Karachi is home to several food festivals, but the newest entrant in the market promises something different.

Pakistan Ka Dastarkhwan, which is taking place at Expo Centre from May 12 (today) to May 14, will feature a buffet of over 100 dishes from all across the country. Craving siri paye from Lahore? You can grab a plate at PKD. What about Charsi Tikka from Peshawar? That'll be available too.

"Food is celebrated in different ways across Pakistan," says Ubair Rehmani of PKD's event management company Brand Engage. "Karachi and Lahore, for example, have different specialties. Like, we may enjoy a glass of lassi in Karachi but it won't taste like the lassi made in Lahore. On the flip side, whenever I have guests from Peshawar or Lahore, they insist on a meal of haleem and sheermal. We wanted to bring all the different tastes of Pakistan together at one event."

Entry to the festival is pricey at Rs1500+tax per person (although senior citizens above the age of 65 and wheelchair-bound people get 50% off). However, that's all that visitors will have to pay.

"Instead of a commercial event, where you pay a ticket for entry, and then pay further for food, we decided to create an event where people don't regret not trying any of the delicacies on display. So our guests will pay once at the door and then be free to feast on the all-you-can-eat buffet."

Some of the food vendors coming to Pakistan Ka Dastarkhwan
Some of the food vendors coming to Pakistan Ka Dastarkhwan

Chefs from Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Gujranwala, Nathia Gali and more are converging in Karachi for Pakistan Ka Dasktarkhwan. They are bringing with them not just their recipes but also their masalas and certain gravies that are easily portable! In some cases, meat is also being sourced from the chefs' favoured vendors to ensure that the food they serve at PKD is as authentic as possible.

Another unique aspect of the festival is that substantial arrangements have been made for seating, unlike other food fests we've seen in Karachi. PKD organisers are expecting 5000-6000 visitors at a time, and they promise to be able to accommodate most on tables and chairs.

Organisers are also in talks with a local NGO to prevent food wastage. The festival runs till May 14. Timings are 7:30pm to 11:30pm.