Saturday, 7 January 2012

Live Cooking at Boat Basin

If anyone have only a few hours and want to get a true cultural experience of Pakistani traditional cuisine, boat basin eateries has it all. 

Live Cooking at Boat Basin can be an exciting Pakistani traditional street gourmet and cultural experience

As the sun sets, the cool breeze from the Arabian Sea gives a pleasant relief to the sun scorched people of Karachi. Families are seen driving to the Seaview and the nearby Benazir Park, enjoying the sea and the evening for which Karachi can compete with any popular world class metropolis!!.

Often times these trips end at a sumptous roadside dinner at the The Boat Basin. This is a long street at the intersection of Seaview Clifton, lined with an amazing range of street food restaurants where food is mostly cooked and served in open air. Also refered to as the Food Street of Karachi, one can see all cooking done here are live right from chopping, marinating to cooking in front of customers as per their taste. Many of these restaurants are open until 5:00am, and so the party can be on till then!!!

 The area got its name from the lake (which is part of Karachi mangrove forests) which has been a favorite boating place. Later on as the city got bigger the lake clear waters have changed to the today brown waters and the boating has ceased to be. The restaurants have been originally built to serve those who came for boating.

The restaurants here serve, a superb range of great tasting freshly cooked Pakistani, Mughlai, Afghani dishes at unbeatable prices. Most live cooking here includes cooking techniques like BBQ , charcoal grilled, pan searing, sauting, steaming or baked in traditional style earthern or stone ovens. All fresh and as you like it!!!

A number of these restaurant are popular for ‘Sajji’, a  Baluchi Dish; consists of whole lamb/chicken on skewers (fat and meat intact), marinated only in salt, sometimes covered with raw papaya paste, stuffed with rice, then roasted over coals. In some of the food stands here  customers can order the fresh meat by kilo, it then an amazing experience to see their food being cooked. Most of the process of chopping, cutting, marinating and cooking is done right there as soon as you place your order according to your preference for spice and taste. The fat are mostly melted during the cooking left all lean to enjoy. It is a pleasure to sink your teeth into a piece of sajji, the meat is so tender, juicy and less spicy.
Karahi dishes are another famous cuisine of this place. Made of wrought iron, the woks/karahi are utensils used for cooking chicken or mutton karahi, thus the dishes are named as ‘Karahi’ dishes. The customers here need to select the meat of their choice, order as per taste, in less then 25 min they would be cooked in big woks/karahi. These are curries cooked with spices, fresh vegetable in butter with or without gravy using stir frying, sauting and steaming.

Kebabs are another speciality of this area; The kebab is made with meat threaded on a skewer and grilled. Any kind of meat can be used; cubes of onion and vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, brinjal are often threaded on the skewers if it is ‘Sheesh Kebab’. The skewers are barbequed on a Charcoal grill. One of the hottest selling Kebabs here are Dhaga Kebab: these are made from mince meat spiced and left to marinate and then pressed around a skewer and thread (dhaaga) is wound around it to hold the mince in place. The skewer is then charcoal grilled.

No street food of Pakistani is complete without the ever popular ‘Chicken Tikka’ this a countrywide popular Pakistani dish. Traditionally the quarter of chicken with bones in, are marinated in spices and yougurt, and grilled over red-hot coals. The pieces are brushed with ghee (carified butter) at intervals, which gives it a distinct taste, while being continuously fanned.
All these sajjis, kebabs, karahi and tikka’s are served with green coriander and tamarind chutney, garnished with onion rings and lemons. The sides for these dishes include fried bread ‘Pooris’, Chappatis made on open skillet, or Nans baked in earthern ovens also cooked right there outside the restaurants.

If anyone have only a few hours and want to get a true cultural experience of Pakistani traditional cuisine, boat basin eateries has it all.


  1. Loved it Farah! Boat Basin is truly the mecca of great food in Pakistan :) The pictures have made me hungry enough to want to dine at boat basin tonight!

  2. Thanks Binte!!! My blog is new so please share it with others.

  3. Awesome piece of work. Great going Farah. Keep it up.

  4. Great work... am so excited to see your own blog... :)

  5. SK and Ahsan, please have your friends and family join my blog.