Food experts say this popular iftar item is not a healthy option for those who fast during Ramadan
Experts have questioned the standard of hygiene of old Dhaka’s unique delicacy ‘Boro Baper Polay Khay’.
Nutrition and food experts have also warned that the popular iftar item, sold in the open, is not good for those who fast since it contains a mixture of numerous spices and coloring agents.
Prof Khaleda Islam of Institute of Nutrition and Food Science at Dhaka University told the Dhaka Tribune: “I heard about the popular iftar item but it is not hygienic for those who fast during the Ramadan for a number of reasons, including mixing of spices in improper ways.
“Besides, it is sold on the road without any cover, so flies sit on the food and dust also gathers on it. Those who prepare the item perhaps mix in rotten food from the previous day. If someone takes such stale foods then they will fall sick and vomit or suffer from diarrhea.”
She further said: “The iftar vendors mix apparel colour in the food instead of food colour and use unsafe water. So if someone takes food in which clothing colour is mixed then they face the risk of suffering from dangerous diseases like cancer.
“The government should implement the law in this regard. Businesses and common people should also be aware of the bad impact of these unhygienic foods,” Prof Khaleda said.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon earlier warned of stern action against traders if they sell adulterated iftar items during Ramadan. He also said five teams of the corporation will monitor the markets at different points of the city throughout the period.
After visiting the Chawkbazar iftar market on the first day of Ramadan he urged the traders to sell hygienic food and chemical-free fruits.
How is ‘Boro Baper Polay Khay’ made?
Dhaka Tribune asked Mohammad Ali Akkas, an iftar item vendor at Chawkbazar in old Dhaka, how Boro Baper Polay Khay is made. He said: “We mix together various items including chickpeas, fried potatoes, minced meat, lentils, flattened rice, yogurt, aubergine fritters, chicken, eggs, 12 kinds of spices, and ghee.”
He said they are now making the item to maintain the tradition: “Our forefathers started the iftar business during the British period.”
Akkas added that they started preparing the item the previous night as they would not be able to finish it on time otherwise.
He said they sell the item at Tk400 per kg. “We earn a huge amount of money by selling it.”
History of the popular iftar item
The item is sold at almost all the shops of Chawkbazar iftar market. Each vendor claims to offer the original item. The history of who introduced the item could not be ascertained.
Local vendor Mohammad Khokon claimed that his grandfather late Mohammad Kamin Mahajan introduced Boro Baper Polay Khay.
Another local vendor Abdur Rob Bepari, who has been preparing the item for 30 years, said: “Formerly, it was known as ‘Sheikh Churar Bhatta’. After the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, it became popular under its current catchphrase ‘Boro Baper Polay Khay, Thongai Bhoira Loiya Jay’.”
Like every year, hundreds of people thronged the popular iftar market yesterday.
Rakibul Hasan came to the market from Mohammadpur along with his wife Aysha Begum, to buy iftar items.
“We heard about the popular item but have not tasted it yet. We have come here to buy it,” he said.
Apart from “Boro Baper Polay Khay”, other well-known dishes including beef roast, mutton roast, chicken roast, borhani, chicken tikka, chatni, keema roll, morog mosallam, pakora, ghugni, doi bora, kathi kabab, suti kabab, faluda, tehari, fruits, shahi parata, and other sweet and savoury items are also sold here.