Monday, 22 May 2017

What do Pakistanis Eat? Hanifia!

I'm back with another food post, only this time I have more than just food descriptions and pictures. I've got food history and it spans all the way back to a hundred years!! Also, it's exclusive to Karachi (heheh in your face Lahore-walay 😋😆😝)

Right so I'm assuming the name Hanifia (hun-ee-fee-a) comes from the name "Haneef". What it actually is....well...it started out as a teeny tiny shop that sold hunter beef, hunter chicken and hunter beef burgers.And according to their website...they were the first people to ever sell burgers in Karachi....err... that I'm not too sure about but I know for a fact that they were the first people in Karachi to sell hunter beef; it's what they were famous for. 

Coming towards the history bit; Hanifia started up in 1889 in subcontinental India in Simla by Al-Haj Muhammad Hanif Shimlavi. After the Independence and Partition between Pakistan and India they moved themselves and the business to Karachi, Pakistan. They have since expanded their menu and services and sell fried chicken and a variety of sandwiches and wraps.

So essentially, about 30 years ago, students from all over, frequented the small joint at New Town, Jama Masjid in Karachi and would hang out after school/university... grab a bite of "fast food" as it was known then (keep in mind McDonald's opened in Karachi in the early 2000's). At 75 paisas a burger its not hard to imagine why. As of today it costs 160 PKR (about US$2/ £1.30) and its the same one they've been selling for about 70 years..

On to the sub-par food photography!! *sarcastic yay* If you take a look at their website here you'll see some pretty pictures of their food...it looks like something out of a commercial. It's also not how their food really looks unfortunately.

So a takeaway burger comes in a styrofoam box. I'm pretty sure the design of this box has also remained the same for the past 70 years 😕. The burger comes with the "secret" mustard sauce they created back in Simla. I can tell you for a fact that this mustard sauce does not taste like mustard at all...in fact I don't think I know what it tastes like because my mouth feels like its burning if I try to use it as a dipping condiment. So the secret ingredient is probably red chili paste or something. AKA; not something I want to dip my burger into.

The Original Hanifia burger
And this is what the burger looks like. I got the original beef burger. So its a traditional bakery bun with hunter beef shredded and tossed into that chili mustard sauce.

What it actually looks like
So looking at the bun you're probably thinking that the bottom half is a lot thicker than most buns. This is what a traditional bakery bun looks like in Pakistan and to be completely honest I think this is the best bun to use for this burger. Its a lot denser to it doesn't get soggy as quickly...which is saying a lot because they drench the thing with that mustard sauce! Also.. as I said earlier...the sauce is really spicy so having that thicker bottom half of bread helps ease some of the spice factor.

Inside the burger hidden in the plethora of that sauce you will also find a slice of tomato and maybe two slices of cucumber. For me...its just a hassle really, because I don't like raw tomato and hate cucumber in any sandwich.

Despite its successful history as the go-to burger for young people, I don't think anyone with a low spice tolerance can eat this without feeling sick. It's pretty spicy but if you ask the guy at the register to go easy on the sauce, that helps tone it down a lot! Also, if you're really hungry or have a big appetite then just one of these burgers won't suffice as a meal. And a personal note is that a Coke really is necessary with this burger because even with a controlled amount of sauce, the burger is hella spicy💀💀!!!

And this concludes the third part of my 'What do Pakistani's Eat'. I hope you enjoyed reading about this Karachi-exclusive, "secret" mustard sauce drenched burger!

--Chandni