Pakistani street food is a delicious and vibrant part of the country's cuisine, offering an array of flavors and textures that will make your mouth water. From the mesmerizing tikkas of Peshawar to the sweetened breads of Lahore, each city has its own unique dishes that are as diverse and delicious as the country itself.
Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of Sindh province, is known for its vibrant culture and delicious food. One of the most popular dishes in Karachi is the paratha roll. It is a simple yet delicious snack that can be easily found on almost every street corner of the city. The popularity of the paratha roll in Karachi is due to its convenience and affordability and it serves as a great way to enjoy the flavors of the city without spending too much money.
The paratha roll is a snack that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere without any logistic restrictions. Any newcomer to Karachi is bound to fall in love with the paper wrapping being peeled off as a bite is taken out of the delectable roll, the warm and crispy paratha, the tender meat that comes apart on the tongue, and the chutney seeping out. This mouthwatering work of art begs the question of whether any other city in Pakistan can produce an original food that comes on par with Karachi’s Paratha Roll, and we are here to try and answer that riddle for you.
The first city we’re obviously going to look at is the culinary rival of Karachi. Lahore is a city with a rich and vibrant culture, history, and heritage. It has been the capital of many empires, including the Mughal Empire, the Sikh Empire, and the British Raj, and each of their influences can be seen in the traditional cuisine of the city.
One of Lahore’s most iconic culinary dishes is Paaye, a traditional stew made from goat trotters served with puffy naan straight out of the tandoor. The taste of Paaye is truly unique, and it has become a popular dish among food lovers in Lahore and other cities across the country. The ingredients used to make Paaye are simple, yet the flavors come together to create a delicious fulfilling meal that is now a trusted breakfast staple for many living in the city.
The cuisine of Multan is as diverse and vibrant as its people. It has been influenced by many different cultures and has adapted to the local climate, ingredients, and culinary traditions. Multani cuisine is best known for its delicious halwas, which are sweet desserts made with semolina and sugar. Sohan Halwa is one such traditional sweet dish that originated in Multan. It is made with semolina, butter, and sugar and flavored with cardamom, saffron, and almonds.
Usually served during festive occasions such as weddings and Eid, the preparation of Sohan Halwa is a long and laborious process, but the end result is worth it. The halwa is light yellow in color with a chewy texture and a rich, nutty flavor. It is usually served with cream or ice cream and can also be garnished with nuts for extra flavor. Being such a popular dessert in the region, the halwa can be found in most restaurants and sweet shops in Multan.
The Pakistani province of Khyber-Pahtunkhwa is well known for its love of food, especially meat. The city of Peshawar in the province has a long and rich culinary history, and the cuisine is known for its spicy flavors and use of exotic ingredients. The most famous dish from Peshawar is Chapli Kabab or sometimes known as the Chappal Kabab, which has become popular throughout Pakistan and has even managed to attract global attention.
It consists of a flat patty made from minced beef or chicken, spices, and herbs. The patty is then grilled over an open flame until it is cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. Chapli Kabab is usually served with naan, sliced onions, and chutney or sauce. Over time, Chapli Kabab has become an iconic dish of Peshawar and a staple of Pakistani cuisine. It is commonly served as street food and at festivals, weddings, and other special occasions.
The cuisine of Quetta is heavily influenced by its location between the Afghanistan and Iran borders. The traditional dishes are a combination of the two countries’ cuisines and include Namkeen Gosht, a spicy dish made with mutton or beef, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. A key part of making the delicacy is slow cooking the meat. This helps to tenderize it and ensure that all the flavors have time to properly infuse. The dish is usually served with fluffy naan or roti and a side of yogurt to help cut through the spiciness.
The cuisine and gastronomy of Pakistan are as diverse and rich as its culture. From the sweet Sohan Halwa from Multan to the spicy Chapli Kabab from Peshawar to the slow-cooked Namkeen Gosht from Quetta, there is something for everyone. We set out to answer a very simple question about the superiority of Karachi’s Paratha Roll but have ended up with just as much confusion ourselves. All the dishes we talked about above are reflective of the country’s history and the cultures that have shaped the respective regions where these dishes hail from.
We leave the answer to this seemingly simple, but quite impossible question to our readers; can you choose one superior dish out of all these culinary masterpieces?