Community newspapers play an important role in introducing and educating their own people about other ethnic communities in New York City. There are more than 50,000 Japanese live in NYC and surrounding areas. Nine Japanese community newspapers serve many of them by providing information as well as introducing other communities in New York. Weekly Shukan New York Seikatsu published an article on Bangladeshi community in Brooklyn on their January 30th issue. Written in Japanese, the article introduced Bangladeshi food to its Japanese readers. The gist of the report was as follows:
Visiting Little Dhaka: Bangladesh in Brooklyn
Borough of Brooklyn has an international flavor in terms of food. The crossing of Church and McDonald avenues is known as Little Dhaka. As I was looking for some authentic Bangladeshi food, a deli store person near the subway station told me to visit ‘Ghoroa’ – the number one Bangladeshi restaurant in this neighborhood. The restaurant seems like more of a take out eatery than a formal restaurant. You can choose food from a salad bar style display area. Varieties of food laid out side by side – Bitter Curry (Goya Curry Sauté), ‘Alo Vorta’ (spicy mashed potato), Chicken Tandoori, Chicken Shish Kabab (tastes like Japanese Tsukune), etc. The curry has chicken, goat, beef as well as fish dishes – all are Halal. The strong smell of turmeric, coriander, cumin stimulated my appetite. They told me that curry (called “Torkari” in Bangla) is the basic food in Bangladesh. They eat them along with sautéd vegetable and lentil soup (call “daal”).
When I was not able to select which ones to eat from the selection, Abul Khayer, who came to New York three and half years ago and his friend, Syed Arif, started talking to me. They told me they come to this restaurant at least once a week. Khayer told me, ‘We don’t eat outside and we don’t eat junk food like the Americans’.
I asked them, as a Muslim have you ever been harassed? What do you think of terrorist acts done by ISIS? Khayer told me that Muslims and terrorists are completely different. Terrorists like to brainwash the young poor people and who are upset with the society. ‘I want people to understand that Muslims want to make a peaceful world’. And Arif said, ‘Terrorists read only Quran, they should read a variety of books. They should know what is happening in the world now’.
Bangladesh in Brooklyn was an effort by one of the Japanese community newspapers to highlight the multicultural aspects of New York City. Even a small article like this helps its readers to know few native words, restaurant locations, picture and basic idea about Bangladeshi food. Even a very basic first-hand encounter by visiting, asking, talking and tasting help people to get some idea about a community.
Now, Bangladesh community has many newspapers in New York City too. They could have published similar kinds of article about food, culture, festival of other ethnic nationalities in New York for Bangladeshi community. Possible?
BTW, another Bangladeshi restaurant, Radhuni was also mentioned in the article. Is that part of Brooklyn really called Little Dhaka!