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The Top Ten Pakistani Foods You MUST Try!

Myra Ahmed


Pakistanis are passionate about three things: Pakistan, cricket, and food – all of which possess the power to unite natives of all corners of the country. Food is not only our passion, but in fact, a huge part of our rich culture and heritage. Thus, we devised our own take of the top ten foods of Pakistan, what they offer, and where you can treat yourself to them.


1) Nihari

Brimming with flavour, Nihari is one of the most shahi dishes in Pakistani cuisine. It is served piping hot, with an array of condiments including zesty lemon, intense ginger and coriander. Nihari, is rooted in the Arabic word ‘Nihar’ which translates to ‘morning’ and was eaten as a breakfast meal during the Mughal era. It has now become a delicacy and is often eaten on special occasions. We say head to any small street restaurant to get that real Desi taste!


2) Biryani

To potato or not to potato: that is the question. Biryani, somewhat synonymous to every Pakistani's comfort dish, is an assemblage of spices and chicken, all cooked to form a masala which is then enveloped in rice. Every fold, every spice and every grain of rice distinguishes the flavour of biryani, and so, no two biryanis are the same!


3) Gulab Jamun

A sweet and succulent golden-brown ball guaranteed to give you a feeling of sheer ecstasy. Gulab Jamun is the centerpiece of every Mithai box and is thus a must-try for tourists visiting Pakistan. Chashni, a new Pakistani Mithai shop, will provide you with the traditional, royal experience.


4) Halwa Puri

THE ULTIMATE BREAKFAST! It does not get better than a delectable chickpea curry, a tart potato bhaji, and a delightful semolina halwa, all served with a light, fluffy puri. Commonly eaten in Lahore and Karachi, this hearty breakfast can be found all over the country!


5) Haleem

A concoction of flavours, lentils and meat; Haleem is an extremely popular delicacy throughout Pakistan. Its strong aroma, distinctive taste and special texture makes it an unforgettable treat that is truly representative of Pakistani culture. We recommend Haleem from Dogar Restaurant!


6) Chicken Tikka

Succulent chicken enveloped in an array of robust Desi spices, giving it just the right amount of flavour, texture and kick! This dish is found widely across Pakistan, often featured on the menu of almost every restaurant. To kickstart your tikka cuisine, try the one at Lal Qila or BBQ Tonight for a fabulous culinary experience.


7) Chicken Handi

Chicken Handi may seem like a simple weekday dish, but make no mistake! Chicken Handi is an underrated packet of wonderful flavour, served with buttered naan, chilies, ginger and a generous sprinkle of masalas. Chicken Handi from ANY Pakistani restaurant is bound to be a delicious meal!


9) Mutton Pulao

Mutton Pulao is a Pakistani comfort food by far. Its distinct, light flavours give it an aroma that can be identified from far off! Made with Basmati rice, Pulao consists of mutton that is cooked and reduced in a series of masalas. It is savoured especially in Lahore, but is well-loved in all other cities. Mutton Pulao from any Pakistani restaurant will be amazing!


10) Ras Malai

The sweet, creamy, delectable delight of Ras Malai - a treat to be savoured! Ras Malai consists of small doughy balls soaked in wonderfully-infused, sweetened milk, giving it its rich texture and marvellous taste! Ras Malai from Chashni is absolutely great!