The Financial Express

Old Dhaka’s loveletter

| Updated: December 20, 2020 18:25:47

Representational image — FE Representational image — FE

It can be called old-fashioned but he still thinks that there’s nothing as beautiful and romantic as a love letter. Even after passing almost 20 years of his life, he is yet to relish its exquisite taste.

It was a winter morning — as the clock struck seven, he couldn't wait anymore. Lest he die anytime, he wanted to do something beforehand. For him, there is no room for any error or regret.

In just a moment, he took out his brand new iPhone X and called Uber. It took the driver less than a minute to pick him up from the Race Course.

By the time he got down on Larmini Street, it was afternoon. He knew he was nowhere near his destination — but hey, who doesn’t love a good walk in an afternoon? And he took a smooth right turn to Hare Street.

His destination? Prince of Wales!

It's 8:00pm, on the dot. The Saint Thomas Church bell rang in conformity with the footsteps dead on the centre of Johnson Road.

His cue was to turn east into Municipal Road.

Awestruck? Expected a state from England or Norway? Or already feeling the excitement of a lust-filled story from the West?

Whichever it is, the traveller here is not a real character but the place is. It's our own Old Dhaka! A city of tradition, a city of beauty!

And to burst your bubble, love letter is a cake here. The cake has been prevalent in Old Dhaka long before Blackforests and Vanilla Delights come into being.

Prince of Wales Bakery and Confectionery is one of the oldest bakeries in town. It has already seen 170 years. It was established by a man from Wales, Great Britain, in 1850.

After the partition of India, the original owner left. Since then, Sheikh Buddhu Mia's family has been running the business near the famous St Gregory church and selling mouth-watering and old-fashioned items to thousands of customers.

Most of the items available at this bakery are quite different from those of the modern bakeries in town. For you to know because you must be feeling the urge to visit here, it is situated on Municipal Road, Lakshmibazar, just beside St Gregory's High School and College.

Dhaka city’s first-ever cakes of Christmas and wedding were made right here. The special food items of this bakery are butter bun, cream roll, biscuits, cheesecake, fruit cake, jam tart and many more.

These are made for a short period, specifically between December and January, and this bakery sees a rise in the sale of food items, particularly cake during Christmas as many Christian people live in the area.

Where the bakery is now used to be a horse stall housing a couple of white-coloured horses here. Right now the bakery is taken care of by Sheikh Buddhu Mia's son Azharuddin Ahmed.

Azharuddin Ahmed says they use the same ingredients and machines that used to be used in baking cakes, creams, biscuits, and pastries here at the beginning, to give customers a feeling of those days of Old Dhaka.

“This bakery is a symbol of the tradition of over a hundred years. People visit here for its quality and ancientness. We preserve the old and classic taste that a person cannot refuse," he says.

Zubayer Wasit is a student at Bangladesh University of Professionals.

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