Karachi Eat Like They Mean It

After lawn exhibitions and Black Friday sales, Karachi saw a wave of its latest ‘it’ thing; FOOD FESTIVALS. Last year, we saw a number of food festivals being organised in the city and as per the unanimous verdict on social media, most of them were a fail. Then comes along the originator of the trend, Karachi Eat Festival and shows them how it’s done. Or does it?

When someone says, ‘Karachi Eat’, the Karachiites dutifully oblige but we want more than just food. We want a well-managed venue, good food that comes will value for money and while we are at it, good music from an actual musician would also be a good idea.

Friday evening, I took to the gargantuan Beach Park that probably has an audience only around festivals. I was quite relieved, almost ecstatic, to find the main entrance right on the main road. While parking was kind of a predictable issue, it was manageable enough. Entering the park, the ‘ladies only’ ticket counter was a quick affair to get past. On Saturday though, this was not true.

Chandeliers suspended from trees is a signature KEF material and we are not complaining. This is the only time of the year when the younger crowds take to the parks to chill. So, the fact that it turned out some aesthetically pleasing selfies only adds to our delight (and our instagram). The food stalls had enough variety if your wallet could cope with it. We saw multiple stalls make a comeback and many who tried their hands for the first time. Since my taste buds are in a constant state of craving dessert, I made my way to a bearable queue at Rigo’s for a chimney cakes. For Rs. 300, a chimney cake baked to perfect crispiness and not excessively sweetened, stuffed with nutella and vanilla ice cream and topped with a brownie (which by the way I lost to a push from an excited child, clearly overdosing on sugar) kind of enchanted me. With high expectations of the rollercoaster ride my taste buds were about to experience, I was not disappointed. I spoke to the owner who told me this was his test drive and Rigo’s is hitting two stores at the end of the month.

The most hipster thing I saw was sheesha shaped bottles at Frais Snowcones, serving slushes and excited teenagers couldn’t pose with it enough. It was a happy affair until I counted the number of years it has been since I was a teenager. This year KEF collaborated with Bounce and had a grand children play area, the kind of well-managed area where parents actually dropped their kids off to the trampoline and left. Paranoid parents stayed anyway.

Then there was the concert. I remember attending the entire Atif Aslam concert from the first row last year so imagine my disappointment when this year an amateur was singing channa mereya and kabira at a food festival. Someone hasn’t recovered from the wedding season it seems.

I missed the live happening of this event but I saw a video on social media and that alone made my jaw hit the floor. After cat fights at high-end clothing stores, a fight at a food stall is now trending on social media and it was not funny. While the details are not clear, I am connecting some dots along the lines of hour-long queues and food running out and leaving it here for you to formulate your own opinions.

Truth be told, I thought it was a well-managed event while many largely ranted about mismanagement on social media. But let’s face it Karachiites, despite the long queues, overpriced items and food that didn’t quite hit the notes, we shall all be there again next year anyway. And why? Because when someone says Karachi Eat, Karachi definitely eats.