. This dry and crispy delicacy is a traditional breakfast item that originated from Old Dhaka. It is called bakarkhani, a recipe directly coming from Mughal kitchen.
You can say it resides between a bread and a biscuit. Take a bite of this flour-made, round-shaped item, it's ready to fill your mouth with a mixed flavour of sweet and salt and many more that cannot be described but can only be tasted.
Bakarkhani is made out of flour, oil, salt and sugar having a mixed flavour of sweet and salt. Dalda, ghee and cheese are also used to make bakarkhani.
This snack is a very popular one among the people of Old Dhaka.
It would be a sin to talk about any of Old Dhaka foods without mentioning the history behind it.
Bakarkhani too comes with a history. It is connected to a love story of two young men, this delicious breakfast item has occupied a special niche in the hearts of the Old Dhaka inhabitants.
As 50-year-old Altaf Hossain, sitting in Al-Amin Bakarkhani, in his traditional old Dhaka accent, says, "Don't you know that this is a royal food item? It was named after Agha Baker Khan, who was a royal official's son during the reign of
Nawab Siraj Ud-Daulah. He fell in love with a dancer of Arambagh named Khani Begum. Baker had a competitor – the Kotwal, Joynal Khan. So, the saga finally led to a fight over who would ask for Khani's hand in marriage and it ended in the deaths of both Khani and Baker. To memorialise with this tragic love story, the bakers of the area later named this delicate food item bakarkhani which had been Baker's favourite."
It is believed that since then, this snack item became ubiquitous in our country.
In a sunny Tuesday morning, Tanzila Akter, a resident in Old Dhaka was waiting at the small shop at Agamosi Lane in front of a shop named Shahjalal's Bakarkhani.
"Our breakfast is never complete without bakarkhani. Since my childhood, we have become used to taking it with tea in our house," said Tanzila.
Like Tanzila's family, so many residents in Old Dhaka can't think of their morning and evening breakfasts without this baked food item which is evident from the long queue in front of the bakers' shops who are famed for this particular food item.
This food is made in a large special clay oven locally called tandoor.
Owner of Shajalal's Bakarkhani, Abdul Khalek has been running his shop for more than 28 years now.
"Bakarkhani is a famous breakfast item among the locals. I get big order for 1000-1500 pieces of it if there's any occasion. People buy it mostly at evening hours," said Khalek.
Khalek earns Tk6,000-8,000 by selling bakarkhani every day.
Bakarkhani is sold at a reasonable price. Per piece of this delicious food item costs Tk5 and for per kg one has to pay Tk110-120. Price may go up to Tk180 for those fried in butter to Tk300 for the cheese fried ones.
They come in a variety of flavours. Some are sweet, some are salty, some are fried in cheese and some are in butter.
To get this crispy baked food item, you don't have to take a lot trouble. There are several roadside shops at Agamasi Lane if you take a walk down the road.
Today bakarkhanis are available all over Dhaka. However, Lalbagh, Chankharpul, and Nazimuddin road are the traditional strongholds.
So why sit idle? As you have done many times before, let your tongue lead you to these places. Make sure to pick up this tasty item from Old Dhaka.