Karachi is known for its food. Whether it is a fancy restaurant or a roadside cafe, the food business in Karachi is booming.
When you’re on a budget or just not in the mood to dress up, your best bet it to hit the roadside dhabas and cafes.
Not only do they offer some very delectable options, but they also won’t judge you for showing up in those nightsuit pajamas. Plus they happily serve you in your cars, so you don’t even have to get down.
1) Bun Kebabs
Bun Kebabs were the kings of fast food before burgers swooped in to steal the glory. However, they haven’t been completely replaced. Many days at work for us have been saved by making a quick stop to the bun kebab stall nearby. You can find a stall at almost every corner of the road. But if you’re looking for the absolute best ones, we recommend the famous ‘Nursery ke Bun Kebabs’.
2) French Fries
Let’s be honest, Rs. 150, fries cannot compare to the Rs. 30 ones available at the various ‘umeda aur zaiqaydaar chips’ thelaas in Karachi. While they’re incredibly greasy and most definitely fattening, they have the power to lift the darkest of spirits with a single bite. There is no one place that offers the best roadside french fries in our opinion. We love them all equally.
3) Gola Ganda and Kulfi
On an intensely hot day, chill with a cup of flavored shaved ice or Kulfi. Dhoraji is famous for a street full of thela walas selling both gola ganda and kulfi. Easy on the pocket and incredibly refreshing, both Gola Ganda and Kulfi are sent from heaven for us all.
4) Pani Puri, Gol Gappas and Chaat
Whether is a plate of mix chaat, or that of gol gappas, this list will be incomplete without giving chaat a mention. Personally, we are a fan of the meethi dahi puri, but all types count. The most famous that we can think of is the Rajoo ki chaat at main Bahadurabad. Great taste and value for money, plus they serve you in your car. Parking, however, is a big issue.
5) Kebab Rolls
Ahh, many of our memories after exams revolve around stopping by Eaton for Garlic Mayo rolls. Ever since the very famous Silver Spoon closed down, numerous other outlets have cropped up offering their own variety. We have even tried the Zinger rolls, yes they exist. The most famous ones, however, are the Chicken Chutney rolls by Hot n Spicy.
Imagine feeling dreadful after a long day at work and just as you’re reaching home, you find a thela frying hot and delicious Kachoris. What do you do? Well if you’re anything like us, you will definitely be stopping by to buy a few dozen with ‘Aloo ki sabzi’ on the side. The most famous ones in Karachi are those you find near the Passport Office.
Originally a Middle Eastern dish, we have added our own personal touch to Shawarmas. The best ones we had were near Aghas Supermarket. You can find them now at nearly every chaat house in Karachi.
Dosas can be found at quite a few places in Karachi. The crispy flatbread filled with spicy potatoes, when dipped in coconut curry and chutney makes us giddy with delight. While Bombay Chowpatti offer dosa, the place is not consistent with the food quality. The little van outside Tooso, on the other hand, has never disappointed us.
9) Samosas and Jalebi
Evenings with samosas, jalebi and namak paray, of course, are the best ways to wind up a crazy weekday. With Ramadan coming soon, now’s your chance to enjoy some while you can still manage to find them.
10) Chai and Paratha
When all else fails, head to the nearest chai ka dhaba and mull life over a plate of paratha and chai. You’ll be done in under Rs. 100 and still have a smile on your face. If you’re looking for one place in particular, we recommend Alamgir Hotel. Their parathas will make you the happiest person alive.
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