Karachi Eats – and eats and eats at a glorious Food Festival

Karachi Eat Food Festival at Frere Hall
Karachi Eat Food Festival at Frere Hall

The Karachi Eat Food Festival at Frere Hall is one of those rare not-to-be-missed events in Karachi. The first day was a wonderful celebration of food.  Participants included corporate brands, top restaurants, celebrity chefs and home bakers.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Chapli Kebab
The fresh Chapli Kabab was very popular

I went with my family at around 6pm on the first day after reports on Twitter than a fair number of the stalls were not up earlier in the day. By evening the event was in full swing, with plenty of visitors and a minor parking problem.

Karachi Eat Food Festival
Plenty of seating and excellent arrangements

Tickets were cheap at Rs200 each and well worth the price. Many of my favourite restaurants had stalls including Okra, Espresso, The Deli, Pantry, Village and Meeruth from Tipu Sultan Road. Most were offering a limited but delicious menu, with most items under Rs200. There were many other stalls that I was itching to try, offering everything from chapli kebab to Asian salads.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Merath
Merath or Meruth is a Karachi institution as far as foodies are concerned

There was plenty of street food, including bun kebabs and dahi baray. Lovers of desi food could indulge in dahi baray, barbeque meats or even daal chawwal.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Nano's hyderabadi daal chawwal
By Nano’s Hyderabadi – What could be better?
Karachi Eat Food Festival - Nano's hyderabadi bun kebab
Bun Kebab anyone?

Those preferring international cuisine could indulge in everything from khowsay to beef hoagies to chinese food.

Asian Salad at Karachi Eat Food Festival
Asian Salad at Karachi Eat Food Festival

On the sweeter side, visitors could indulge in cakes, cupcakes, brownies, freshly fried donuts and a host of desi sweets – including halwa puri.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - cupcakes and Meringue kisses by The Mad Hatter's Tearoom
Meringue kisses and cupcakes from The Mad Hatter’s Tea Room

There was plenty of choice for even picky kids. My two youngest enjoyed penne pasta from Okra while the oldest, much to my disgust, opted for a hot dog and Knorr noodles.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Knorr
Knorr drumming up business at Karachi Eat Food Festival

There was a great entertainment area for younger kids including jumping castles, a trampoline, face painting and craft activities.

Candy Floss and Jumping castles
Kiddie rides at Karachi Eat Food Festival
Kiddie rides

Celebrity chefs from HUM TV were doing live demonstrations while the immensely popular SWOT Facebook foodie group held a cake-off. These are a few of the entries to the cake-off.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - themed cake competition by SWOT Foodie group
Studio Cupcakes won 2nd place
Karachi Eat Food Festival - themed cake competition by SWOT Foodie group
This cake by Saira Farooqui was the eventual winner
Karachi Eat Food Festival - themed cake competition by SWOT Foodie group
Emaan’s Cakes earned joint third place
Karachi Eat Food Festival - themed cake competition by SWOT Foodie group
Smackin Treats was responsible for this beauty

Most of the home bakers and bakeries had brought freshly made goodies but the restaurant stalls featured live cooking on little gas burners. It was a little like being at those outdoor challenges from Masterchef Australia except that the stallholders were self-possessed professionals. Every freshly cooked dish we tried was hot, well-seasoned and yummy.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Deli
Deli’s Khowsay was a major hit
Karachi Eat Food Festival - Okra restaurant
Okra offered pulled chicken sandwiches and awesome beef hoagies

From fresh ravioli to delicious dhagga kebabs, the range of freshly cooked food was amazing. There were also plenty of mini treats like snow tubes, bubble tea, and ice-cream cones.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Bubble Tea
Bubble Tea
Karachi Eat Food Festival - Fresh Juice
Fresh Juice by Juicylicious

The festival was well organized, with plentiful seating and umbrellas for shade. A stall by Habit displayed pretty crockery and home accessories but most participants were hawking delicious food.

Habitt homewares
Crockery by Habitt
Karachi Eat Food Festival - Frere Hall at night
The venue looks even better at night

With so much to choose from, the only problem was pacing ourselves so we could sample everything that we wanted to. In any case, all diet plans quickly went out the window and we left with uncomfortably tight waistbands.

Karachi Eat Food Festival - Roadside Cafe
Street food, desi-style

Between us we managed to sample fresh sugarcane juice, beef hoagies, dhagga kebab from Meeruth, cupcakes, freshly fried donuts, malai boti, penne pasta, fresh ravioli, sweet potato fries, paratha roll, bubble tea and of course noodles and hotdogs. And there were so many things we missed or didn’t have space for. The event continues today so do go, and make sure you take an appetite!

Karachi Eat Food Festival 2014 from Salima Feerasta on Vimeo.

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerastahttps://karachista.com
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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