Pre-Festival Happenings and Public Opinion
To say that the love for food keeps Karachiites going, is certainly an understatement. Whether it is a 40 hour wait at a small crammed up fish eatery, or a recently inaugurated elitist themed café, we do it all. Naturally then, Karachi Eat Food Festival, is one of the most anticipated events of the year and it takes everyone by a storm. This year, however, it took a rough start.
Initially scheduled for the second weekend of January, Khi Eat faced a rough blow, as the weather took an unexpected turn and it rained heavy, so much so that the event had to be postponed to the weekend, with one day of the weekend (Friday the 13th), already setup and attended by a few. Also, this year the organizers decided to implement a ‘family only’ policy which meant that men alone couldn’t buy themselves tickets or enter. All this, caused a wave of uproar among the public as more and more people were convinced that the festival this year would fall short of their expectations. However, the event came back with a bang from the 20th to the 22nd of January 2017, proving all the allegations wrong.
The Event and the Food
The festival kick-started on Friday, and very soon reviews started coming up on what stalls were a must. Making a mental list in my head, I was at the entrance of the Frere Hall by 12 noon on Saturday, and surprisingly, I found the ticket counter empty! The entire process was smooth and I was inside the area in less than five minutes. As soon as I entered, I was rather glad to see the setup to be entirely similar to Karachi Eat 2016. I immediately paved my way to the Chai wala stall, because my day cannot possibly start without chai! What I loved about their stall was how vibrant it was, selling all their signature parathas. When I saw this beautiful paper cup they were giving away chai in, I was instantly beaming with happiness, thinking how I’d get it to home. Next up, was the talked-about funnel cake from Lady Marmlade. I must say, the funnel cake was delicious, generous serving compared to other dessert stalls and no doubt, a treat to eat. The scorching heat, then, called for something icy, so I headed over to Frais Snow Cones and tried their Limca; a blessing under the sun. My friends, still hungry, headed towards Chapli Kabab House and the reviews were so spot on, a well-cooked and seasoned kabab with a naan, filling and delicious.
I saw the tremendous amount of attention being bagged by Khao Dosa (Their khausas are a favorite!) and D’oh, with their queues longer than all the others. Two particular stalls that appeased me included “From Burns road from with love” and “Peshawar”. The bunkabab from the former was nice and flavorful, the namkeen boti from Peshawar was succulent and no doubt, a hit. Other prominent stalls were Juicy Lucy, Breast & Lion, Bond Street waffles, Slice of Life’s Parfait, Kuiya, The sauce, Crepe Tease, Bombay Chaat House and Naye Namoonay (who had mixed reviews for their pan shots, but a creative invention nonetheless).
It was said that some of the stalls were too pricey and had small servings, which was in fact, true in some cases. However, for an annual event and for you to experience all-food-in-one-place, it was worth it.
All in all, the festival was a treat to attend and also, very well-organized. Kudos to CKO for their efforts and for bringing forth a festival, a safe public space, for families to enjoy. I would have loved to visit it the entire three days, because let me tell you, unless you have a very big appetite, the stalls were endless and the options were limitless. However, I think it would be better if they could come up with more seating arrangements, because I saw a number of elderly tired and sitting on the grass. If there could be more seats, it would be possible for people to enjoy more, not worrying about balancing plates in their hands and searching for a place to rest.
For me, Karachi Eat is more than just eating. It’s about a sense of belonging to a country with a rich culinary experience and diverse cuisine. Bringing them all into one place, right near the magnificent Frere Hall, is something worth the appreciation.
Looking forward to Khi Eat 2018 already!