So we are sitting at Karachi Darbar restaurant in Dubai with some colleagues from India, and some more NRI colleagues who are based in Dubai. It is a casual evening when both Pakistani and Indian sides are rather complementary to each other. It starts with an Indian guy starts humming ‘Purani jeans aur guitar’. They start praising Pakistani alternative music scene (which is almost non existent now) and we praised bollywood. It eventually turns to cricket and they cant help but laud Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar and of-course Imran Khan. We return the favor by acknowledging Sachin Tendulkar and admitting Saurav Ganguly did turn Indian cricket’s mentality around. Their were some worth remembering anecdotes of various cricket matches from both sides with language which cannot be reproduced here.
When it came to ordering, we Pakistani’s were given the honor of ordering the food since restaurant was ‘Karachi Darbar’, assuming we would know Pakistani food best. So we thought ‘Haleem’ and asked for their opinion, ‘what is haleem’ they responded. It surprised us as we thought it was an indian dish and India was being represented by North, South and Mumbai and none of them had a clue. Infact one of them thought its a Pakistani dish. Khair, it started an interesting exchange which went something like this.
- Apparently there is a famous Karachi Halwa available in Mumbai, we the Karachites do not know of any famous halwa from Karachi.
- We told them about various branches of Merath Kebab houses in Karachi. They said Merath is not popular for kebabs, in-fact one would struggle to find kebabs there. It is a city famous for manufacturing goods, kind of Sialkot in Pakistan.
- There is a Karachi bakery in Indian Hyderabad, famous for biscuits, and a Bombay Bakery in Pakistani Hyderabad. The mumbai guy had no clue about Bombay Bakery’s specialties.
- Apparently, Lahori murg is quite popular in Delhi, however, the Lahori chap on our side doesn’t actually knows if there is a particular dish called Lahori murg.
- A Karachite mentioned that Chef Zakir prepares excellent Delhi briyani, to which the Delhi guy responded that there is actually no such thing as Delhi briyani, however, Hyderabadi briyani is famous.
- In the end, the funniest part was, that Karachi Darbar restaurant is actually owned by an Indian Malabari.
Bottom line is, they loved Haleem and Pakola, and we still don’t know where it came from originally.