In a country like Pakistan, our sources of entertainment are expanding but still limited. What seems to be the most popular choice for entertainment is dining out. As a nation that spends 47.7 per cent of its income on food, we are clearly a country of foodies.
However, as online food ordering websites and applications like Foodpanda.pk offer discounts up to 50 per cent, more and more people are likely to get food delivered to their doorsteps as well.
Out of all the different kinds of cuisines available, Pizza belonging to the Italian cuisine seems to be the most popular. Pakistan's food industry has come a long way from a time when there was only Pizza Hut catering to that demand. Now, there are hundreds of restaurants offering various kinds of pizza, from crispy thin crust to fluffy pan crust as well as gourmet flatbread pizzas. You don't have to settle for the chicken tikka anymore - the options for toppings are endless.
It's no surprise that Foodpanda had launched their Great Nationwide Pizza Festival on November 25 (yesterday). Foodpanda has had four such food festivals in the past, the first of which was the Great Karachi Pizza Festival that happened on September 30.
Zurrain Farhan, Brand Manager for 14th Street Pizza, said: "The response of the first Pizza festival was amazing. The people of Pakistan love pizza as this is easy, convenient and casual."
According to a report, Karachi is the city that loves pizza the most. Foodpanda rep Sara Qazi, revealed that approximately 60 per cent of the orders they get daily in Karachi is for pizza. The same report specifies the preferred toppings chosen by Pakistanis are Chicken Tikka, Extra Cheese, Pepperoni, Hot & Spicy and Veggie.
Even though the festival was only restricted to Karachi, just the buzz alone influenced Islamabad and Lahore which showed a one per cent increase in pizza orders during those hours.
Based on the response to the Karachi pizza festival, which resulted in 6.5 times increase in pizza orders in Karachi, the company plans on going nationwide with the same mechanics.
The digital festival was launched yesterday for pre-orders at 10am until 2am. Participating restaurants included Domino’s, 14th Street Pizza, Pizza Point, Broadway Pizza and etc.
Other such festivals hosted by Foodpanda include Great Fast food Festival, Desi Food Festival and the Great Chinese Festival and stats conveyed it increased Chinese orders 18.3 times in Karachi, 19 times in Lahore and 5.2 times in Islamabad, which is a monumental number since Chinese food isn't an immensely popular choice on average.
Although in the last few years, we have seen an increase in pizza places providing authentic large New York style pizzas, there is still no restaurant that offers a traditional Chicago deep dish pizza. Also, restaurateurs tend to try to appeal too much to the local palette by making everything from the sauce to the marinade on the meat on the pizza, spicy. While we are used to eating food with some heat, a Neapolitan pizza, which is just that, would be refreshing to taste.
Even as the trend for healthy eating flourishes with places like Eatfit and Evergreen offering calorie-friendly options, it is obvious that the love this nation has for pizza is eternal.