Starling Avenue, a microcosm of Bangladeshi life in the Bronx, continues to cement its position as the premier cultural and commercial center for the borough's Desi community. In the 1990s, only a handful of families from the South Asian nation called the neighborhood home; today there are nearly 2,000. It was only a few years ago that the street was anointed with the honorific title of Banglabazaar, given in recognition of the dense concentration of Bangladeshi businesses that line it, and eating there has never been better.
These days, business owners speak of a strengthened community and growing cultural institutions. On both religious and nationals holidays, festivities are often held in the backyard of nearby St. Raymond's. Vendors have been known to travel from as far a field as Brooklyn—a reversal from the days when, as Neerob owner Khokon explained, residents used to head to Jackson Heights for dinner.
Here you can find snake gourd and phoi leaves, roti and naan made fresh to order from dough prepared daily, delicious chaat, and hands-down the best Bangladeshi food in the city. While the community continues to extend itself—evidenced by mosques and a recently opened grocery store selling live catfish at Westchester and Leyland—there's no reason to leave Starling for fantastic Bangladeshi eats.
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Where To Eat
For: Fish and vegetables. Delicious Bangladeshi food, surprisingly good samosas and homemade roti, and traditional desserts. The menu changes daily, with plenty of fish and vegetables making reoccurring appearances.
Starling Coffee Shop
For: Chaat and pitha. Chotporri ($3), puli pitha ($1.50), moglai ($3-4), and black chana ($3) are highlights.
Kabab Curry Halal Food
For: Meat and bread made fresh to order. Roti ($1.99), naan (1.99), sweet lassi ($1.99), and chicken qeema ($6.00) are very good.
For: End of the afternoon kulfi pop ($1.25). Comes in 3 flavors.
Where To Shop
For: Produce and legumes. A large grocery store that caters to the needs of South Asian and West African immigrants.
World of Spice
For: Wiri-wiri peppers. A small Guyanese bodega that offers spices and pooja products.