Pakistan is recognized among tourists as the land of hospitality. It is famous for its people and the sight-seeing of the northern areas. The country had some bad years in the early 2000s with the rise of some far-right extremist groups, creating a dangerous and hostile environment for tourists. But the situation has improved over the past few years, opening up the roads once again for local and foreign visitors alike.
The country’s landscape is a beautiful mix of lush green plains, rocky rugged mountains, picturesque valleys, numerous rushing rivers, deserts, sunny beaches and a border with the Arabian sea. In short, Pakistan offers everything you could expect from a travel destination. It encompasses one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. It was named the top adventure travel destination in 2018 by the British Backpacker Society, so it is worth a visit.
The people of Pakistan welcome tourists with open arms. Every foreign tourist has a story of their own to share, singing songs of praise for hosts in Pakistan. Consequently, finding accommodation will never be a problem for you in the country. With an increasing number of websites, like the popular local property portal Prop, to help you navigate through the rental market, it is becoming easier and easier to book a place to stay at. But even if you fail to find an accommodation for the night, this should not be a problem. Let any Pakistani family know of your predicament and they will offer up their home to you for the remainder of your time in their city free of cost.
Another important aspect of Pakistan’s appeal has to be the food scene. If you are a foodie at heart and you live to eat, Pakistan has to be the place for you. Whether it is cheap yet delicious street food or high-end cuisines, you can find your pick in the cities of Pakistan. The country is famous for its flavorful, spicy rice and meat dishes. Whatever you choose will be packed with spices and flavor. Pakistanis take their food very seriously, so they always put in extra effort to make everything scrumptious, leaving you licking your fingers.
Almost all destinations in Pakistan offer their blend of spices and a unique twist to the local dishes. But we picked out our favorites and listed them below to help you narrow down places on your food quest.
As a city with a long and fascinating history as an integral part of the trade routes of South Asia, it is no surprise that the food found around Peshawar has a variety of spices and a unique flavor. If you love meaty cuisine, this should be one of the first places you visit. The city is known for paye (a stew of trotters), brain masala, chapli kebab and, to end the meal on high, the aromatic cardamom green tea.
Peshawar’s qissa khwani bazaar (storytelling marketplace) is home to some of the best street food in the city. The market used to be the place traders shared a cup of tea while relaying stories of their travels, so it’s a great place to uncover the history of culture and food within Peshawar.
Karachi is the largest and most densely populated city of Pakistan. It is a melting pot of Pakistani culture, with people from all parts of the country living side by side. It also has some of the most famous food stops.
Although nihari and biryani are staples of all Pakistani households, Karachi is the city famous for the best versions. You could grab a plate of nalli biryani, an unusual take on Pakistan’s favorite rice dish. For the best nihari in the city, spend your dinner time at Javed Nihari, a restaurant that has garnered a fan following throughout the country. If you want to spend a little more and enjoy the sea breeze coupled with great food and ambiance, you should stop by at Kolachi as well.
But in all this, don’t miss out on the renowned street food scene in the city. Try a dhaba at sea view or have bun kebab from a street vendor. The variety in Karachi surely makes it a foodie’s paradise.
The Hunza valley is magical. The views are matchless and so is the hospitality of the people. You are truly mesmerized since the minute you arrive. The region of Gilgit-Baltistan has a food culture unlike the rest of Pakistan. The food incorporates walnut and apricot oil in almost all the dishes and is far lower on the spice scale, but it is no less delicious.
You could start your food journey with mamtu, a local dumpling filled with minced meat. They are small and super tasty. Then you could try dowdo (soup with minced meat and handmade noodles) and chapshuro, which you could call the local take on pizza. Both of these can be found at Hunza Food Pavilion, a quaint cottage shop run by one lady who offers scrumptious food prepared in front of your eyes along with a one of a kind view of the mountains. Apricot juice and walnut tea are specialties which can’t be missed.
Meat lovers, this one is for you. Gujranwala is known for the residents being foodies who love eating meat like no one else. Try Pakistani barbeque at Khizar Tikka. Their lamb chops and gola kebabs are must-haves.
The city also offers some of the best chiray which are small birds cooked in a stew or barbequed, depending on your taste.
The emerging city with the cleanest beaches and prettiest views of the sea is also not far behind in food culture. Since it is a coastal city, fish is the most popular meat choice. You can find a version of all traditional meat dishes made with fish in this city such as fish karahi and fish kebab. The surmai fish with a tamarind dip from Pearl Continental should not be missed.
There are so many other cities with their special kind of food to offer all over the country which could not be given a special mention. When you do visit Pakistan, be ready to eat like crazy! It will be a journey you will cherish forever.