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Bara Box opens bakery on Pretorialaan

Bara is mainly known to the general public from Surinamese eateries. Large, deep-fried buns with a filling such as chicken curry. Anoesjka Imambaks knows them in a different form from family feasts. "Traditionally, baras are small, savoury snacks with a hole in them. A kind of Surinamese doughnut. You eat them with a spicy chutney on top." With Bara Box, she is opening bakery on Pretorialaan. Orders can be collected there but it also serves baras and coffee from Sococo.

Rotterdam entrepreneur Anoesjka Imambaks (41) started the bara adventure three years ago, together with her daughters and parents. "I was working as a director at the Venture Café in CIC and we were looking for the ideal snack for the weekly networking events. Baras are eaten in Surinamese culture when there is something to celebrate, at a time of coming together. For me, the dish stands as a conversation starter." In Surinamese culture, baras are eaten at every celebration. Anoesjka: "Do you want to treat something other than cake or are you looking for an original snack at a get-together? Baras are perfect!"

The baras are vegan

At Bara Box, boxes of 15, 30, 45 or even 100 can be ordered. The baras are vegan and made according to a traditional recipe. The dough contains flour and ground urid beans (split black lentils), to which spinach, onion, garlic and spices are added. That dough rises for three hours without yeast and is then deep-fried.

Baras can be picked up at Pretorialaan 6A but enthusiasts can also buy a loose bara for lunch. "The famous stuffed baras are also on our menu. We sell a variant with chicken curry, tempeh, bakkeljauw and Nutella. The latter is culturally on the edge!" Since you can't buy a cup of coffee anywhere on Pretorialaan, there is an espresso machine on the counter. With beans from Sococo in the grinder. This social Rotterdam coffee company helps people with a distance to the labour market. Bara Box Bakery will be a learning workplace for the company and will also be the first shop in Zuid where you can drink Sococo's coffee. Bara Box is also on the Rotterdam Impact Map, useful for companies that want sustainable and impactful procurement.

Anushka Imambaks with her daughters

Family business

Anushka is an entrepreneur at heart and at Bara Box she has pulled her family into it. "My daughters are my inspiration as well as shareholders. Romaysa (13) is the hr director, Asiyah (10) is about marketing and tasting and Ammarah (8) is from the till." As a single mother and enterprising woman of colour, Anushka wants to be a role model for her children. "It is important to have a role model," she says. Anushka's parents are also involved in Bara Box. "They have passed on the recipes to me and help where necessary."

Located at Pretorialaan 6A, Bara Box will be open from Saturday, July 6, and open Wednesday to Sunday between 9am and 7pm.

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