Food

Karachi’s Street-Food Forecast

Written by Omair Alavi

What’s on the cards for the people of Karachi, desperately waiting for Covid-19 to end so they can get on with their favourite pastime: street food!

Hussainabad is/was one of the busiest and happiest food districts in Karachi; the people await the pandemic to subside for street life to take off from where it left.

Thanks to a crippling global pandemic, the last four months have been difficult for people, to say the least. In a city like Karachi, where eating out is equivalent to breathing (it is the only source of entertainment), the lockdowns have had a devastating effect on businesses and peoples’ wellbeing. Food delivery options have eased the situation to some extent, but the joy of going out with friends, eating out whenever and whatever your heart desires, having a cup of chai or coffee at some roadside café … all that seems like a thing of the past.

For the love of street food

Karachi may not be the Capital of Pakistan but it is the hub of street food, with people crossing over all 3780 km² to tantalize their taste buds. A story that began with Waheed Kabab in Burns Road and Chullo Kabab in Saddar has now extended to all over the city. There are multiple outlets from the past, like the original Kaybees in Mohammad Ali Society and Tooso in Tariq Road, that have opened new branches in Defence and other areas.

Then there are the multiple food outlets in Defence A Market with A-One Snacks and Eaton reigning supreme while the Kaybees branch allows foodies a lot of choices. You have many eateries in Bahadurabad and adjoining areas led by the never-disappointing Zameer Ansari while there is the king of street foods – nihari – led by Zahid Nihari on Tariq Road. Nihari outlets like Javed Nihari in Dastagir, Sabri’s Nihari in Saddar and others, offer some of the best nihari options in the country. The best way is to sit there and have it hot from the cauldron, with freshly bakes tandoori naan. Yes, we’re all holding our breath for Covid to end.

The city inhabits the usual international food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts but if you want junk food with a desi touch, then Hot & Spicy, Red Apple besides chat outlets like Mirchi and Gazebo are your haunt. Don’t forget the countless Bun Kabab stalls all over the city, where Anday Wala Burger is a delicacy for all, while the many Bar B Q joints that have won fans over with their Paratha Rolls are not far behind. What began with Silver Spoon in Tariq Road is now part of every other area, be it the Food Street in Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Gulshan and FB Area to name a few.

The Restaurants

If you haven’t been to Hussainabad, you haven’t been to Pakistan-abad! Yes, the culturally rich neighborhood has everything from BBQ items to biryanis to Karachi’s famous koyla karhai to all sorts of mouthwatering delicacies, and it ranks at par with Burns Road and Boat Basin. Talking of Boat Basin, this particular food street is Karachi’s central line. After all, where else would you have Mr. Burger opposite Chips Fast Food, and Karachi Broast and Nihari Inn, all together in the same vicinity!

Then there are the many similarly-styled Food Streets in Sindhi Muslim, PECHS, and alongside the biggest Shahrah in the city, Shahrah-e-Faisal. You can find Xander’s off Shahrah-e-Faisal, as well as Rosati Bistro and Chaupal, besides everyone’s favorite family spot, Lal Qila, where getting a booking done is as ‘fun’ as much fun as its abundant buffet. Although Bundu Khan remains Karachi’s pride and has many branches scattered all over the city, one must not forget the famous L Block of North Nazimabad, where BoviChic leads the way with its authentic chicken dishes.

And of course, there are the many eateries on the E street in DHA where high-end customers go for quality food, peace and quiet. The same area houses Mews, Koel, Café Flo, the original Xander’s and The Deli and various other posh eateries that are a regular hang out for people living in the area.

Finally, Quintessentially Karachi landmarks

Whether you are a Karachiite or a visitor, there are some places that you must visit in the city. First on the cards is Bar B Q Tonight in Clifton, which maintains its popularity even decades after opening. The view from the rooftop is scenic and adds value to whatever it is on your plate. It’s a must-go.

Then there’s the Do Darya area, where Bar B Q restaurants are lined up so that families and friends can have a quality time. There are several popular restaurants in the area but topping our list is Kolachi, that has an unbeatable and incomparable commitment to quality. And lastly, when in Karachi, you cannot miss a trip to Casbah, nestled inside the Beach Luxury Hotel on the sea front. Famous for its sea-food, you won’t find those grilled Jumbo Prawns anywhere else in the world!

About the author

Omair Alavi