The Streets of Old Rawalpindi- A Hub of Desi Food

By Kinza Izhar

No matter how much Islamabad United fans are labelled as burgers in their food choices, we Islamabad walay (Residents of Islamabad) love desi food as much as any other Pakistani. We may be notorious for being a bit too selective in our food selection (referring to our diverse palate!) , but we also enjoy the desi delicacies that are characteristic of the Pakistani Cuisine.

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The PSL hype and the entire concept of embracing our own culture and its many aspects including food, further fuels our love for Pakistani cuisine.  When we crave desi, we usually head over to the sister city to Islamabad i.e Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi is one of the oldest cities in the country and naturally has a variety of desi food to offer.

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One of the most renowned restaurants in Rawalpindi operating since 1948 is “Akram Khan Foods Corner (AKFC)”, located at “Hathi Chowk Sadar”. Its  diversified and mouthwatering menu is the reason for its popularity.

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Their breakfast menu includes the scrumptious “Halwa Puri “, “Chanay”, “Paye” “Nihari”, fried egg or omelet served with fresh hot “Paratha”. For a Islamabad United match scheduled for the weekend, we suggest you pay them a visit before 12 and get your food packed for the match viewing later. That Nihari is pure comfort to the emotions of a cricket foodie during a PSL match.

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Also,  It’s a  thoroughly gratifying sight early in the morning, watching AFC dedicated cook frying “puri” dough in hot boiling oil with its aroma making difficult for you to wait!

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If however, you want something for lunch or dinner, these guys won’t disappoint you on that front either. They have : “Daal” , “Biryani”,“ Qeema” , “Taka Tak”  , “Mutton Karahi” , “Mutton Tikka”  and all kinds of “Kebab” and vegetables.

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All these menu items have a perfect blend of spices and are served with freshly prepared naans in their very own tandoor (Brick kiln).

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They add seasonal dishes to their menu as well. Especially in winters their Masala Fish is very famous in town. The crispy, spicy fish is extremely palatable and  a must have during a PSL match. We recommend the grilled version as it is a bit lighter on the stomach than the fried version.

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How can we talk about desi food and not mention tea? We Pakistanis run on tea, its our fuel and it gets us through the day. Likewise, we cannot watch a cricket match without the comfort of  a warm cup of tea.

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AKFC has the perfect blend of tea available that will leave you wanting more. We suggest you pay them a visit just to have a taste of that chai and we bet you will fall in love with it. Not just AKFC, inner Saddar in Rawalpindi has  a variety of places that are popular for their variety of tea including the infamous Kashmiri Chai.

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Rawalpindi has its own little hub of desi food right in the heart of Saddar. Its just a matter of exploring the streets and going on a true desi foodie hunt.