A roadside restaurant selling onion-free omelette to customers amid price hike of the kitchen essential
Like every other day, Niaz Amin, a private car driver walked into a cheap roadside restaurant for breakfast.
He sat in the far end corner, a spot where he sits every day, and gestured at the waiter, to come and take his order.
The waiter, aged around 12, knows what Niaz will order as has been watching the man for a long time – two porota and an omelette followed by a cup of tea – Niaz never changes his menu.
The boy walked over to his customer as if to make sure if Niaz would stick to his usual menu and muttered: "omelette with onion will cost more".
For a few moments, Niaz was startled, then the boy said it again and pointed at the wall.
Niaz has been away from the city for over a week when the onion prices went sky-high hence it took him a few moments to understand what the boy was referring to until he noticed an announcement stuck on the entrance wall of the restaurant "Omelette with onion Tk20 each".
The notice also said that customers could choose onion-free omelettes, which range from Tk15 each.
The 35-year-old is the sole breadwinner for a family of five persons. His wife and three children are in the village as he cannot afford them in the capital.
"Everything is much costlier here in Dhaka," he said, adding that he makes Tk15,000 a month, excluding overtime pay.
His employer provides lunch, but he needs to arrange breakfast and dinner, which is now getting costlier because of the sudden price hike of onions.
"After sending money home, I usually struggle to pay my room rent and other expenses. Now meals are getting costlier because of onion price hike, where will I go, he asked."
The price hike of the kitchen essential has forced the restaurant owner to make such a decision.
He said as onion prices escalated, he had no other choice other than revising the price of omelette, something that almost every customer orders for breakfast.
Low-income people like Niaz have opted for an onion-free omelette for breakfast till the prices go down. "Onion-added omelette now looks like a luxury," Niaz said.
Onion prices rose in Bangladesh after India put a ban on the export of the kitchen essential. Moreover, cyclone Bulbul also contributed in further price hike of onions.
Currently, onions are being sold for Tk 150 per kilo in Dhaka and Tk 140 elsewhere in the country.