Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pani Puri in Pakistan

After eating some amazing home cooking in Karachi, I had the very rare opportunity to venture outside the home and eat some street food!

It was close to 10:00 pm, and the streets of Karachi were already dark. On the sides of the roads, men burned garbage that would leave thick sooty ash by morning.
Although the food cart was only a five minute walk from the house, it was decidedly unsafe to walk the  unlit path to the cart, especially at night, and especially for women.
So we drove three cars and fifteen people five minutes to the pani puri cart.

The cart was on the corner of the main street and a dark ally that was enclosed by three tall apartment buildings. When the owners of the cart saw us coming, the pushed several plastic tables together and scrounged around for enough chairs for our large party. We sat in the dark alley, protected by the buildings to three sides of us, and the pani puri cart separating us from the road. This was the only time I was ever in a public place at night in Karachi, and I was surrounded by friends.

We passed around paper plates and used our iphone flashlights to find utensils. We were all young, form 13 to 30. The streets were dark and dirty, but life was good. 










To take pictures of the food I had to use flash. Of course we ordered Pani Puri for everyone. Pani puri are hollow crackers  that are dipped into a spicy water. We ate with our hands, got dirty, and napkins were scarce. Oh well, that's what the dupatta is for!  Just kidding...no I'm not. 







One of the highlights of the Pani Puri cart was the juice selection! My friend ordered orange juice (on the left). I thought that was too ordinary, but actually orange juice in Pakistan is totally different from American. First, it really is fresh squeezed, not the sugary stuff from concentrate that is sold in American grocery stores. Also, many juicers add a little salt to the orange juice, to enhance the citrus flavor. It was amazing!
I ordered the cheeku/chikoo shake (to the right), because I love the cheeku! It tasted like a chocolate milk shake.




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