Pakistan Ka Dastarkhwan brings Karachi its biggest buffet yet

With the best and most popular dishes from all over the country, Pakistan Ka Dastarkhwan (or PKD as everyone has been calling it) turned out to be the biggest buffet dinner party ahead of Ramazan during the weekend here at the Expo Centre.

Sindh’s famous river fish, rahu and palla from Hyderabad, fried chirray (sparrows) from Gujranwala, Phajjay ke paye from Lahore and sweet lassi with pairah, white karhai and chapli kabab from Peshawar and Multani halwa were just some of the amazing food from out of station.

And Karachi taking all this competition in its stride offered its own delicacies such as biryani, nihari, haleem, sheermaal, taftan, bun kabab, kata-kat, sajji, batair, gol gappa, channa chaat, jalebi and gola ganda from eateries and areas famous for these offerings such as Burnes Road, Pahar Ganj, Lalu Khet, Dhoraji etc.

Also read: 10 must-have food items in Karachi, according to a die-hard Karachiite

Fahad Shaikh, managing the stall preparing fish from Breeze Fish Point of Hyderabad warned everyone about the extra fish bones in the fish as he carved generous portions for hungry Karachiites with plates queuing up in front of him.

River fish is far tastier from sea fish, insists Fahd Shaikh from Hyderabad's Breeze Fish Point
River fish is far tastier from sea fish, insists Fahd Shaikh from Hyderabad’s Breeze Fish Point

“You all are more used to sea fish. River fish though far more tastier has far more bones too, so be careful as you eat,” he said as he poured tamarind sauce over the fish he served. He also shared that they were breeding the river fish in farms now as the river streams they used to catch the fish from have more or less dried up.

Mohammad Hanif from Shareef Hotel in Gujranwala had a huge thaal (or silver platter) before him with roasted sparrows looking like miniature chicken pieces garnished with tomato and green chili. “How does one catch the sparrows?”

“Just like you catch fish here. The only difference is that you spread the net over water and we do it over trees,” he said.

Fried sparrow was a delicacy brought in from Gujranwala
Fried sparrow was a delicacy brought in from Gujranwala

Although there was no actual dastarkhwan laid out, the tables set in the middle of the area surrounded by food stalls were all occupied by late evening on all the days with volunteers in bright yellow uniforms available for assistance such as removing the plates and picking up trash after one had eaten.

On one such table, three friends, Ibad Shah, Sameer Wasi and Salman Siddiqui, were eating reshmi kabab as quickly as they could swallow with friends cheering them on. “It’s a competition on who can eat two skewers of sizzling reshmi kabab first, and I’m glad to be serving them with the food for their fun,” said Aaquib Arif of Truck Adda, a Pakistani food outlet in Jumeirah, Dubai.

The buffet opening for families at 7.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday went up to 11.30pm with Rs1,500 entry fee per person drew huge crowds.

All the food inside, with the exception of water bottles and cold drinks, was free after the initial payment.


Originally published in Dawn, May 15th, 2017

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