My Food Adventure in Pakistan PT I
The scorching temperatures, the humidity, the constant sound of the AC hard at work, and to top it off always being in fear of your life with the crazy traffic and yet Pakistan still has a beautiful charm.
I recently returned from a 3 week trip to Pakistan and I can honestly say it was bewildering. The last time I was there was in 2010 and I can say in 8 years it doesn’t seem as if its changed but then driving down certain roads, so much of the city has grown. My main reason for travelling to Pakistan was to see family. It was a lovely experience just to be with family again, but another wonderful experience was the food!
There was not one day in Pakistan where I didn’t appreciate the food. There is something about Pakistani cuisine which is so flavoursome. Also there is so much variety! The worst thing was I knew for a fact I would put on maybe a couple of kilos on this trip, as one I knew what I was going to eat and two I was on holidayyyy and that means you should never ever think about how much weight your gaining whilst eating delicious food. However lucky for me I only gained a couple of grams…so I could have had that extra Kulfi now that I think about it. In Pakistan I discovered mostly all restaurants serve continental cuisine and funny enough I kid you not I had one of the best pizzas in Islamabad. So there is so much that I can tell you about Pakistan and its food scene. What I am going to do is share my top 10 places where people should eat and what they could eat when they get there! In that way it helps me narrow down the best of the best. So here it goes! This may be a bit long so I’m going split the post in two, this post will describe the 5 things on what to eat and the next post will tell the 5 places where I recommend you should eat.
1 ) FRUIT
- Personally, I eat fruit once a day, whether it’s a snack or a breakfast smoothie. Now I know that in Kenya there is always a variety of delicious fruits, and it was one of the things that I missed the most whilst I was in Uni. Now, when it comes to delicious fruits, Pakistan is on par with Kenya. If you’re ever in Pakistan in the summer (roughly June, July) you must and I mean must have an Apple Mango. It’s true when people say that the sweetest Mangoes you will ever have are in the Sub- Continent. The Apple Mango is one of the sweetest of the bunch that Fruit Wallas (meaning person in Urdu) sell. When we arrived they were so juicy I ate one at breakfast and one at dinner time. However at the beginning of August the Mangoes are coming out of season but there is more to eat such as Peaches, Melon (Garma in Urdu), Grapes. Also the best part is… it’s all very cheap. I can say after the Mangoes were finished I ate I don’t know how many Peaches. In Kenya peaches are too expensive, so I hardly have any. The best places to get the fruit, are the Fruit Wallas on the road and if you miss one while you’re driving, don’t worry there will definitely be another one a few meters ahead.
- Kulfi is the ice- cream of the sub-continent. On hot days in Pakistan that range up to 37 degrees the bliss was having a frozen Kulfi. Now I can genuinely say I had a Kulfi EVERYDAY. I didn’t care about getting a few pimples here and there from all the sugar I was eating, just having that Kulfi during the day and in the evening was soo refreshing. The difference between ice-cream and Kulfi is that Kulfi’s main ingredient is milk (or cream) and sugar, it has no eggs. You can have plain Kulfi or you can have kulfi with earthy spices (cardamon and pistachios). You can get them in any sweet shop. We frequently got ours in Rawalpindi, Bahria Town at Rasheeds Sweet Shop.
- Samosas I find are one of the most delicious treats that the people in the east introduced to the west. A crispy dough, filled with a mixture of meat or potatoes or vegetables… WHATS NOT TO LOVE! I know that you can find Samosas everywhere around the world but one of the best places to have a Samosa is in Pakistan. For one thing they are HUGE! They are the size of my hand, and that’s a regular size. I could only eat a maximum of one and half samosas when I was in Pakistan. Everywhere else with the size of the “regular” samosa I always have three, maximum four. Compared though to Kenya where Samosas are filled with mince meat, in Pakistan you normally have it with potatoes or mixed veg. On a side note though if you are not into chilly beware because the Samosas can sometimes be sizzling HOT!
4) CHICKEN PATTIES
- One of the most appetising meals in Pakistan is Afternoon Tea. Maybe it’s because in my family we do love to snack with our Tea/ Coffee but considering the snacks that you have at tea there is sometimes no point in eating dinner afterwards as the tea is a feast of its own. I lost count of the amount of times that we went to the bakery just so that we can have either butter cookies, palimers (elephant ears), samosas, and chicken patties for tea. Chicken patties are the best to have at tea. I can say that these chicken patties are not like ones you get in the UK. For one they are much less greasy, which is nice because you do not only taste the oil from the patty. The pastry is also somewhat lighter and quite flaky. I’m not tot sure if the bakeries use puff pastry but I could see the individual layer of the pastry. The chicken in the patty is amazing, I have no idea what spices they put in but it’s evident there are some in the mixture. You can get chicken patties in almost any bakery within Pakistan
5) Challi (CORN)
-Now sadly I didn’t have a CHALLI this time around when I was in Pakistan, but I wish I had. I remember having a Challi 8 years ago and even at the time my family were living there in 2002. I can honestly say it’s comfort food. You can find a Challi in pretty much every corner of Pakistan. Be it Rawalpindi or Islamabad, you definitely can’t miss the Challi man. I didn’t have it this time around as I was always so full from eating lunch ( more likely) that I couldn't eat anymore. A Challi is bbqed corn on the cob. You crisp the corn in the fire and when it’s crispy you add some lemon and chilli! Its snack that you must try.
As this is the end of this post, my food adventure in Pakistan still continues. Read part II and I will tell you all the snazzy places which I ate out for lunch in the capital Islamabad. STAY TUNED!
Majority of the images taken were from my phone (thats why some images are not as clear) also some were taken from Google Images, as at the time my phone ran out of battery.