Urdu in Pakistan

Eating Out

A person making kebabs

Food options run from street vendors to fancy sit-down restaurants, although foreigners should probably be carefully about eating street food. Small traditional restaurants serve rice and bread with a variety of meat-based main dishes. Dal, a lentil dish is always available and provides one of the few vegetarian options. At Pakistani fast food restaurants one can usually either order from the car or go inside to eat. These restaurants often feature kebob dishes which are made from ground beef. On the street one will find stalls selling lentil or chickpea cakes deep-fried and served with herbs, yogurt, and tamarind-based sauces. Also one will often find vendors pushing carts with roasted corn on the cob typically served with lemon and red chili as seasoning. Some vendors may sell corn kernals, roasted chickpeas, or sweet potato.

Hotels, especially the more expensive ones, provide the safest and the most costly meals. A variety of fast food chains such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut have made their way to Pakistan, but these also provide very expensive meals. Tips are expected in more expensive establishments and certainly appreciated in the more modest.

Never drink water out of the tap even in the most expensive hotels. Use bottled or boiled water. Some homes will have special heavy-duty filters to make the water safe to drink. When purchasing bottled water, make sure the bottle is fresh and has not be refilled and resealed with tap water. Soft drinks are usually sold in glass bottles unless an entire liter is purchased. The purchaser is expected to drink the contents before departing and to leave the glass bottle behind with the vendor. Do not take the glass bottle with you unless you have arranged to pay a deposit. Visitors should be wary of buying non-bottled drinks from street vendors because they probably have not been made with safe water.



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  • "What do you have?"

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  • "May I have the bill?"

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  • "May I have a mineral water?"
    (bottled water)
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