KARACHI: The three-day Karachi Eat Festival 2017 opened again on Friday after rain came between the people and their food last week. The aroma of delicious cuisine beckoned all to Frere Gardens and everyone coming out from the venue was seen munching away on something or carrying a takeaway box or bag with something delectable inside.
There were women lining up for tickets as men were not allowed to enter alone. The festival was strictly for families and the organisers ensured this rule was enforced. “Thank God we came with our families, who bought tickets for us,” said young Hameed, who was there with his friends Danish and Taha. “There were so many other men outside unaware of this rule, who couldn’t enter the festival. Of course, they could have requested any of the women to buy a ticket for them and many did, too, but it was too awkward for others,” he said.
But there were no such rules for women, who could attend the festival even if they arrived solo. Mrs Maqbool and her daughter preferred to taste and enjoy all the foreign flavours on offer at Karachi Eat without any male family member in tow. “We know what biryani and chapli kebab taste like so we are focussing on the other things we don’t get to have often. I tried some delicious Chinese dishes but am absolutely full right now to try anything else. Then I saw khow suey, too, so I got it parcelled for having later at home. And my daughter still has room for more so she is trying out masala dosa over there,” she said.
There were also some locals visiting from abroad who only wanted to taste desi food. Mrs Rubab Jafri said she had recently returned from the US and couldn’t have missed this for the world. “I came all the way to Frere Hall from Gulshan-i-Iqbal,” she said.
Her nephew and niece Rameez and Neha Jalali were visiting from Canada. “I have never encountered anything this massive in Canada,” said the niece.
As most of the stalls sold food there was a big need for stalls that offered something to wash it down with other than plain water. Miftah-ul-Qamar of Miftah’s was doing well that way as he only sold beverages such as Ibiza punch that had cranberries and strawberries, lemon-based margaritas, pina colada, etc.
Meanwhile, the stall owners were happy to be back while getting another chance to do business, which they couldn’t do due to heavy rains last week when all the three days of the festival were washed off. Mrs Saima Nauman, a housewife, shared a stall, Bits and Bites, with her barrister daughter Javeriah Babar, professor brother Mansoor Masood and sister-in-law Sonal Shah, who is a school teacher. She said that they were affected badly by the rain last week.
The festival ends on Sunday.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2017