Afghani delights at Al Asif Square Sohrab Goth
This is not for the faint of heart.
Women would not dare venture into this . Hell, even men would think twice about setting foot on this seemingly foreign land that doesn’t have any semblance to Karachi.
But if you can just find the guts to go there, you are in for some real treat. Here you’ll find the genuine Afghani pulao in all its glory.
The place is famously known by the name Al-Asif Square. It’s a small locality near Sohrab Goth, just where the Super Highway starts on the left hand side. The area is the stronghold of pathans, particularly Afghanis. The moment you enter this strange land, you’re transported centuries back to the streets of Baghdad devoid of the modern amenities of life. The whole place is a maze of narrow lanes, an ancient bazaar protected from the onslaught of modernization.
The food street is in the centre of the marketplace, where each café is selling pretty much the same Afghani cuisine with very little difference in the taste or price.
The place looks more like the set from the movie Prince of Persia rather than a piece of Pakistan, let alone Karachi.
So what’s on offer here? The forte of these Afghani cafes is the legendary Afghani pulao- the national dish of Afghanistan. Sure you can have it at a number of places around town, be it Boat Basin or Bar bq tonight, but nothing compares to what you get to have here.
Afghani pulao brimming with plum raisins (kishmish) and slivered carrot. The raisins seem to be roasted or fried as they’re maroonish instead of their usual color. In the centre of it all, there’s a plum slab of beef or lamb.And of course, the rice are oozing with oil/ghee, enough to give you a heart attack.
Skewered beef boti simply marinated in garlic and onion water and barbequed with solely charbi (fats) to get a unique taste. And no masala of any kind.
The Afghani pulao large plate costs Rs.140 and the small one Rs.130. The seekhs (skewers) cost Rs. 180 a dozen, and they’re so small that one person can easily devour half a dozen.
You’ve the appetizer in the form of either a qeema masala or a chana daal and aalo bhujia.
The Afghani nans suck big time. You need jaws of steel to chew them.
Beef kabab marinated with a special Afghani condiment, laced with charbi and skewered just about right.
And everything is either beef or lamb. You won’t find chicken or anything else. It’s the typical Afghani cuisine.
In short, this place serves the best combination of artery-clogging concoctions you can get. So not only have you to be careful about any Pathan- Mohajir fight breaking out whilst you’re there devouring these delicacies, you’ve to ensure that your cholesterol level doesn’t skyrocket which it is guaranteed to do.
Like I said in the beginning, it’s not for the faint of heart both literally and figuratively.
Not recommended for a family outing. It’s a completely male-dominated setting. It’s better that women steer clear of it.