The second part of my blog on Office Lunches from Around the World, is a continuation of the last blog where I featured Swaziland, Pakistan, Germany, Singapore, Peru and the Philippines. Friends from all over made this massive effort of embarrassing their colleagues and themselves, by taking pictures of the food they eat everyday… while at work!!! Now there is a harmony in some of these images as some were clearly the work of a rushed, in between meetings quick bite, while some were meticulously planned by true foodies, who used me as an excuse to eat an extravagant meal 😀 I am glad to have been of some use!
- Pavlova, Sydney Opera House & Masterchef Australia 😀
According to a report, an alarmingly large segment of Australians do not eat lunch, reaching to about 46% in cities like Adelaide.
However when it came to my dedicated friends, their enthusiasm at sending me the best pictures for Office Lunches from Around the World, left me totally floored. Point to be noted: they’re all Bangladeshis 🙂 (lets just say we love our food and lunch time is a chance to gorge our faces in the middle of the day)! But a word on the 3 musketeers who sent me these: Samai Haider is a world traveler and economist to boot, currently juggling work, a toddler and her efforts at being a cycling champion! She was voted one of the best travel blogs by Lonely Planet in 2018. Do follow it here: http://samaihaider.com/ Sadia Haque works in the Environmental section of the Melbourne government authority & loves going on nature walks with her 7 year old son. Naima Eshaque works for the BOC gas company Sydney, sports a wicked sense of humor & her 4 year old daughter beats her at posing for pictures!!!
- The land of Marquez, Coffee & Cultural Diversity
Marcelo is a Portuguese archaeologist working in Colombia. He often eats in the village but woe is me! he couldn’t send me an image from his field lunches!!! Generally, people in Bogota (by the way it is the 4th highest capital in the world..) often have lunch at places like in the picture below, called Corrientazos. Its a bit like a fast food place with local traditional menus. Much like our dhabas or bhaat er hotels with a changing menu, but this blog below explains it better:
‘Corrientazos’ work on a ‘Menu of the Day’ basis and will typically include a choice of soup or fruit as a starter as well as a main course which consists of a choice of beef, chicken or fish, along with rice, plantain, beans, salad AND a sweet (if you’re lucky, sometimes a little desert). How much does all this food cost you wonder? Well, in Bogota your average Corrientazo will set you back anywhere between $3.5-$5.00 (6,000-8,000 Pesos). Not bad for a sit down lunch.
- Delta, fish, rice and a love of long chats over steaming cups of tea
The 8 years I worked here in Dhaka and for while, in the remote regions, I was always blessed with offices where we had a lunch room or canteen with a range of food to choose from. Bangladeshis are mainly a rice eating nation so we excel at getting over our food comas. Or do we…! 😀 The perfect meal consists of mashed vegetables or bhorta, fish or meat, daal and rice. An article of mine for the Nat Geo traveler India magazine lists some of the popular meals (unabashed self publicity)
Tahseen is an old friend who works at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and these are his pictures for Office Lunches from Around the World. He is a comics aficionado with radio shows, papers and plenty of seminars organised on the world of comics. You HAVE to watch this video for an amazing 3 minutes of his views on comics in Bangladesh…
- The land of the Courteous, Sushi & most of our cars!
My friend Hitoshi recently moved to Dhaka, working with JICA, the Japanese development agency and is currently exploring the Japanese food scene here, while reminiscing the platters he had back in Tokyo… According to Hitoshi, lunch time depends on the the work type, so he often ate at his desk while working at a bank. Some smaller companies, mostly factories, have set a lunch room to encourage communication, from 12 to 1pm. At some office people can eat super early, from 11:30 to 12:30, while later ones go from 12:30 to 1:30, to cover each other during lunch time. However, in traditional families, Japanese housewives wake up as early as 5am to start cooking for their husbands and their kids’ lunch box
- Ancient Egypt, Omar Sharif, Naguib Mahfouz & Kosheri 😀
The land of kosheri… but people still eat light for lunch (I suppose so they can eat to their heart’s fill at dinner) :p Well it naturally depends on where you work so most people either go for a brunch or a late lunch by 3-4pm, but my friend Haneen has it at a standard time. In most cases, boiled eggs often join the fool (fava beans), a popular lunch item. Here, Haneen’s lovely colleague Bassam patiently sat through the photo session as Haneen clicked away and I just hope they weren’t late back at work because of my Lunches from Around the World blog post! :O I met the magical Haneen in Jordan, 2015 and apart from drooling over the mansaf and going gaga in Petra, she has been the best host and guide to my friends visiting Egypt.
- 2nd Youngest nation of Europe, a Medley of Cultural Influences
This little land locked country’s cuisine is heavily influenced by neighbouring Albania, Serbia, Greece etc. Honestly, most of the images I have seen resemble a very homely platter and just screams of healthy, flavorsome food. 12pm is normal lunch time for office goers and according to Arbenita, they mostly eat outside. An architect working at Cultural Heritage Without Borders, Arbenita was part of the 3-day friendship I fostered with my Peruvian friend Renata, from the last blog post 😀 We met at a fund raising workshop for heritage practitioners
https://heritagemanagement.org/training/workshops/ in Athens and well, food was a huge part of our stay! So naturally, she totally contributed to this Office Lunches from Around the World post.
- Orangutans, Mahathir Mohammed, Durian & the Petronas
Food has always been one of the major incentives for any job applications I ever filled in for a job in the Malaysia or Thailand region 😀 Of course a durian ice cream was perhaps one of my worst Malaysian memories but then, we in Bangladesh have jack fruit or kathal and even that is too strong for most people… Now Sabrina is a super talented friend, living and working in Kota Kinabalu – the Saba region. An active advocate of women’s rights, environmental issues and heritage issues, Sabrina is a gal I so relate to 😀 Follow her work here:
Oh and her hubby Robert runs a restaurant! 😮 😀 They really are too cool! 😀
Most people go to a nearby stall in Kota Kinabalu and so does Sabrina.
As always, I cant thank my friends enough for the generosity they showed with their time, complete with descriptions and above all, the encouragement they have extended to this blog on Office Lunches from Around the World! 😀 Thank you to Samai, Sadia & Naima for the Aussie images. Hitoshi for Japan, Arbenita from Kosovo, Marcelo for Bogota, Sabrina for images from Malaysia, Tahseen for his Dhaka images and the effervescent Haneen from Cairo, Egypt! I love you all and I hope you know that 🙂