A mood altering and ghee-ful breakfast awaited me in Bangladesh, where when the parathas are good they’re very good.
Parathas and dal in Barisal
It’s early, it’s hot and already we’ve been rejected by numerous guesthouses for not fitting their criteria i.e.., for being foreigners. A stall surrounded by locals, on the otherwise empty streets, provides us with the perfect excuse to stop for breakfast.
On a well used black hotplate, slick with oil, a man cooks parathas – what else? This flaky, slightly stretchy and buttery flat bread is ubiquitous at breakfast time in Bangladesh and after the morning’s uneasy start, my expectations are low. It’s only paratha and dal after all.
I tug some strands off the blistered, pastry-like dough and use them to capture a scoop of the turmeric stained dal. As the flavours coat my tongue I quickly decide that this is, without doubt, the best paratha I’ve ever eaten.
Glistening with ghee and moreishly buttery, it’s catnip for a weary traveller like me, and I can’t stop eating.
Until we came to Bangladesh I hadn’t really encountered parathas as breakfast food, sure they made an appearance at lunch or dinner, a more indulgent version of a chapati or a naan, but never breakfast! And the versions I’d eaten for breakfast in Sri Lanka, often with an egg wrapped up inside, were never quite as ghee-fully decadent as these.
It’s true, I could continue to scoff even more of the buttery morsels, but it only takes two to significantly improve my mood and outlook for the day ahead.
Fortified and emboldened by the power of the paratha we hit the streets again to hunt for a guesthouse willing to take us in for the night.
Never underestimate the power of a good breakfast to cancel out all the bad shit that’s happened just before.