KARACHI: With 101 eateries and thousands of foodies eager to taste everything on offer, the much-awaited three-day Karachi Eat 2020 Food Festival kicked off at the Beach View Park on Friday.
Unique names such as Drty Dogs, Khichdi Express, Brew Factory, Abid Chatkhara, Punjabi Dhaba, Arabi’s, Clucky’s, Lemon Grass, Leena’s Cevapi, Burger Boss, D’oh and so many more had long queues forming in front of them soon after the opening and paying of the necessary Rs450 per person entrance fee and getting the bouncers’ nod of course. But even before graduating to that level there was the huge challenge of braving traffic, finding parking, etc.
Seeing the long and endless line forming in front of Burger Boss, one had to ask Maumana Asim at the stall about what was in her burgers that was attracting so many people. “Nothing but love. Our burgers are made with love. That’s one secret ingredient and our customers can feel it,” she said, obviously delighted to see so many of them.
Meanwhile, the chilly and windy weather was itself pushing people to Brew Factory to see what was brewing there. Their coffee was doing very well.
The annual event at Beach View Park will continue till Sunday
But at Abid Chatkhara, there was plenty of tawa chicken and not as many customers. “That’s because we are only just getting set up right now. We arrived from Lahore today and are also feeling rather overwhelmed by the crowds,” said Mohammad Afzal, representing the eatery. “Tomorrow we shall come completely prepared though,” he said with a big smile.
Khichdi Express, offering warm wholesome platters of khichdi along with poppadoms, bhagaray baingan, khattay aloo, chutney, etc, caught the imagination of the young customers who were otherwise queuing up for burgers, pizzas and coffee. “Our khichdi platter is for Rs350 each but there is a Rs50 discount if you like our page on Facebook,” smiled Ghazala Khan there.
Besides the khichdi, they were offering haleem, which was equally inviting in the cold weather as were the warm square parathas at Arabi’s.
But at Punjabi Dhaba there was a big demand for gol gappa plates. “We came straight here as my daughter Nawal wanted to try gol gappay. So it will be more like a starter or appetizer for us,” said Riffat Sultan, the teenage girl’s mother.
The festival was organised by CKO Event Architecture.
The organisers told Dawn that some 300 eateries had booked stalls but only 101 could get the jury’s nod.
Meanwhile, most people at the festival belonged to the teenage and twenties age group.
“Well, we have a friendship with hunger,” laughed young Rabia Khan when asked why she thought there were so many youngsters at the festival. “We are always hungry. Hungry for food, hungry for entertainment, hungry for such outings. We will probably come here for all the three days,” she added.
Another young lady, Anum Mithani, was of the view that there were so many young people because the young were up for all kinds of challenges. “We are not so bothered about walking distances, about the heavy traffic or about not finding ideal parking. We are also not so bothered about the entrance fee as many older people are. We are happy in all circumstances and look forward to such events,” she said.
They were also proving to be very responsible people as all were careful to throw their trash in the bins placed at small distances for everyone’s convenience.
Also, a stall at the festival, EcoPak, was not selling anything but just giving away eco-friendly cutlery and straws for free. It was for those trying to avoid single-use plastic. After refusing it at the stalls they could be seen heading over to EcoPak for eco-friendly alternatives. And since there was no payment required in exchange for the cutlery, if they still wanted to pay they could donate to EcoPak’s favourite charity, the ACF Animal Rescue Shelter whose donation boxes were placed at the stall.
The festival will remain open for foodies on Saturday as well as Sunday.
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2020