Note: Updated post, with reader suggestions for Pakistani Restaurants, here.
I will be in Chicago next week. As a Pakistani in America, the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of Chicago, is Devon Avenue; or ‘Dewan Street’ to us desi types. How can you not be intrigued by a street one part of which is called Mohammed Ali Jinnah Way, another is called Gandhi Marg, and yet another is known as Golda Meier Boulevard! Notwithstanding the sociological and political nuances of the multi-ethnic immigrant community that lives and works in and around Devon Avenue, for me the real significance of Devon Street is the food. Good food. Some would say great food.
My friends in Chicago insist that the very best Pakistani food to be found outside of Pakistan is to be found at ‘Dewan Street’. Some swear by Sabri Nihari, others prefer Usmania. Of course, my friends in Houston disagree; at least one of them believes that La Sani deserves the title. Those from New York will just laugh it off and rant out their own long list, and Shaheen Food and Sweets will nearly always be on that list. On the West Coast of the US, you have Shahnawaz both in Los Angeles and in the Bay Area. Another common favourite is the inconspicuously titled Food Factory in the Washington DC area which is Afghani-Pakistani and serves great freshly baked naans.
But this is just in USA. Tokyo is rich in Pakistani restaurants, including the Gandhara and Toronto has its own ‘little Pakistan’ with a street full of authentic Pakistani eateries. London, I would not even hazard a guess on because of its amazingly rich culinary offerings. I remember having some of the best seikh kabab’s I have ever had in Copenhagen, great nihari in Cardiff, rass malai in Cape Town kulfi in Vienna and, yes, pullao in Brasilia.
I am guessing I have already offended many readers by either mentioning what they consider the wrong choice, or not mentioning what they would consider the right choice. After all, the only thing that Pakistanis get more passionate about than politics, is food. Except, we tend never to compromise on the latter.
In that very spirit, lets hear from you about where you think we can get the BEST PAKISTANI FOOD OUTSIDE OF PAKISTAN?
Tell ATP your favourite Pakistani restaurants outside of Pakistan. If you live outside Pakistan, what are the best Pakistani restaurants in your area?
Do send us your favourites and nominations and we will start compiling a list and maybe put it up for permanent display somewhere on ATP.
Readers in Pakistan, we apologize; with you we cannot even compete!