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A vegetarian’s guide to finding food in Karachi

A vegetarian’s guide to finding food in Karachi

A vegetarian’s guide to finding food in Karachi
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 In a society centred around meat-everything, having a plant-based diet can be quite the struggle

There are three things every vegetarian knows for certain: Veggie burgers feel like you’re eating an alien’s cat food, spices are your best friend, and the average restaurant typically only has a few things on the menu that a vegetarian can eat, and most of them tend to be either sides or bread. And no, fries do not get the label of a full meal.

So if want to go to a restaurant that has more than just onion rings on the menu, use this guide. None of these spots are fully vegetarian (Karachi is yet to have such an eatery), but they do have many vegetarian options you could make a fulfilling meal out of. Let’s dive right in!

Pan-Asian Everything

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A vegetarian’s escape into food can most certainly be fulfilled by all the incredible offerings of pan-Asian cuisine. Why? Because the combinations are boundless. From Vietnamese to Japanese, Malaysian to Thai, you can curate your meal as your heart desires. Chop Chop Wok does a great Noodle and Rice bar where you can even add tofu to your meal, including your very own veggie selections. Other than that, jumping on the hot pot trend might do your appetite some good, as restaurants like Wang Wang showcase a wide range of vegetables paired with a delicious spicy broth and an array of noodle categories to choose from! Want something on the go? Head on over to Bao Bae’s food truck and indulge in their thick-cut Wok charred noodles laden in an exquisitely tangy black pepper and tamarind sauce, topped with a generous sprinkle of coriander and garlic.

Cucina Italiana

Feeling a little saucy? Well, don’t worry, because when it comes to Italian food, the pastabilities are endless! The cuisine doesn’t really rely on meat too much but instead compensates with all the goodness of herbs, fresh tomatoes, garlic, and a whole lot of cheese. If you’re craving a pizza, Xanders has a Spinach and Feta cheese pizza to die for, perfect for a filling vegetarian meal. Other than that, you could also opt for several pasta mains around the city; For all-cheese everything, Jardin’s Four Cheese Pasta will satisfy; For a touch of red, the Spaghetti Marinara from Bella Vita or Pomo ought to do the trick, and for thrill-seekers who go green, pesto (made with pine nuts and basil) is a rich addition that transforms the ol’ pasta cravings, and you can find a great pesto pasta at Neco’s! Another worthy option is the Linguini Pesto Primavera at Colette, loaded with garlic and parmesan to satiate one’s hunger.

Good ol’ Desi Realness

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Does it get any better than daal chawal or a piping hot pot of palak paneer? The correct answer is, no it doesn’t. When your tummy is seeking comfort food, desi is the way to go. Indian and Pakistani cuisines have the best vegetarian options that are often very easy on the pocket. Rajhdani Delights is the ‘thaali’ place to go to, where they’ll literally serve everything  – sabzi, daal, vegetable qorma, palak, Gujarati curry, papad – you name it, they have it. You could also go to Angeethi and have a variety of their veggie-only selections, ranging from palak paneer, mix sabzi, chana daal, and so on. Similarly, Nawab Dynasty has a huge range of vegetable delicacies to choose from; paneer handi, sizzling bhindi, vegetable jalfrezi, to name a few. Desi options will always come in great abundance when you’re in Karachi, and your appetite will be more than just satisfied.

Salad Heaven

Eventually, you should make someone repay you for all the times you’ve had to eat salad at a steakhouse. And when you do, make them buy you a salad and come full circle on life’s irony. Xanders has an incredible quinoa and cranberry salad that one just can’t get enough of, loaded with rocket, mint, feta cheese, wilted cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and of course, cranberries! Another quinoa salad worth trying is the one available at the restaurant Swing, which delivers a no-nonsense version of the classic. Whilst we are on the topic of greens, it’d be a sin not to mention the cosiest joint in town – Necos. This place will have everything your vegetarian tummy desires, from great salad options to even many vegan offerings. Looking for less trouble? Try Eatfit, a healthy home delivery food service that might as well provide you with the best Meditteranean salad you would ever have.

The Bread and Wrap Club

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While burgers and vegetarianism rarely go hand in hand, there’s always a mean sandwich or wrap that could save the day. When you want a classic, eat fresh. Subway’s veggie delite will always be something you can rely on, having control over what veggies go into what sauces it will hold. Other than that, espresso has an excellent Mexican burrito, albeit it is with meat in the menu, but given how the burrito is made up of several separate ingredients, it is pretty easy to request the kitchen to remove the meat, which they will do so happily! Craving a substitute for rolls? Try the Falafel wrap at PITA which features a crispy veg shawarma made with pita, falafels, garlic aioli, tahini and iceberg.

Traditionally Turkish

If you’re watching the famous Turkish drama Ertugrul, you should also try out their food as well! Since the cuisine is heavily dependant on meat, especially lamb, the likelihood of finding a fulfilling meal here is quite little. Surprisingly enough, Zeytin had quite a few options for the plant-diet gals. Picture this; You start your meal with a culmination of Fattoush salad, and a side of hummus paired with what is the tastiest naan available ever. Then you move on to a cheese Pide, which is technically a Turkish flatbread, but it’s so so much more in taste when compared to your regular flatbreads. You could also get the vegetable Borek, which is essentially a flaky doughy pastry filled with several greens lathered in a tantalising sauce. You finish off with a Knafeh, a concoction of vermicelli, cream, and cheese, that will leave you wanting more.

Street Food

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And boy oh boy, how could this list be anywhere near to completion without mentioning Mirchilli. Featuring a wide range of exquisite veg options, from Masala Dosas to Bunkebabs, from Chana chaat to Pani Puri, this place does it all. You will even find the famous uttapam dosa here, quite similar to a flatbread, but much more desi and tasty. Another similar place is Khao Dosa, branding itself as the house of khaosuey and dosa, which serves exactly that amongst many other delicacies of authentic South Asian cuisine!

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The growing trend of Hotpot in Karachi
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