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Sadia’s amazing food adventure to Pakistan

Posted on February 24, 2017 |

By: Sadia Kashif, Sensational Taste Tour Guide

“Well, no one better ask me to stop eating once we reach Pakistan”, I warned my husband and son on the night before our journey.

“Right, so that you can easily gain weight. Those few ounces that you have lost in last years will easily come back”, my husband said.

I smiled and said, “I don’t care about that! I just want to enjoy food, all my favourite Pakistani food.”

After enjoying Dubai’s sand, sun, music and complimentary Arabic brekkie, we headed towards our final destination… Pakistan. I was so excited about the traditional food I’ve always loved. My husband and son were more interested in in-flight cuisines and treats. They kept on discussing the aviation stuff. Airlines, their fleets, which plane was bigger, which plane was a fail production, Airbus vs. Boeing, my husband’s adventures with Finn air and Etihad and so on. I did not care about these things at all.

After landing, we went to my In-law’s house. For our first breakfast there, we were served halwa puri and channaHalwa is a sweet made with semolina in pure ghee and puri is fried bread. These two things are served with a chickpea curry called channa and a potato curry with a thick sauce. This is the common favourite breakfast in most of the places in Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, and Multan, where we were. After this delicious and filling breakfast/brunch, we skipped lunch. For dinner we headed towards one of our old favourite spots called “Eat on”, which is famous for its cod fish meals. We ordered three cod fish meals, two chicken tikkas, naan, and some other random things. The bill was only 1200 PKR, the equivalent of $14 AUD. So cheap!

Being guests visiting from Australia, we were fed and served by the relatives as if we were a royal family. My husband’s family served us in our first week with so many delicious dishes including Lahori fried fish, mutton karahi, vegetable pullao and other delicious things. These days, international food chains like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza hut are very famous there, but I chose to try something traditional and a specialty of my country.

“Zanzibar” is another favorite spot for me and I have always loved its food and the taste. It’s really famous for its buffet dinners. Zanzibar offers a really good range of dishes at an affordable per person price. We had butter chicken, kebab curry, fried rice, meatballs, vegetable curry and so many types of salads, drinks and sweet dishes. One night was not enough to enjoy and admire the hard work and expertise of their local chefs. We really enjoyed that dinner so much!

 

Being guests visiting from Australia, we were fed and served by the relatives as if we were a royal family. My husband’s family served us in our first week with so many delicious dishes including Lahori fried fish, mutton karahi, vegetable pullao and other delicious things. These days, international food chains like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza hut are very famous there, but I chose to try something traditional and a specialty of my country.

“Zanzibar” is another favorite spot for me and I have always loved its food and the taste. It’s really famous for its buffet dinners. Zanzibar offers a really good range of dishes at an affordable per person price. We had butter chicken, kebab curry, fried rice, meatballs, vegetable curry and so many types of salads, drinks and sweet dishes. One night was not enough to enjoy and admire the hard work and expertise of their local chefs. We really enjoyed that dinner so much!

 I had two dinner treats, commonly called dawat  (in Urdu) by my brothers and their wives. The first one came from my younger brother, where they ordered a  whole barbecued chicken, naan, and a paratha chicken roll served with traditional chutney. The other treat (do darya, which means ‘two rivers’) came from a restaurant called “Sajjad’s” on a very busy food street in the posh area of Karachi. The restaurant was created in a cruise ship style, where you can sit near the beach and enjoy barbecued food. Chicken handi, barbecued seekh kebab, and fried whole fish were the main dishes of that night. They made me fall in love with that place.

I would also like to mention a place in Karachi called chai wala, (meaning ‘a person who serves tea’) that opens from midnight until morning. They have started a trend of serving chaiparatha and other street food into the wee hours of the night. It is a place where people bring their families, sit, and chat outdoors in any weather. It’s the perfect place to enjoy pure street food. We visted after midnight on a rainy night, sitting under a drizzling sky, enjoying tea, aalu parathas and each other’s laughter. I really want to go there again and again.

 

Wedding food is one of the most celebrated aspects of a Pakistani wedding. I probably need a whole new article to describe and explain the colors of wedding food in Pakistan. My sister’s wedding was divided in to three functions according to our traditions: henna night, wedding and the reception. Henna night is basically a meet and greet and celebration of both the families coming together. Wedding night is called Barat, when the actual wedding takes place and the groom takes the bride to his home. The reception is the groom’s family event, to celebrate their son’s wedding. The food on all these occasions was delicious.Biryani, chicken curry, fried fingerfish, and mutton Nihari were the main courses, followed by carrot halwa and Kashmiri Chai.

 Right after the wedding my stomach started saying “no” to all the food. We also had a brief visit to the capital city, Islamabad. My son requested a pizza from “Pizza Hut”, and my husband’s request was a local street dhabba (spot) in the rain to try traditional pathan parathas, omelet and chai. It was 7am and Islamabad was freezing with temperature was below 2 degrees. But it was a delicious treat to have that local food and enjoy our holidays.

It really wouldn’t be possible for me to share all those minor details of food and love, nor the warm welcome we received from family, friends and loved ones. This trip will remain in my heart forever and until we meet again… I will cherish these memories. J

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