Fuchka and Jhal Muri – New York Style!

“Fuchka” and “Jhal Muri” – two traditional street food snacks are now available to the Bangladeshi-immigrants of New York City because of the perseverance of two Bangladeshis -Mahfuzul Islam, and Alvi Zaman. One food item, a crispy shell with yellow pea fillings mixed up with spices, and the other, puffed rice drenched in oil and spices and dished up in cones made the news of NBC last week.

At first, it may sound absurd seeing a Bangladeshi food shop being the pivot of discussions. “Why on earth a food restaurant is being featured on NBC news?” – some might even ask.

In truth, conceiving the idea of catering street snacks is what made their cousins Saif Abdullah and Rafi Islam learn English. They immigrated to the United States in 2015. They were in New York only for a month. Seeing their inconvenience to converse with ease, their cousins, Mahfuzul and Alvi, put them to the test. They were asked to go out for a venture selling Fuchkas and Jhal Muri on the streets from a food stand. According to them, it was awkward, when people were leaning toward them to understand what they were trying to say. However, they made it through that day eventually and turned a profit. “Every transaction is a conversation rather than us just giving them food.” – they told NBC news

What started out as a venture gradually turned out as a community welfare by the name “Jhal NYC”. “We were like, alright, we’re doing this for our cousins, so why not scale this up and do this for everyone else that needs the same exact services in the community,” Mahfuzul Islam told NBC news.

Though Jhal NYC is in its infancy, it already got hold of a score of home-loving moms and aunt. Later, they took part in making fuchka and jhal muri, building it up to its present form. In exchange for their effort to collaborate, they learned skills like buying a subway-train ticket, riding the train, applying for a license to drive, and writing a resume. Before engaging in Jhal NYC, they were shy to confront people.

Mahfuzul Islam said, “A lot of the time there are stay-at-home mothers, they aren’t able to develop their language skills, and they don’t feel comfortable in the workplace. We are like the in-between for them, the transition”, in response to their endeavor. As such, the verity of the food stand idea is apparent for both Abdullah, 17, and Rafi Islam, 19, studying English as a second language at New York City high school. Involving themselves in Jhal NYC eradicated their hindrances of timidity over time.

By doing these things, Jhal NYC has made a difference in the lives of many Bangladeshis in New York, and it wishes to perpetuate it.

If any of you wishes to visit their facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialjhalnyc/?ref=br_rs, you most welcome to do so.

Khandaker Akif Razzak
People do not turn out to be good or evil because of their intentions. Rather, they become different in the eyes of others with different perceptions. We do not intend to commit outrage in the face of the law, but see the insights, justified by our intellect, being the reason worth fighting for. Is it selfish of me to do the right thing? We are all selfish. After all, we spend time with our friends because of our own pleasure. Omi is a realist, who loves to see the world bound by its clichés.

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