Karachi Eat came back for its seventh edition yesterday and like always, navigating the madness that is the city's biggest, baddest food festival is the only thing on everyone's minds.
While no one gets more excited about Karachi Eat than us, we have to be honest: this time around, the experience felt a little underwhelming and the hype was missing. We felt like there was a lack of innovation and while they certainly ironed out some of the logistical issues they had last year, the real proof is in the pudding aka the food.
Fret not, we've still managed to scope out the best food items that make braving the Karachi cold (seriously, it's really cold so wear warm clothes and comfortable, closed shoes) worth your while.
It's time to dish out the good stuff:
Neapolitan pizza from Crust Bros
We arrived to the venue relatively early and most stalls hadn't started serving yet; either their booth wasn't set up, they hadn't been provided gas or something or the other had gone amiss. These guys were one of the first few stalls on the right and were serving up their simple but delicious pies with a smile. We tried the pepperoni pizza, which was light and airy and the homemade marinara really hit the spot; what else can you want in a pizza? (Come to think of it, we would have liked some more pepperoni).
Even so, we grabbed another slice on our way out, that's how much we liked it!
And if you're feeling fancy, you can try out the Cheesy Lovers with edible gold specks; that costs Rs500 for a 6 inch mini pizza.
Haryali prawns from PortSide
The green masala on these barbecued prawns was finger-licking good and six prawns for the price is reasonable. We were initially served a cold batch (owing to those strong winds) but the vendors quickly replaced it with a warm one.
Ebiyaki and mochi donuts from Yoshi's
Price: Rs350 for the ebiyaki, Rs200 for six mini mochi donuts
We love Japanese food and had high expectations from this. Luckily, Yoshi's did not disappoint. The gooey, prawn-y ebiyaki balls were fun to watch being cooked and delicious to eat. Tip: eat them hot.
We were served six prawn balls topped with delicious sauces and garnish. If you like seafood and you like Japanese grub, this one's for you. Also were probably one of the handful of unique offerings at the fest that tasted as good as it looked. The donuts were also appreciated; they were soft and had a distinct (but not overwhelming) Mochi flavour.
Mexican hot dog from Drty Dog
One of the busier stalls at the fest, we tried both their offerings: Korean and Mexican. The Mexican was just slightly better; they were generous with the nacho cheese and jalapenos. Our only complaint was that it was served cold. Tip: eat them hot and if it isn't served warm, ask them to exchange it.
What they also could have done is put the hot dog between the bread instead of on top so it's easier to eat while you're walking around. That said, we still really liked all the flavours in this one.
Speaking of hot dogs...
Shakester from The Cheesy Boys
A burger in the form of a hot dog which we really enjoyed chowing this down and was good value for money. Also a venture of the people behind Crust Bros, The Cheesy Boys won our hearts with their food!
Donuts from ODonuts
Price: Rs300 for two
Donuts are having a moment right now in K-town. And we would go as far as to say that ODonuts are making the best ones in Karachi. The donuts weren't dense or greasy and were actually easy to eat while walking around. Highly recommend you try their original glazed. They're not heavy so you'll have space to sample other desserts too.
Korean nuggets and poutine from TNT
So many flavours and textures! The nuggets were crispy, sweet and tangy and the poutine was cheesy goodness. It's priced quite reasonably but the only issue was the service, they told us to get our own forks...
S'mores hot cocoa from Sòl
Sòl is known for its brisket but who knew they could serve hot chocolate as good as (what we imagine) the one at Willy Wonka's factory. Topped with marshmallow and cookies, this hot chocolate for Rs300 was thick (points for consistency) and not overly sweet (points for balance). A must in this weather!
Cevapi from Leena's Cevapi
The first thought looking at cevapi is stuffed naan but the flavour is completely different; the warm, juicy veal meat with cheese was tender and delicious and we were tempted to go for round two.
Zafrani matka chai from Takht-e-Chai
Just trust us. You might not want to pay Rs200 for chai, matka or not, but this one got a resounding yes from almost everyone in our group (and that didn't happen often).
Hunter beef sandwich from Little Hunter
When we took our first bite, the bread really reminded us of Hanifia. But if you've had Hanifia, you know their meat can sometimes be a little bland. This crispy hunter beef was so well-seasoned and just melt in your mouth goodness and most of all, the green were fresh!
We'll keep updating the list as we try more at Karachi Eat! What was your favourite stall? Let us know in the comments below.