There is no better time for foodies in Pakistan’s capital Karachi than Ramadan, when the fragrances and sights of special delicacies fill the streets as the time for the sunset iftar meal approaches, and no better spot to locate the tastiest munchies than Burns Road, the megacity’s famed food market.

The famous food street, which runs through the heart of the old city in the Saddar Town area, first appeared in urban plans in the late 19th century, but only became well-known after 1947, when British India was divided into two independent states — India and Pakistan — and tens of thousands of Indian Muslims migrated from Delhi to settle in the area.

They brought their cuisine with them, and it became part of the foodscape in a city that prides itself on its culinary prowess.

From spicy deep-fried kachoris packed with green gram, potato stuffed crispy samosas, sweet spiral-shaped crisp and juicy jalebis, and more, there’s something for everyone.

Some of the foods that have been synonymous with Burns Road have been passed down from generation to generation.
Naseem Saleem, who sells dahi baray, told Arab News that his family, who are Indian migrants, have owned and operated a food shop on Burns Road for nearly seven decades.

“Like most of these delicacies you see here, dahi baray has its origins in Delhi, where our family migrated and started this business in 1954,” he explained as he hurriedly packed food packs for customers to take home for iftar, Ramadan’s evening meal eaten after sunset.

A line was gathering in front of Faseko and Fresco Sweets, both known for samosas, Arab-style bread, and sweets, just a few yards from Saleem’s business.

Customer Owais Ali, who had traveled 20 kilometers to Burns Road from the Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighborhood, told Arab News that the food street had the greatest quality Ramadan fare.

“During Ramadan, dahi baray, samosas, kachori, and rolls become a required component of our table spread,” he added, adding that while similar foods could be obtained closer to his home, the taste was different.
Despite the distance and large lines outside his favorite vendors, he stated he would come to Burns Road.

“I come here thrice a week at least during Ramadan and more when we have guests at home for iftar,” he said as he revved his motorcycle and hung food boxes on the handlebars.

“At Burns Road, I’ve completed my mission.”


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