Pakistan has a lot to offer in terms of food. There are few things Pakistanis are good at number one, computers, number two cricket, and number three food. Pakistani food is world renowned and for good reasons. It has everything that you might need spice, ghee, garlic, ginger, and an amazing mouthwatering seasoning. Some Pakistani foods even have their specific weather traditions. Such as, pakoras are specifically eaten during rain. There are so many foods that I want everyone to have when they visit Pakistan, that choosing only 12 was the toughest thing I had to do in my life.
Now buckle up control your appetite while I tell you the 11 food items that you must have when in Pakistan.
I think if you have been to a sub-continental restaurant in your home town you saw this one coming. Each place in Pakistan has it’s own biryani taste, hell the same place has 20 different biryani taste. Like the lion is the king of the jungle Biryani is the king of food in Pakistan. It is a rice dish in which the gravy or the salan is cooked separately and then it is added to the white rice which is also cooked separately. Whether it is chicken, mutton or beef it is delicious in all of its forms.
Karachi is known for its Biryani. So when visiting Karachi, try Biryani center, Amna Biryani and especially the local street vendor Biryani which beats any and all Biryanis out there.
Nihari is the national dish of Pakistan and you cannot say that you visited Pakistan if you don’t have some Nihari. It is a very common dish in Pakistan which is meant to be eaten as a breakfast but it is eaten at lunch and dinner as well. Nihari is linked back to the 18th century and has been called the dish of the Mughals. It is a slow-cooked stew with a thick and oozing consistency. It is mostly made out of beef and camel meat. Although there are people who make mutton and chicken Nihari, those shouldn’t be called Nihari. The traditional way is to have the meat of the camel and the BONG of beef. This is the best way one can eat Nihari. Man, even writing about it made me hungry.
Karachi is also known for its Nihari and the best places to eat Nihari in Karachi are Javed Nihari, Zahid Nihari, and the Sabri Nihari. For Lahore, Waris Nihari has my vote. No matter where you visit in Pakistan but if you leave it before having Nihari then SHAME ON YOU!
Mutton Karahi is one of the best things that come with Pakistan. It is made in a metal karahi and is traditionally from Peshawar but you can find mouthwatering Karahis all over Pakistan. Karahi is the most cooked and eaten dish in Pakistan, every household makes it 2 to 3 times a week. It is a mutton stew riddled with spices, garlic, ginger, and peppers. It is one of the best things you can have while in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad or anywhere in Pakistan as a matter of a fact.
Karahi is not limited to just mutton, it is made out of chicken, beef and even shrimp. It is an iconic dish that almost every Pakistani knows how to make. So if you are in ever in Pakistan don’t forget to try Karahis from Karachi restaurants Kolachi, Dua Restaurant, Kababjees, and any normal Pathan Dhaba. When in Lahore try the Karahis from Butt Karahi they have all you could ever want in terms of Karahis.
Haleem is one of my favorite things, it is complete with lentils, meat, and oil. It is packed with protein, carbs, and fats. It is a complete meal that one could ask for. Haleem is a complete meal that is made after hours of preparations and then slowly stirring the pot containing the thick paste made out of lentils and meat. It is then eaten with toppings of caramelized onions, lemon juice, chat masala, ginger, green peppers, and coriander. This makes a tasty treat which is actually also served to the soldiers on the battlefield because it has all the required nutrients.
Payye is an amazing slow-cooked dish that is cooked overnight and takes about 12-14 hours to cook. As you can imagine the meat just melts in your mouth. The stew is made out of beef or buffalo, the meat is tender the gravy is thick and really sticky. This is perfect for those who have good digestive systems because this puppy will make it work.
Aloo keema is like two dragon-ball Z’s fusion, you take two already good things, slap them together and voila what you get is an amazing standalone dish that will make your inner foodie go “ay ay ay”. Keema means mince and Aloo means Potato, as I said two good things. So if you are ever in Pakistan please have it for the sake of mankind.
When you take minced buffalo meat, dried and fresh spices, then you add them all together and make patties. Afterward, you deep fry them in fat. By doing all this you get the Chapli Kebab. The most famous Chapli Kebab is of Peshawar but as of now a lot of Pukhtun people have open up shop in Karachi and Lahore as well. So you can get anything anywhere now.
Now moving to some street food and the king of that is the BUN KEBAB. You can find a bun kebab vendor on every corner of every street. They are scattered around each city in Pakistan and for 50-100 PKR you can have a delightful snack. The Bun Kebab is made out of a Bun and a Kebab as you probably could guess but if you want you can also add egg and cheese in your Bun Kebab. It is presented to you like a burger with Chatni and ketchup and is best eaten dirty!
Channa Chat is another amazing street food made out of garbanzo beans, onions, tomatoes, papyri, chat masala and different kinds of chatnis. All mixed up to create a delicious snack. Just a precaution be ready to visit the washroom a couple of times afterward, but believe me, it is worth it.
I first discovered meethi puri 5 years ago and it was the best thing I had ever had. It is round papyri balls, filled with beans, onions and more papyri and then topped with sweet and sour sauces. Then you dunk these papyri balls into the tangy and spicy water and then you eat it with the water being soaked in the papyri. It is delicious and something you shouldn’t miss out on.
Now time for a little dessert. Kheer is a deliciously sweet milk dessert that is beloved by everyone. It is made on special occasions and is the dessert of choice on a lot of weddings. The ingredients for Kheer are almonds, pistachios, milk, yogurt, and rice. It is best eaten cold and there is a new alteration of this called Rabri Kheer, try both of them when in Pakistan and you won’t be disappointed.
- Now if you are thinking of coming to Pakistan or are already in Pakistan, you have to try all of these Pakistani Foods before you leave. Enjoy!
Read Also: 10 Most Popular Food Dishes In Pakistan