One of my favorite places to shop in Dhaka is DIT-2. It’s a two-story strip mall that doesn’t really look like anything special, and the parking lot is a mess when it rains. But it’s pretty great.
You can buy all kinds of interesting antiques, jewelry and pearls, and sports equipment, there’s a good grocery store, and if all that shopping makes you hungry (or you dragged your husband along and he’d rather eat than shop), you can even get a hamburger and fries or donuts.
I’m not an antiques person but they have some really interesting stuff: lots of neat wooden furniture, wooden sari stamps, random stuff from early 1900’s British ships, figurines, etc. If you go earlier in the day (before noon, basically) some of the shop owners are more willing to bargain and they’ll give you a discount for being their first customer.
There are tons of pearl and jewelry stores, were you can buy already made necklaces, or you can tell them what you want and they’ll make it for you. The pearls here are beautiful and crazy-cheap. The main problem with pearl shopping in DIT-2 is that there are so many pearl shops, it’s hard to know which ones are the best. So I guess that means I need to just check each one out!
I really like the grocery store on the first floor, Dhali. They have an incredible range of products; last time I was there I saw Newman’s Own salsa, queso and bean dip! And Tostitos! There’s a guy that sells cheese outside the Dhali entrance and his paneer is amazing. We get the semi-salty, and it’s really good in salads with tomatoes and cucumbers, served with bread and butter, or on sandwiches (both hot or cold since it melts really nicely).
There’s a burger stand, Naga Burger, that sells fast-food style burgers and fries with spicy sauces. I haven’t eaten there yet, but Nate says it’s really good. If you’re not looking for the burger stand, you won’t see it because it’s pretty nondescript. They use high quality beef and cook the burgers to order, so it takes some time. But that means you can walk across the parking lot to Glazed, the donut place, while you wait! The donuts are 135 taka (about $1.75), and I was surprised by how good they were.
It’s an easy place to spend several hours, and if you come to visit, we’ll definitely stop by!