In the current era of food and flavours, the most interesting thing to note is that street food items are now seen in the glass showcases of bigger outlets as well. Whether it is a restaurant or some hotel, these items are an essential part of the menu.
by Fraaz Mahmud Kasuri
Human nature is very interesting in its nature. No matter how far we have gone or travelled, we go back to our origin. This is exactly the point that applies on all our habits and doings as well. Our food and eating habits is one thing that never stays at a place. We keep changing our food choices; sometimes in the pursuit of something new or sometimes just to taste our social or cultural roots. This is a fact that Pakistan is known for the variety of foods which actually explain our taste buds. This variety can be seen not only at expensive restaurants and eateries but also at roadside bars and shops. Earlier, hotels and restaurants in Pakistan started serving people with the cuisines of other regions and continents ignoring our original foods and dishes. With the passage of time, a shift was seen and keeping the demand in view our cultural foods and dishes were introduced in the menus and tariffs. Now, when food is not merely a meal, our street food has got its share again in almost all the small or big food eateries.
Some very popular roadside lip-smacking Pakistani street food includes chana chaat, fruit chaat, bun kabab, masala fries, daal chawal, sandwiches, BBQ rolls, pani puri, bhail puri, jalebi, dahi bharay, sweet potato, corn on the cob, roasted chickpeas, barbecued liver, biryani, haleem, sugarcane juice, squashes, lemonade etc. In winters, there is a special addition of roasted peanuts and chicken stock or yakhni on the streets.
In Karachi, you eat parathas, matka qulfi and rubbri, in Swat, you find boiled eggs and sweets made of dry fruits, in Kasur, you enjoy andrassay and falooda while in Gujranwala, you eat popular street food barbecued, fried or grilled chiraas (birds). Other than these, cotton candy, street salad, laddoo peethi, sattu drink, naan khataai and many other items can be seen being sold on the roads. These food items represent and reflect the true culture and richness of the flavours in Pakistan.
In the current era of food and flavours, the most interesting thing to note is that all these food items are now seen in the glass showcases of bigger outlets as well. Whether it is a restaurant or some hotel, these street food items are an essential part of the menu. Sometimes as starters, sometimes as desserts or sometimes as main food course, these street food items actually complete the lists of options. Recently, some investors have invested in the street food business and now they are successfully expanding it. One such trendsetter is Bombay Chowpatty which has literally explained the worth of street food. From famous Lacha Katori to special Aalu Chana Chaat, the list is full of Pakistani street food items. While talking to Hospitality Plus, Bombay Chowpatty Co-Partner Adnan Sheikh said that he was much satisfied with his street food business. “Everyone wants to eat street food but due its unhygienic condition people don’t eat that. I thought of making people eat our very own street food and that too in its pure form. I started using mineral water for all my water related recipes like khatta in Paani Puri.”, he added.
On the other hand, our cinema industry is incomplete without a long list of street food items. From popcorns to masala fries, the list is expanding and adding more items gradually. From shopping malls to university cafeterias, we can see street food items displayed in a hygienic way and that is a shift from unhealthy costly food to hale and hearty street food.