Pakistan is home to ideal tourist destinations, old civilizations, great hospitality, and Pakistani street food. The Northern areas of Pakistan are blessed with scenic beauty and mountain ranges.
Just like the innumerable Pakistani tourist destinations, Pakistani street food is also winning the hearts of people around the world.
What Is Special About Pakistani Street Food?
Pakistani snacks are quick to prepare and contain a lot of spices. Therefore, each Pakistan street food has a unique flavor and aroma.
Traditional Pakistani food is highly influenced by Indian and Mughal cuisine. Pakistani street food contains a blend of vegetarian and meat dishes with lots of spices and herbs. On the other hand, Pakistani street desserts are mostly based on dairy and fruits.
Pakistani people love battered or non-battered fried food. So you will see a lot of fried food options in Pakistani streets. The fried Pakistani snacks are enjoyed with evening tea or served as a side dish.
Most Famous Pakistani Street Food And Snack In Pakistan
Samosa (Stuffed Pastry)
Although samosa is not a national food of Pakistan, it is treated like one. This is a delicious Pakistan food street, and you can easily find samosas on every other corner across the country.
Samosa is a triangular-shaped pastry filled with different ingredients. The authentic Lahore street food samosas have a delicious potato filling and are served with sweet red sauce and chickpeas curry.
Nowadays, other varieties of this Pakistani street food are also in the market. Other than potato samosas, you can have chicken, minced meat, cabbage, mixed veggies, macaroni, chocolate samosa, and many more.
Pakistani Street Food – Non-Vegetarian Meals
Tawa Chicken (Fried Chicken)
Tawa chicken is a spicy and hot street food in Pakistan. It is known for its super-spicy taste that comes from cooking the chicken with lots of green chilies and spices on a Tawa (griddle).
This spicy chicken can be eaten with crispy bread or naan. You can try it from different street stalls. Arif Chatkhara at Taxali Gate Rd, Lahore, is gaining popularity for serving the best tawa chicken ever!
Kata-kat (Meat dish)
Kata-kat or taka-tak is an exotic Pakistan street food. It is an aromatic meat dish with a burst of flavors. The dish is prepared using different organs, including testicles, heart, kidney, lungs, and brain.
The meat in kata-kat is chopped in a large pan with butter and lots of spices. The sharp blades hit the pan with the sound of “kat..kat…” while chopping the meat. Thus, the name kata-kat is taken from the sound of the preparation.
The dish is often garnished with fresh green chilies and served with a Pakistani roti or naan.
Fried Pakistan Street Food And Snacks
Samosa Chaat (Stuffed Pastry Salad)
Samosa chaat is one of the popular snacks in Pakistan, most popular in Punjab. The samosas in samosa chaat are smashed over a bed of chickpeas curry and topped with yogurt, mint sauce, tamarind sauce, pomegranates, and cilantro.
Kachori (Stuffed Fried Pie)
Kachori is not just a fried delicacy of Pakistani street food. It is one of the most popular tea-time Pakistani snacks.
Kachoris are super crispy deep-fried snacks in Pakistan. These savory battered pies are loaded with a delicious filling. The outer dough fluffed up on frying and made multiple crispy layers.
Qatlama (Spiced Flatbread)
Qatlama is a large fried round flatbread with spices and herbs. It is a traditional Pakistani snack you can find in old markets of Lahore.
Qatlama dough is covered with a mixture of spices, lentils, and herbs. It is then fried until it gets a vibrant reddish-orange color.
French fries are not a traditional Pakistani fast food, but it has obviously gained popularity among the locals in recent years. You can easily find roadside french fries vendors for a quick munching stop.
Pakistani French fries are greasy, spicy, and served with different sauces. They are delicious and pocket-friendly Pakistani street food, making them very popular among students.
Battered Fried fish has a high reputation in Pakistani street food. The fish is first marinated with special spices and then dipped in rice flour and gram flour before double frying. It is served along with the tangy and sweet apricot sauce.
Bashir dar-ul-Mahi is the best place to try fried Rohu fish. They serve different varieties of fish dishes, including grilled fish, finger fish, or deep-fried fish.
Pakistani Street Food – Flatbreads And Pies
Stuffed Paratha (Stuffed Flatbread)
Stuffed Parathas have a history with street food in Pakistan. These are round flatbreads stuffed with vegetables, meat, herbs, and spices.
Locals serve these stuffed flatbreads with pickles and a variety of sauces. Any local vendor or small restaurant can give you the authentic taste of crispy yet soft stuffed parathas. Looks simple but oh so tasty.
Chapshuro (Hunza Pie)
Ever so often, you will find certain food and snacks that are local to a certain place. If you are visiting Pakistan, don’t forget to visit Hunza. Hunza is known for its breathtaking scenery and delicious Chapshuro.
Chapshuro is the local version of pizza. It is a bread stuffed with chopped meat, onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves, and spices. Great for a snack when you get hungry through your exploration.
Qeema Naan (Minced Meat Stuffed Flatbread)
Qeema naan is not only a Pakistani snack, but locals also eat it for brunch or lunch. It is a round-shaped leavened bread stuffed with spicy minced beef or chicken.
The stuffing also contains crushed onions and herbs to make it more flavorful. Qeema naan is eaten with spicy yogurt and mint sauce.
Pakistani Street Food – Kebabs
Bun Kebab (Patty Burgers)
Bun kebabs are an evergreen part of Karachi food street. Before burgers were introduced locally, these bun kebabs were the kings of street food in Pakistan.
Bun Kebab is a burger with beef, mutton, or chicken patty. The burger also contains onions, cabbage, cucumber, and a fried omelet. You can find bun kebab stalls everywhere in Karachi, but the one served at burns road has the best taste.
Shami Kebab (Meat And Lentils Patty)
Shami kebab is one of the popular appetizers and snacks in Pakistan. It is a savory patty made of minced chicken, meat, or lentils with ground chickpeas and local spices.
There are various kinds of shami kebab in Pakistani street food. They are served with sauces like mint yogurt or ketchup. Mint yogurt is a personal favorite as it relieves any feeling of greasiness, and well, that allows you to eat more!
Chapli Kebab (Fried Meat Patty)
If you are fond of spicy minced meat, you will love this street food in Pakistan. Chapli kabab is a fried minced beef or mutton patty. You can find it while roaming the streets of almost all cities of Pakistan.
One of the best chapli kababs can be found at Peshawari Chapli Kabab House, Gulistan e Johar, Karachi. If you enjoy hunting for the best food, Pakistan is going to have lots to offer on that.
Beef kebab is simple and straightforward, making it one of the most famous traditional fast foods in Pakistan. Kebab meat is minced, marinated, and then formed onto the skewers by hand.
Beef kabab has a unique taste with lots of spices. It is served with mint yogurt or tomato sauce. The combination of marination spices across vendors can make a difference in the taste which is one of the fun parts in Pakistani street food.
Kabab Paratha (Kabab In Flatbread Roll)
Kabab Paratha or kabab roll is a local version of tortillas or shawarmas of Pakistani snacks. It is a popular street food in urban cities.
Kabab paratha is a complete meal with a kabab rolled in crispy flatbread. It is also added with layers of savory sauces and veggies to enhance its taste.
Pakistani Snacks – Vegetarian Options
Dahi Bhalla (Yogurt With Lentil Fritters)
Dahi Bhalla also known as dahi barhay is a famous Lahore street food. The word dahi means yogurt, and Bhalla is the lentil fritter. The lentil fritter is soaked in spicy yogurt and topped with local spices, thinly sliced onions, and cabbage.
Gol Gappay (Fried Crisps With Tamarind Water)
Golgappa or pani puri is a traditional fast food in Pakistan. It is a lightweight Pakistani street food you can eat without even counting the number. It is well-loved by all Pakistani people, but Lahori and Karachi women cannot resist the taste of these crisps.
Gol gappay are fried crispy shells filled with boiled chickpeas, potatoes, and chopped onions. You can add any sauce, like mint, yogurt, and tamarind sauce. They are dipped in sweet and sour water, complementing the crisps.
Beware, this can get addictive as you just pop them one by one into your mouth unknowingly.
Laddu Peethi (Fried Dumplings)
Laddu Peethi is a Pakistani street food most popular in Punjab. The laddus (dumplings) are soft dumplings made of daal chana (gram lentils). They are very fluffy and light.
Sweet and sour apricot and tamarind sauce are poured on these laddus, making them irresistible. These mouthwatering dumplings are served with freshly crushed radish.
Desserts In Pakistan Food Street
Jalebi (Funnel Cake)
Jalebi is a spiral-shaped sweet funnel cake soaked in sweet syrup. This sugary treat dominates Pakistani food street desserts.
The desert has an eye-catching orange color and sweet aroma that attracts people. There are many famous jalebi points where you can find this delightful sweet Pakistani snack.
Kulfi (Milk Ice cream)
Kulfi is a traditional dessert of Pakistani street food. It is treated like a royal dessert in Pakistan and served at important events like Eid and weddings.
Kulfi is the creamiest ice cream, made from condensed milk. It is thicker and denser than regular ice creams. This heavenly ice cream is topped up with lots of nuts and khoya.
Rabri (Sweet Pudding)
Rabri has a significant place in Pakistani street food. It is a delicious milk dessert with extraordinary creaminess and taste.
This rich Pakistani dessert is topped with saffron and cardamom, delivering a sweet aroma and excellent taste. You should try this relished drink if you are a dairy lover.
Gola Ganda (Snow Cone)
Gola Ganda is a Pakistani street food popular among Pakistani kids. Originally, gola ganda is crushed ice on a stick with rainbow-colored sweet syrups. But for the past few years, locals have experimented with gola ganda.
The new recipes of gola ganda are more complicated than a simple snow cone. They are now served with toppings like cherries, chocolate chips, pineapple chunks, and condensed milk. Got to get fancy to attract the younger population.
Pakistani Street Food – Beverages
Kanji (Probiotic Carrot Drink)
Kanji is a fermented probiotic beverage in Pakistani snacks. The main ingredient of kanji is, interestingly, black carrots! And Pakistanis love drinking this cold beverage in summer.
Kanji is a salty and sour drink with a tangy taste. It also contains a lot of carrot chunks. Kanji is a great appetizer and probiotic drink.
Doodh Patti (Milk Tea)
Doodh patti or milk tea is a traditional Pakistani drink and the favorite beverage of all Pakistanis. Chai or tea can be cooked at home, but nothing can beat the taste of a doodh patti from a dhaba (local restaurant).
Recently, dhaba culture is getting popular in food street Islamabad. When you are in Islamabad, visit the local outdoor dhabas for an ultimate doodh patti experience.
Discovering Traditional Street Food In Pakistan
Pakistani food streets are gaining popularity over the past few years. Food is like life for Pakistani people and now tourists from all around the world are visiting to experience this diverse cuisine.
The best thing about Pakistani street food is its cultural influence. With every new dish you try, you will feel how it represents Pakistani culture. From crispy fried samosas to lavish fried fish and from crunchy jalebi to soft and velvety rabri, you will find everything in Pakistani streets.