Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

A bit of north-east-west-south

Since there happen to be some good people out there who care about Metblogs and have raised a significant amount of money to keep it from being taken down, it would be very unfair to not write something. After a little unsuccessful fiddling with my Windows Live! Writer (a nifty little tool that allows me to save drafts and format texts to make the write-up look nice for all the pretty ladies out there (mind you, pretty ones only)), I was able to post yet another brilliantly composed test message for theme detection which could not be taken off for some reason (those subscribed to the Islamabad Metblogs RSS probably know what the hell I’m talking about).

So what is there to write about Islamabad? Nothing I guess, except for the oh-so-beautiful view from Daman-e-Koh which people have the urge to photograph again and again, or maybe the seemingly never ending construction going on at the zero-point area, or the relocation of the little disabled baba who sits in the Super market selling cheap little Chinese toys.

You didn’t see that coming did you? Have you noticed that little disabled old man? The one who sits next to the shawarma maker near Durrani’s, whose delightful little sandwiches we love to sink our canines into very often?

Bah, why would anyone want to know anything about him… because there’s better news abound!

News #1: Dominos, the renowned pizza makers have finally come to Islamabad! Yaayyy! They’re a HUGE success in Lahore, with their DHA Y-Block outlet usually always crowded. I had the good fortunate of ordering a pizza at Dominos Lahore on Eid day, and despite the fact that there were apparently hundreds of people there booking their orders, my pizza still came in around 40 minutes at my doorstep. I’m personally very fond of Dominos and usually prefer those over Pizza Hut/Inn whenever I’m in Lahore. Good thing they’re here in Islamabad now. The boys at Pizza Hut would definitely have a hard time retaining their customers now!

News #2: All you peri peri lovers have probably seen the new Nando’s outlet finally come to life in the Super market. I’m not sure if it was inaugurated over the weekend, but I saw some guys taking mobile phone snaps of the building from all angles. It’s quite a good location, but I’m wondering if the soft-tongued islooites would be able to develop a taste for Nando’s. And I think that Nando’s success would mean a blow to KFC. Their standard is already pretty low, so a bit of chicken competition would probably bring them back on track.

News #3: The monkey had his first ever plate of dahi ballay from munchies in Islamabad after 3 years of living in this city! *monkies cheering*

By the way, the monkey noted that exceedingly short kameez seem to be back in fashion now. He had the good fortune of seeing a petite young creature wear a kameez which probably extended an inch above the lower fold of the glutes. An mind you, that is dangerously provocative… the monkey almost collided with an oncoming black Toyota truck while he was intently observing the swaying undulating folds of the silky lower garment. I think the kameez is going through a phase of extremes too now (damn, everything is extremist). Either its too long, or too short. I won’t be surprised if the kameez goes way up above the navel one day to give the wearer a more arabian belly dancer type look. Sigh, the monkey misses the 1990’s!

Rana Market walay samosay, pakoray aur jalabian!



Rana Market, F-7/2. Islamabad. Yum. Yum.

Somehow, rain and samosas/pakoras/jalaibies just go hand in hand. So when it rains, drive to this very place and have their yummy samosas, jalaibis and pakoras

p:s: If you notice hard enough, you’d see a mullah giving me the “WHAT A HARAM THING YOU DO BUSTER” glare lol.

Nageena Burger

If you live in the vicinity of I-8/3 or F-10 then you must be familiar with the extremely excellent Nageena Burger. For those of you who don’t, this is an informative post. Go to either F-10 Markaz or I-8/3 Sangam Market and try it out. These people make the best burgers. Anda shami, chicken or beef. With or without cheese, scrumptious and delicious is their middle name.

An affordable meal and tasty as well. Hashim recommended :)

Ramadan 2009

Ramadan seems to be coming along fine in the capital with men and women spending the day staying hungry, waiting patiently for the time the sun sets down so they can chow down the unhealthy delicacies waiting for them on their dining tables. The samosa and pakora manufacturers are having a great month by selling those onion, mince meat, and vegetable filled foods to all and sundry. Right next to them are the jalebi engineers, and the kachori developers. A typical marketplace, like the Melody Food Area for example, is a fun place to go minutes before iftari. All the fruit sellers are trying their best to sell all their rotting fruits so they pack up and go to the nearest mosque for the iftar. Eateries like the Melody Savor branch are thronged by people to grab a shopping bag full of their favorite pulao kabab (I personally find the act of stuffing a royal dish like a pulao in a transparent polythene bag quite disgraceful). Everyone is in a hurry to run back home before the sirens go off, and before the muezzins in every mosque in Islamabad announce the time to break the fast.

There are people, like yours truly, who enjoy wandering around right at the time of iftar. Walking down in the middle of the erstwhile busy roads at iftar time can be delightful. You can see all the policemen huddled up under trees and behind their concrete barricades with disposable plates full of the aforementioned delicacies. Yet there is always one of them standing guard, just in case a truck full of explosives with two euphoric men would happen to go by. There are also small time fruit sellers standing at street corners, and one of them was kind enough to offer me five dates for free at the time of iftar (I accepted two though, ate one and shoved the other one deep into the unforgiving bowels of my bag, probably to be eaten up by a cockroach or something).

Oh, by the way, on my way back home I noticed this new development in the Super Market. Can anyone guess what this little black mirchi means?

Image123

Anyway, the blessings of Ramadan are endless. Here are a few of them for your reading pleasure:

1) You get to have more food than you usually have.

2) You get to have more unhealthy food than you usually have.

3) You learn that food is the most important thing on the planet, and that Ramadan is all about the food.

4) You shove non-fasters behind embarrassing enclosures where they can have their happy time and have a bite or two to satiate their hunger (Poor souls! They should demand their rights).

5) Sexually active couples get to spend less time in bed together, and hence contribute in the noble cause of slowing down the population growth of this deprived nation.

6) Medications like Gaviscon and the white Milk of Magnesia have increased sales to help their consumers break down the large bubbles of gas in their intestines into smaller more manageable air packets.

7) And so on and so forth…

But seriously, without taking the ugly head of Ramadan commercialism, the political disturbances, the price hikes, and the religious complications, there are a few things about this month the make it the most important month of the year for a persons physical and mental health. Without Ramadan, the little social ills that plague our society would become something normal, and there would be no question of whether the ills being practiced are right or wrong. This the only time of the year when people abstain from things that are considered wrong, and they develop the patience and strength to do that. Ramadan is not about praying five times a day, or getting up early in the morning to eat paratha, or reciting the Qur’an, or staying hungry throughout the day… it is only about the well being of the spirit, and it is our job to learn how to keep our spirit happy and healthy during this holy month, and for every other month of the year.

It is also mainly about love and compassion, just like the compassion shown to me by that poor fruit seller standing with his cart in the corner of the street at iftar time by offering me dates with a smile on his face.

So Happy (belated) Ramadan everyone! And I hope you spend the rest of what remains of this Islamic month contemplating over the little ills inside you instead of worrying about staying hungry and thirsty.

From my seat on KFC’s first floor

Well, here I am again in the Super market, wandering around aimlessly and filling my lungs with fresh Islamabadi air (mixed with popular brands of perfume, the stench of garbage cans, the smell of sweaty under arms, and the hormonal discharge of emotionally charged adolescents). Having brisk walked around the area for over an hour, I was beginning to feel hungry, and so I decided to go to the KFC outlet for my favorite snack of a chicken nuggets combo meal with an Arabian rice add-on. I hadn’t eaten something unhealthy in quite sometime, so I thought it would be nice if I could treat my taste buds to something Finger Lickin’ Good.

Since I’m a regular KFC customer and keep ordering those nuggets at my place whenever I feel like getting my arteries blocked with cholesterol, the delivery guy wandering around the counter recognized me and made sure that I got my order in time. And soon my hot star shaped nuggets came sliding down their delivery cabinet and were served in a disposable paper plate along with the unusually salty fries by their side. Since the lower floor was being renovated, I had to go to the first floor to have my meal.

What I have felt during my three year stay in Islamabad (my personal observation) is that people here like going to the KFC outlet more than McDonalds, whereas in Lahore McDonalds is far more popular than KFC as you’ll usually see every McDonalds outlet in Lahore spilling with people who are dying to sink their teeth in a juicy slab of chicken or beef meat (stop drooling, you’ll short circuit your keyboard). Accessibility maybe? With McDonalds far away in F-10 near that park thingy (Fatima Jinnah probably?), people would rather prefer going to the more accessible KFC in the Super, a market place where people are found anyway at any time (except for later in the night after 11, which I think is quite sad). I would personally rate the McDonalds Big Mac more chunkier and juicier than the KFC’s Zinger, the latter having tarnished my image of the much likened burger after I received it in a messy condition at my place. And for some reason I have this feeling that food served at the KFC is more unhealthier than that served at McDonalds.

No comparing McDonalds fries with KFC’s though! Nicely served, crisp and hot and appropriately salted, the McDonalds’ fry is the perfect sidekick to an equally good Big Mac burger, unlike the KFC fry which is a bit more oilier and inappropriately salted. The taste of the fry should be uniform; it should penetrate the flesh of the potato and be homogenous throughout the fry. Because if you chew on a piece of fry with a non-uniform taste, you would see that it is saltier on the outside, but not as salty on the inside, giving you an incomplete taste in the mouth. When you bite a fry, your brain expects the same lovely salty potato taste on the inside too, and when your tongue does not find it, the brain is disappointed. And that’s why McDonald’s fries are better than KFC’s… they just have a nice uniform taste in addition to the crispiness and freshness.

I guess we’ve dissected the fry a bit too much than was necessary.

The first floor of the KFC outlet seemed like a children’s area with balloons everywhere and lovely greeting cards self-made by children pasted to every window of the outlet. I found some of the cards very very touching. Here’s a window covered with cards the children made for their mothers, probably for mothers day:

Image044

There’s all sorts of lovely things written on them. The kids have been very creative about expressing their love for their mother in these cards. There was stuff like: There is nothing more comfortable in this world than a mother’s lap.

But I find this quite strange. Not that the kids are expressing their love for their mothers, but that a multi-national fast food outlet that serves fried chicken with potato fries and a soft drink in a disposable glass has children’s emotions splattered all over their walls. Why is a fast food outlet stressing so much on a child’s love for this mother? Is it because they want to improve their sales by attracting more children? Is it because they are using the cover of Mother’s Day to get more customers? Is it because this outlet is in a way educating these children to respect KFC more, and by doing so are preparing them to be KFC addicts in the future? Or does KFC truly and honestly respects a child’s love for his or her mother and is proudly displaying it on their windows with these cards that the children made? Quite strange if you think of it.Image045

It didn’t take me much time to finish what I had in my plates, but what I usually look forward to eating at KFC is the Arabian Rice. I often find myself ordering two plates of Arabian Rice, one as an add-on which costs Rs. 40, and one separate, which costs me Rs. 75 I believe. It’s that combination of the rich chicken flavor with the capsicum, the peppercorn and the green chilli that makes this rice so irresistible. I tried making it at home but wasn’t very successful with it. The only difference was the absence of chicken; I had put chicken stock in it instead. But it did come near to the real thing.

Image046With plenty of time to waste I thought I should send up a few tweets through my cellphone. But then I wondered if there was a WiFi internet connection in the outlet. Quite a ridiculous thought, but when I scanned for wireless internet I found a LOT of them! And everytime I ran the scan I found new ones. The first one in the picture on the left gave me 100% signal strength, so that probably was the KFC’s connection. There was another one for the Chopsticks restaurant right next to the KFC outlet, and this too was an unsecured open connection. The others had either WPA or WEP encryption, so I couldn’t get through them. But I spent my time there comfortably tweeting through the KFC and the Chopsticks WiFi connection. So if anyone of you is on the move and is looking out for a good internet connection to post a blog, check e-mails or work, then just sit around the KFC area and you’ll get a good signal.

And after having my meal, I walked back home, made two glasses of nice salted lassi with a kulcha, and went to bed with the thought that by the time I wake up in the morning, my body would have had absorbed the proteins from the nuggets and patched up my muscle tissue with it, the fries would have provided the much needed carbohydrate, and the rice a truckload of calories to burn on another walk on a Saturday afternoon.

Up For Roll Paratha?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcRXPx35d88[/youtube]

Just saw the making of Roll Paratha @ munchies and I’m totally up for it …. anyone else wana come ;)

Gol Market in the Dripping Weather

The weather yesterday was rainy but lovely. Everything looked squeaky clean. The scenery presented a wonderful display of splendor and serenity. Even the market places looked nice. It was a bit difficulty to move around because of water up above (rain) and down below (puddles). *giggles* But it was worth going out and physically experiencing the weather. I for one, went to Gol Market in Jinnah Super. Here is a glimpse of how it looked:

From Afar

Gol Market: From Afar

The multi-coloured umbrellas put in place also gave the market a nice loook:

Gol Market (Closeup)

Gol Market (Closeup)

It looked much more marvelous than these pictures and it was fun having the hot “shawarma” there in the slightly chilly atmosphere. This place is recommended to all to go and have some outdoor food/fun. :-)

Danay Garma Garam

If any of you happens to pass by the Green Trust Tower (or the UBL Building or the OGDCL building) on Jinnah Avenue (Blue Area), be on the look out for these yummy garma garam danay. Especially if you are on foot then it would be criminal not to check out the danay from this theela (cart). This guy comes to this area ever day around midday and stays till late in the evening.

Danay Getting Roasted

Danay Getting Roasted

These days he has two types of danay to offer. One is makai (corn) and the other is channay (some kind of chick-peas). He would roast these in front of you in the big pan containing salt of some kind. When he is done, he will transfer those ‘now roasted’ danay to a small paper bag (looks tiny at times) and hand over to you. You can enjoy these ‘healthy’ treats from as low as Rs 5.00 to as much as you can afford & handle (rather your teeth and tummy can handle), not to mention till the danay-wala’s stocks last.

Different Varieties

Different Varieties

My mouth is already watering but I cannot spot the danay wala from my window yet. Maybe its too early for him to arrive. I guess I will have to wait a bit and then with my whole army (gal pals in office) I will charge and conquer (satisfy my relish that is).

Sweetness Overflow!

SQuoted from an olden Herald issue:

Despite its location in the heart of Islamabad’s commercial zone, the Blue Area, Shahida Ahmed’s Tiramisu manages to be cosy and intimate. Shrouded in greenery, the restaurant is immune to the chaos of traffic just a few dozen feet away. The noise fails to penetrate the atmosphere or punctuate the conversations of Tiramisu’s many diners. After gaining a reputation as one of the capital city’s premier caterers, Shahida recently opened the doors to her eatery. The decision to set up shop was a natural offshoot of her love of good food. Of course, Shahida’s delectable dishes have long been enjoyed at the banquet tables of Islamabad’s elite. But now indulgence has become more egalitarian. One no longer has to be a society aunty or a power uncle in order to pamper one’s taste buds. (ROFL ~ author)

daSh of sWeetness

These days I’m totally addicted to Tiramisu’s sweet delicacies …. do try ’em out!

ps: its in same vicinity as Cave restaurant.

pps: Is it just me or the bakery is really built on pavement … illegal construction ~_^

Details on the Bakery & Restaurant courtesy Taaza Nan.

picture courtesy: Me ;)

Live from Bakra Mandii

Post made originally on December 28, 2006. Re-published :)

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This Sunday I made a trip to the “Mandi Maweshia” also known as Bakra Mandi that is being placed in H-11 this year – yes you are right the same ground where last year earthquake affectees were placed.

Bakra Mandi - A view

I don’t know if it’s large place that’s making the number of sacrificial animals lesser than every year or what … but I guess it’s enough to cater the needs of Islooittes.

Islamabad - Bakra mandi in H-11

Just step in the locality and a very familiar “Goaty smell” or as I normally say “the feeling of Bakriat” is what you’ll feel. Don’t worry move on. To be honest, this was the first time after so many years that I actually stepped inside the bakra mandi … face to face with all bakras and dunbas and gayays. So it was interesting too and incidentally I was the only girl in whole Bakra mandi at that time taking portraits of bakras aka goats and stylish “phedoos” aka sheep with utmost tries to stay as far as possible.

Few tips for newbie who may go out to look for animals just for fun with their parents, or maybe friends …. Few terms that are associated with Goats are:

Kheera: It’s the animal that is of 1.5 – 2 years old.

Donda: This animal is of 2+ age and usually have 4 teeth in front.

Choga: This is of around 4 years of age and is considered a bit older with not very good quality meat.

Please correct me if I’m wrong or any additions to this “knowledge-base”

The range of goats (sorry we didn’t asked for Bulls or camel :>) would go from 7K to 20+ for an average to a very good piece. Do take tips on your way to buying a sacrificial animal for differentiating between a healthy and sick animal … and do look thoroughly if the animal is hurt from somewhere.
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