Pakistan has long been troubled with political instability, meaning only the most experienced and fearless travellers have visited in the past. However, this culturally, historically, and naturally rich country is Asia’s hidden gem, filled with vibrant cities, lush and beautiful landscapes, and wonderful cuisine.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the coolest cultural aspects and the tastiest food in Pakistan, so you can really make the most of your visit when you arrive.
Pakistani culture is extremely diverse, and often misrepresented on the international stage and therefore misunderstood. Let’s take some time to get to know Pakistani culture a little better!
Pakistan is at a crossroads in Asia, and its culture has many influences. These include Persian, Afghan, Indian, Chinese, Central and South Asian, and many more! There are over 15 major ethnic groups in Pakistan, each with their own traditional customs, cultures, dress, and food. Islam is another important part of Pakistani culture, and the most followed religion in the country.
As you’d expect from more than 15 ethnic groups, there are several languages spoken in Pakistan too. In fact, there are over 70 official languages here! The most commonly spoken is Urdu, but you may be able to get by with English. You don’t always need words to communicate though, and the warmth and kindness of the Pakistani people shines through, even if you can’t understand each other!
Due to Pakistani cultural and religious beliefs, the family comes first. You’ll find that Pakistani society thrives on collectivism over individualism and that all starts at home. These same religious beliefs dictate that tourists, travellers, and visitors are shown love and respect. Therefore, you’ll be welcomed into a Pakistani like a long lost member – meaning you can expect to make new friends and enjoy excellent hospitality!
Pakistani people are passionate and emotional, and they’re very expressive. So, although you can expect kindness, friendliness, and excellent hospitality, don’t expect to be relaxing too much! Chill time isn’t really a concept here (unless it’s over a cup of chai) and any excuse to celebrate or have a party is taken advantage of. Parties and large gatherings are just a part of everyday life, and something you’ll surely come to enjoy!
Food is such an important part of Pakistani culture, that it deserves a section all to itself. Each region of Pakistan has its own distinctive flavour and cuisine. The country is blessed with a huge number of spices and herbs, and they make tantalising and delicious flavour combinations. Below are some of the best dishes that you can’t miss when travelling to Pakistan!
One of Pakistan’s most famous exports globally, Chicken Tikka is a delicious combination of spices lathered over chicken before being grilled. It can be accompanied by rice or a nan bread, and the cooling mint dressing that it comes with will be a relief as your tongue is still getting used to the combination of spices and heat!
A good meal if you’re easing yourself into Pakistani cuisine. Rice is cooked in a number of spices and herbs to give it a distinctive yellow colour before being tossed with chicken or beef. Add in tomatoes, lemons, and other vegetables and you’ve got yourself a really tasty dish!
It’s not that there’s no such thing as fast food in Pakistani culture. However, some dishes just need to have a lot of time for all the herbs and spices to fuse together to produce their delectable flavours. One such dish is Haleem. This stew of traditional Pakistani staples including barley, wheat, lentils and meat is a delicious option that you shouldn’t miss while you’re here!
Vegetarians and vegans look away now! This dish hails from the region of Balochistan, and it’s probably not for everyone. However, for the carnivores among you, note down sajji on your list of things to try. Sajji is a large piece of chicken or lambed which is stuff with papaya paste and rice, before being roasted for hours on a skewer. A truly succulent dish!
So far, this list has been quite meat heavy, and that is one of the features of Pakistani food. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find tasty and sumptuous food if you don’t eat meat. One such dish is the tasty snack that you’ll find in abundance throughout Pakistan – samosas. You’ll probably have seen these in your home country, but for those who don’t know, these tasty parcels are packed with spices, herbs, and vegetables (you can get ones with meat in too). It’s very easy to overdo it on samosas and not need a main course!
All these savoury options will have worked up some space for a dessert. It’s a good job we’ve included kheer on here then, a traditional rice pudding dish. As with many Pakistani dishes, different spices and herbs are added – depending on which part of the country you’re in. It’ll melt in your mouth!
With all these spicy and flavourful dishes, you’ll need ad rink to go with them. Islam bans the consumption of alcohol, so having a pint or a glass of wine with your meal just isn’t a thing in Pakistan.
There is an alternative though, and since Pakistan is the 3rd biggest exporter of tea in the world, we’ll let you work out what that is. Tea time is one of the most important parts of the day here, and you can enjoy either a strong and sweet tea with milk, or a green tea. On special occasions, you can expect to enjoy this tea with spices too!
For a real special occasion, head to a top-end hotel, where you can enjoy high tea. This consists of several different types of tea, accompanied by tasty snacks.
So, now that you know more about Pakistani culture and food…
It’s time to take the next step and book your trip there. Pakistan is an exotic and far-flung destination for many, so if you need a bit of help get in touch with the guys at www.findmyadventure.pk. They’ve plenty of experience with pre-organised and tailor made trips to this beautiful nation. Pakistan awaits you!