The Embassy of Bangladesh in Iran held a food festival in Tehran on Friday to better present Bangladeshi cuisine to Iranians.
Held in tandem with an exhibition of paintings and handicrafts by artists from Bangladesh — opened a day earlier at the same venue, Bangladeshi dishes and desserts went on display at the event, including khichuri (made from rice and lentils), fish dopiaza, fried fish, jarda, kalo Jam (sweetmeat-dessert), jilabi (sweet-dessert), semai (sweet-dessert), samosa (fried and baked dish with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas or lentils) and chicken curry.
Commenting on the festival, Bangladesh Ambassador to Iran Majibur Rahman Bhuiyan told Iran Daily, "The aim of the festival is to give our Iranian friends an insight on how we live and one part of life is having food. Preparation of food is also an art."
He said the festival was held, despite the embassy's limited resources, means and support, to increase Iranians' knowledge of what kinds of foods people eat in Bangladesh and to discover whether the people of the two countries' have any commonalities in terms of the kinds of foods they have.
The ambassador said as anywhere else in the world, people have three main meals in Bangladesh.
"We also have a snack in the evening [prior to dinner]."
He noted that basically, Bangladeshi people's staple food is fish and rice, "but we also have wonderful dishes containing meat and vegetables".
The ambassador listed the agro crops exported from Bangladesh as tea, different kinds of vegetables and fruits, processed fruits and fruits juice.
On his country's foodstuff imports from Iran, he said Bangladesh purchases dried fruit and date from the Middle Eastern state.
Bangladeshi cuisine has been shaped by the diverse history and riverine geography of Bangladesh. The country's climate is tropical monsoon.
Rice and fish are the staple food of the Bangladeshis. Besides fish, an everyday meal consists of plain rice, served with a wide range of curries, leafy greens, lentils, and mashed, braised and/or deep-fried vegetables as side dishes. Bangladeshi dishes exhibit strong aromatic flavors and often include eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and aubergines.
A variety of spices and herbs, along with mustard oil and ghee, is used in Bangladeshi cooking. A flat, stone mortar and pestle, known as 'shil pata' are used to grind spices into a paste.
The paintings and handicrafts expo, a two-day event, was attended by a number of Bangladesh nationals and students in Iran, journalists, Iranian nationals as well as staff members of the Embassy of Bangladesh in the Iranian capital and their families.
Paintings by a number of famous artists from Bangladesh were displayed at the expo. The exhibition also featured handicrafts including those made of metal as well as pieces of brass ornamental work, woodwork and other artisanship.
The exhibition was visited by a good number of Iranians. It was inaugurated by Bhuiyan.
In an address at the opening ceremony, he said Bangladesh has a long history of craftsmanship.
"The fine and magnificent 'Muslin' that Bangladesh produced was a world famous dress worn by members of royal families all around the world for centuries. Jamdani Saree is also globally famous and popular."
He said the exhibition was part of a wider program to provide Iranians with the opportunity to gain further knowledge about Bangladesh, adding that the embassy will continue to organize this type of exhibition on a regular basis.