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24 February, 2019 12:47:50 AM

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Place to go for foodies

Food Monsters
FAISAL MAHMUD, Dhaka
Place to go for foodies

Facebook communities and pages have emerged as a new staple for foodies to know all about new gastronomical delights in places across the country.

Food lovers of Dhaka have been running a number of such pages for years. That's not the case with Chattogram, the second largest city of the country, as it does not have a plethora of food communities on social media.

But foodies in the port city, home to a number of mouthwatering delicacies, have found a facebook page that tells them the places to hit to satisfy their taste buds. "Food Monsters" has become the favourite food page for food lovers in Chattogram.

The page currently has more than 1.88 lakh active group members and faces over 1,500  joining requests daily.

“This group helps me find food like Bar-B-Q set meal of Boom Town Café,” Salman Farsi, an active foodie in the group, told The Independent.

“I also let the world know through this page that the fried rice of Mogol Kitchen is an absolute gem,” he said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The beginning

Food Monsters started its journey back in 2015. Mohammad Imran Chowdhury started this food page. Later, Mohammad Raiyan and Brishty Islam joined as other admins.

Imran said he thought of opening a food community on social media after coming across some facebook pages on food of different restaurants and street food in Dhaka.

“Chattogram is famous for hospitality and food. When you hear the word 'Chattogram wedding’, all you think of is a massive gathering with delicious food items. Also, there is a vibrant restaurant and street food culture here. But very few people outside the port city are aware of this owing to lack of publicity," he added.

Even many locals are not aware of the delicacies that Chattogram has to offer. “Because of the city's tremendous expansion and the resultant traffic problems, people from one part of the city barely travel to the other parts unless there is a pressing need,” he explained.

“We have created this community to inform local residents about our own food culture,” he said.

Aftermath: Huge response

Mohammad Raiyan said they did not think that the facebook page would one day become so popular among foodies. “People flock to this food page. They simply love it,” he added.

He also said that Food Monsters gave its members a community feeling. “It’s a closed group. All the members share a common trait—they love food,” he added.

He further said that the large community helped bring a lot of food items and places into limelight. “Those are like hidden gems. Members of Food Monsters are like treasure hunters—they unearth delicacies,” he added.

Citing an example, Raiyan said ‘Seven days’, a small shop at Sholosohor Gate-2, sold the best kacchi biriyani in the city. “Very few people actually knew about the restaurant. After a review  in our page, this shop has suddenly become famous,” he added.

Imran said that both food lovers and restaurant owners are among the members of Food Monsters. Since restaurant owners are also present in the group, the page, apart from a place for food reviews, has become an interactive platform between service providers and service seekers. “If any consumer posts a negative review of a restaurant and the owner of that restaurant happens to be in our group, the consumer usually receives some response. Many restaurants receive customer feedback via this page—this helps them improve their services,” he added.

Imran also said that posts by foodies also inspire a lot of restaurants to add more items in their menu. “If a foodie posts the picture of a food item that has become popular in Dhaka or other cities, restaurant owners in Chattogram pick the idea and include the dish in their menu,” he noted.

Ohidul Arafat, one of the owners of Avalon, one of the first upscale large lounge restaurants in Chattogram, said that he actively followed Food Monsters to check the feedback given by foodies. “We have included items like spicy nachos and duck burgers in our menu in keeping with the suggestions in the Food Monsters community,” he added.

Arafat said that though there are a few other food community pages on facebook, none of them comes close to Food Monsters. “Food Monsters is doing the job in a professional manner. Whenever there is any complaint against a restaurant, the admin immediately tags the restaurant owner in that post. I think it’s a brilliant initiative,” he added.

Not just food reviews  

Raiyan said that they just did not only post food reviews and facilitate complaints. “Each month, we post the details of a chef of a restaurant. In most cases, a brilliant chef in a small eatery remains an unsung hero. We want to bring them into limelight,” he revealed.

Besides, Food Monsters has been conducting food festivals. On February 17 and 18, the social media page arranged a big celebration in Bawa School Field in Chattogram city.

Imran said they were also engaged in community service. “During last Ramadan, with the aid of some members and restaurants, we gave 135 street children a grand iftar in a posh restaurant,” he added.

"Besides, we always stress the need for aid and post social messages to raise awareness in a large community," he said.

EA

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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