Peshawar, known for its rich culinary heritage, is witnessing a surge in the popularity of a Middle Eastern street food delight – Shawarma. With its delectable taste and the convenience it offers in beating the winter hunger pangs, Shawarma has become the go-to option for Peshawarties seeking a quick and flavorsome bite.
Shawarma’s Rise in Peshawar’s Culinary Scene
The city’s landscape is now adorned with numerous food establishments and bakery shops offering a plethora of Shawarma varieties. From historic Qisakhwani bazaar to bustling markets like Karinpura, Hashtnagri, Liaquat bazaar, and Namak Mandi, Shawarma shops are attracting food enthusiasts, especially during the night.
Shawarma’s Journey: From Middle East to Peshawar’s Streets
Even motorists are not immune to the allure of Shawarma, with many showing keen interest in this special treat, believed to have originated from the Middle East. The rising demand for Shawarma aligns with the increasing chill in the night air, making it a popular choice for those looking to warm up and satiate their taste buds simultaneously.
“Peshawar is famous for delicious and spicy cuisines worldwide, and its Shawarma, Chappli Kabab, Sri Paye, and Chicken Corn Soup attract food lovers from inside and outside the country due to its unique taste and energy perspective,” remarked Manzoorul Haq, a former Ambassador.
The roots of Shawarma trace back to the Middle East, specifically Turkey, and were later introduced to the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. Shawarma’s popularity grew in major cities like Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar post the independence of Pakistan.
One of the significant advantages of Shawarma, according to enthusiasts, is its time-saving aspect. It’s a quick street food that can be conveniently consumed, even while on the move. However, Manzoor emphasized the need for district administrations to ensure the use of safe ingredients, particularly in Shawarma and Rice Pullao.
Bahar Ali’s Shawarma Legacy at Pabbi Bazaar
Bahar Ali, a prominent Shawarma seller at Pabbi bazaar, shared insights into the process of preparing this culinary delight. Grilling 20 chickens, heavily marinated in oil, lemon juice, sauces, and spices, the marinated beef is meticulously cooked on a revolving pit, cut into pieces, and served with special sauces and chutney, each priced at Rs150.
Despite the chilly nights, Shawarma sellers like Bahar Ali work late into the night, catering to the overwhelming response from Peshawarites. The demand for Shawarma also extends to hotels, bakery shops, and marriage halls, making it a lucrative business, especially during the winter season.
However, amid this culinary delight, concerns about the safety and quality of street food arise. Dr. Malik Riaz, a Children Specialist, highlighted the need to address the sale of unsafe and substandard foods, emphasizing the potential health risks associated with the consumption of unhygienic fast food.
Ensuring Quality in Peshawar’s Street Food
The KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority (KPFS&HFA) are actively conducting operations against unsafe and substandard foods across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. With mobile food testing laboratories and increased monitoring of food services, the authority aims to ensure better quality assurance and food services for consumers.
As Peshawarites indulge in the savory delights of Shawarma, the importance of food safety and hygiene remains a critical consideration, balancing the pleasure of culinary exploration with the need for responsible consumption.
Afsheen is a writer with an extensive experience in creating authentic and well-researched articles.