Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food and Spices

There are four basic things about food in Pakistan:
- spice
- meat
- social activity
- hands
…so lets have a look at them.

Masala (Urdu for spice) is in everything: foods, soups, biscuits, even juices (salt and masala orange juice!). Even in the smallest shop you can find at least 30 different kinds of spices, each with a different usage – most of them you cant find even in wikipedia. The level of hotness of Pakistani food is really high, if you are coming from a country that doesn’t use spices too much (CEE, non-South Asia) make sure to do some training before coming to Pakistan (I recommend Thai chilli :) , else there will be nearly no Pakistani food you can eat and will be left with bread, pasta, McDonalds, KFC and Subway :P
As Pakistan is a Muslim country, pork is not eaten. The most common meat is chicken, followed by beef (example of basic difference to India) and mutton (goat). Meat, like spices, is nearly omnipresent - vegetarians have often a hard time :) . All kinds of ways of preparation of food are available and all of them delicious.
Social activity
Alcohol is present in Pakistan, but non on an official social level (if you drink, you drink at home or in limited group of friends), that’s why any social activity is revolving around: food, chai (milk tea), sheesha (waterpipe) or FOOD. Mostly the latter :) …for most of Pakistanis social activity or family meeting is equal with eating together.
Pakistanis eat with bare hands, from the poorest beggar to members to the highest class of society. Cutlery is used only for a few local foods and imported cuisine. This on one side is a reason why its easy to get stomach problems, but on the other side it also gives eating and the food a different feeling and makes the food taste even better…

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