Pakistan is an unsuspecting destination, with incredible culture and mouthwatering delicacies.

The odds are, you have not been to Pakistan. This often misconstrued South Asian country is a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The nation repeatedly makes international headlines for less than ideal reasons. Naturally, the media does its job effectively if it comes to portraying Pakistan as an oppressed country full of political and religious unrest. Of course, such circumstances do exist within Pakistan, but perhaps not to the extent you would think. Beyond the negative, this country is actually a beautiful place, full of picturesque views and excellent Pakistani food.

If you are unsure, know that it is certainly possible to travel to Pakistan. In fact, it was actually a top travel destination for 2018. This is potentially due to the recent attention regarding Pakistan’s many alluring travel qualities. Like we said, Pakistan is truly an excellent place to explore. Backpackers and adventure thrill seekers from all over the world venture to Pakistan for an excellent experience. The people in Pakistan are extremely hospitable. If you visit here, you will quickly discover this fact for yourself. As far as Pakistani food goes, your chance for a dinner invite from a random stranger is quite good in Pakistan. This is the ultimate travel goal, as you can enjoy some of the most delicious food, prepared in its most authentic form.

Here is a list of the top kinds of Pakistani food you need to try.

1. Egg Bhurji

Pakistani food is widely influenced by the surrounding countries’ cuisine. India, Iraq, Iran, and others all contribute to Pakistan’s eclectic palette. Egg bhurji in fact originated from India and Iran and eventually integrated itself into regular Pakistani cuisine. The delicious egg bhuri dish is an ideal example of this scrumptious blend. Also referred to as egg khagina or anda bhurji, this meal has a familiar resemblance to scrambled eggs. The meal is your regular breakfast meal plan, but with a little extra. Fortunately, it is quite easy to prepare and takes virtually no time. All you have to do is whip up some eggs and add caramelized onions, sweet red bell pepper, and spices. The garam masala spice is a great option for adding that extra degree of flavor to your dish.

2. Chicken Tikka

pakistani food - Chicken Tikka

The flavorful dish, chicken tikka, found its roots within the Punjab region on the northern Indian subcontinent. Not only does India take an extra fancy to this dish, but Bangladesh and Pakistan do as well. Chicken tikka has the ultimate way to marinade your chicken for the best results. This scrumptious meal features chicken marinated in a careful concoction of yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. The chicken is traditionally served on skewers and fried on a skillet. If you are ordering Pakistani or Indian food, you might hear the phrase chicken tikka sizzler. This particular form of the dish features chicken tikka that is served on a warmed place along with onions.

Tandoori is another dish that is a similar style to tikka. The biggest difference between these two meals is the size of the chicken. Tandoori features marinated pieces of whole or large chicken pieces on a skewer. Tikka serves small pieces of chicken, dipped in the marinade of choice. On a more cultural note, within the origin countries, Tandoori does not refer to a kind of food, but rather a method of preparation. Tandoori is food that is cooked in the traditional tandoor ovens. These massive cooking devices are fashioned from clay and found all over Asia. Its special style of food cooking holds a fire fuelled by wood charcoal. These significantly high temperatures keep the cooking time to a minimum as you prepare tandoori food.

3. Kheer

If you catch a whiff of the delicious kheer dish, you might find yourself involuntarily salivating. It is that good. Kheer, or Kiru, is a delicious side dish or dessert among the Pakistani food selections. This meal includes boiled rice, broken wheat, tapioca, sugar, and various flavors. You can customize your own kheer dish by adding cashews, pistachios, cardamom, or almonds. If you are thinking that this sounds suspiciously a lot like rice pudding, you are not wrong. Kheer is quite similar to the rice pudding that you might be more used to. This one just has a bit more flavor.

4. Pilaf

pakistani food - Pilaf

Pilaf is another Indian dish that you will find common among Pakistani food selection. This basic meal is an ideal way to begin building additional meal options. If you have ever eaten in an Indian restaurant, you would have noticed that many dishes include pilaf in some shape or form. Pilaf is essentially rice that is browned by being sautéed in oil. After this, the rice takes on a sort of golden complexion. Once you achieve this lofty goal, you can go ahead and add the broth. Now comes the fun part. You can customize your pilaf dish by adding ingredients like golden raisins and pistachios. Pilaf is a great way to add a yummy side dish to your meal selection.

5. Biryani

Biryani is quite delicious and very popular among Indians and Pakistanis alike. This dish found its origins among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. Otherwise known as birani or briyani, this meal is a main course traditionally. Its overall ingredients feature meat, yogurt, and various Indian spices. Its meticulous preparation process is not without reward. Biryani is a multiple step course to getting your desired result. First, you need to cook the required amount of basmati rice. This is the basis of your dish. Next, marinate the meat, whether chicken or tofu, in your prepared marinate.

When ordering and preparing biryani, keep in mind that there are two main types of it. The first one is the Hyderabad-style, which is most popular in India. This is where the meat and rice are cooked in layers within a sealed pot. The dish is generally cooked over an open fire. The second type of biryani is more popular in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is where the ingredients are cooked whiled being mixed throughout the rice. With this method, the dish has a better overall variety of flavor.

6. Raita

pakistani food - Raita

Raita is a favorite Indian side dish at many restaurants. This scrumptious meal incorporates raita, which is a common name for a condiment. These dishes have a slight resemblance to yogurt, as they use dahi curd. The dahi acts as a texture creator within the dish, and from here you can add your other desired ingredients. Often people like to add raw or cooked vegetables to flavor the dish. Coriander, cumin seeds, mint, and chaat masala are all great methods to add some unique flavor to the dish. On occasion, adding fruit might occur if the cook desires a unique version of raita. This dish is served cool and its refreshing flavors serve as an excellent balance to Asian food’s spicy nature. If you like, you can eat a piece of flatbread with raita, chutney, and pickles.

Spend your time in Pakistan touring the endless food assortment. You won’t be disappointed.

Pakistan is a beautiful country to experience. The natural landscape portrays lengthily valleys and towering mountain peaks. In fact, the country is home to five of the fourteen highest peaks in the world. Other outdoor adventure options include rock climbing and river rafting. This place is certainly a backpacker’s paradise. The fact that tourism is virtually non-existent in Pakistan should not deter you from visiting. Rather, you should be encouraged that you have more of the country to yourself. For those wondering about safety, remember that if you are cautious you will be fine. Of course, traveling anywhere in the world poses some degree of risk to you, so simply practice careful travel.

As we noted, the people of Pakistan are extremely welcoming and open to hosting visitors. This is a common report among backpackers who meander through these regions. If you visit Pakistan, don’t be surprised by your sudden celebrity status. Take advantage of the opportunity by enjoying the Pakistan food around you. As 2018 greatly contributed to Pakistan’s rise in tourism interest, there are budding ways to visit the country with a group. Check out these epic backpacker tours to get started on your next adventure. In the meantime, try and make some Pakistani food for yourself.

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Faith is a writer and social media manager residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is passionate about people and currently attends university in pursuit of a degree in Clinical Psychology and Counseling. A nomad by nature, Faith finds utmost joy in trekking around the globe and strongly advocates backpacking as the best way to explore anywhere. Being a bookworm and an avid coffee drinker, she is likely to be found sipping an Americano and mulling over a classic novel.

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