Nominate: Best Pakistani Food Outside Pakistan

Posted on July 1, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Food, Pakistanis Abroad, Society
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Adil Najam

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!

30 responses to “Nominate: Best Pakistani Food Outside Pakistan”

  1. Salim Chowdhrey says:

    I am sorry I didn’t mention it. It is in London at KNIGHTSBRIDGE.

  2. Salim Chowdhrey says:

    Sallo’s owned by Salahuddin family of foormer Sallo’s in WAPDA Building Lahore was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. And I grew
    in Karachi.

  3. DT says:

    I’m Indian American (Punjabi), but did not enjoy any Desi restaurants in London. They were horrible. Of course this is Pakistani restaurants, but if its the same, I would guess Pakistani cuisine sucks in London too. Bangladeshi chefs mixing their own masalsas and stuff, and gasp.. coconut pieces in Chicken Makhni. South Indians also try to cook the food and mess it up (no offense to anyone).

    Houston has some good desi restaurants, but lots of restaurants also have South Indians or Gujuratis try to cook, and it doesn’t turn out quite right. People don’t realize the great restaurants in Texas, probably up there or better than NYC.

  4. Sadia says:

    I would have to say Ravi Kabob although located in Northern VA, has the market cornered in the DC area for the best karhai chicken and chapli kabob. Hands down.

  5. FS says:

    I’m a bit late on this thread, but Chicago may very well have the bragging rights in the USA where it comes to Pakistani food. I live in New York, and it pains me to say that there’s no good Pakistani food to be had here at all.
    The reason: there are no Pakistani cooks left in New York. No joke. Most cooks at desi restaurants in New York are either Bangladeshi or…gasp…Mexican. Nothing against either of these communities, of course, but their just not Pakistani.
    As a result all Pakistani fare in New York is about how much more masala one can add to the mix. Seekh Kebabs here are massive, often fatter than bratwursts but hollow inside of course. They bear no resemblance to the variety you get anywhere in Pakistan.
    Chicago, on the other hand, does have Pakistani chefs and hence you get a thinner, less heavily spiced, more authentic seekh kebab. I assume the same is true for Houston & Toronto but I haven’t been to either.
    Not sure if they are still open, but I recall Ghaseetah Khan was a good choice for late, late dining on Devon Ave.

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