The quest to find the most sought-after pakora in Karachi was a long-drawn journey that led to the discovery of a variety of other street foods that can be enjoyed when it is pouring outside. As vendors chatted about traffic jams and the city's Venice-like arteries, the smell of fried food and the rain mixed together.
Andersey/Anarse ki goliyan
Warm balls of a rice flour mixture coated with sesame seeds, deep fried until orange brown, known as Anarse ki Goliyan, were the bestselling item of Muhammad Sajid's stall on Burnes Road. "People haven't been buying samosas, maybe because they are tired of eating them throughout Ramazan," said Sajid. He added that the goliyan, that are sold for 80 rupees per quarter of a kilogramme (kg) normally, are sold for 100 rupees on a rainy day.
The open cart, now resembling an island with water on all sides, still sold paani puri from the end that was connected to the footpath. "There were a lot of customers but I still had to close the cart and go home yesterday because it was raining really hard. If there was light rain, I would have been able to stay and sell more," said Naeem Ahmed as he added chickpeas and chutney to the paani puri
Another shop, sprawled out towards the road had a surprising bestseller - Rs30 matka kulfis in small clay pots. "People didn't even know what 'enjoy' meant in the old times, now they come out to enjoy more because they know what it means," joked Muhammad Yousuf whose family has been running the ice cream shop since 1969.
A shop named 'Dehli Ke Mashoor Dahi Baray' (Delhi's Famous Dahi Baray) sold a large amount of finger fish and paaplet (Pomfret fish) during the downpour. The shopkeeper, whose family has owned the shop since 1954 was far from satisfied. "There was a hindrance because it rained way too much this time, otherwise the business could have done a lot better than it usually does in the rain," he said, while fixing trays of fish doused in orange-coloured spices.
Pakoras and samosas
The age-old conditioning of rain and pakoras remained strong as ever as most vendors claimed that they sold the highest amount of pakoras. Nisar Ali, a vendor at Punjab Chowrangi sold 50kg of pakoras in one day.
"We ate pakoras in Ramazan but even then it's the only snack that you crave when it rains," said Naheed Azar, a customer. The warm potato samosas selling for Rs12 also did well according to the vendor who makes the fried delicacies everyday but sells the most in Ramazan or when it rains.
"When the weather gets a little chilly, one feels like having warm food and it is ideal for lazy people like me because it is easily available," said Huma Rashid, another customer.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2015.
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