Soaring onion prices force many in Dhaka to tweak their taste buds

  • Faysal Atik,
    Published: 2019-11-18 05:02:17 BdST

Many consider onion as an essential component of tasty dishes in Bangladesh, but a number of families have been forced to cut the consumption of the aromatic flavourful vegetable due to high prices.

As the amount of onion in restaurants’ shopping lists have dropped, many retailers have stopped trading in it following the fall in sale and also fearing possible losses in case of a fall in price and the produces rotting.

Taslima Begum, who cooks for three families in Mirpur’s Pirerbagh, said many in the neighbourhood have stopped consuming onion.

“We’ve also cut onion consumption. I usually needed one kg to cook for three days, but now it has been 15 days since I bought one kg of onion. The lot appears useable for three more days,” she said.

Babul Mia, the caretaker of a house in the area, cooks for himself only as his family do not live with him.

Fond of onion, he generally used two onions to fry an egg.

“Now I use half an onion to fry an egg in the morning and keep the rest to cook my lunch,” he told

At Barabagh, grocer Ruhul Amin said he did not buy onion after his stocks exhausted four days ago as demand dropped sharply.

People were asking for Tk 10 worth of onion while a single one would be costlier, according to him.

Another shopkeeper is in fear of huge losses if his stocks of 50 kg of onion rotted or remained unsold before the price started to drop.

He bought the lot at Tk 9,000 a week ago and could not sell 30 kg on Sunday.

Grocer Al Amin claimed a fall in demand led the profits from onion sale remain the same or drop despite the price hike.

Restaurateur Shafiqul Islam said: “Onion has become an essential part of the taste buds of the people of this region, including Bangladesh. A food can be eatable, but not much delicious without onion. Onion is a must for fish and meat recipes, biriyani and many other dishes.”

His chefs were complaining as he had to cut onion purchase, he said and added his Shah Paran Restaurant is no more serving onion for salad free of cost.

Ireen Sultana of Rupnagar, however, disagrees.

Onion is not essential, not even for taste, in cooking, according to her.

Considering the market situation, Ireen has started cooking without any onion.

She says it is still possible to diversify recipes without onion.