Winter in Pakistan is a time when you can feel a festive vibe all across the place: weddings, parties and those tempting food festivals that jazz up your mood. With winter season this year too, our height of delight was the Karachi Eat 2020 festival with its scrumptious food and uplifting environment.
This festival is built around the idea of creating a common platform for foodies. Its seventh stint was held last week in Karachi’s Beach View Park in Clifton with around 100 eateries including the most creative and talented chefs to the street vendors and home-based food brands. The eateries offered a variety of American, European, Pan-Asian and desi cuisines.
Apart from celebrating the love of food, there was live music performed by a number of bands and individual artists which made us groove on our favourite numbers while enjoying some delectable food items.
For Karachites, food is clearly much more than just fuel for the body. Through this festival, we embrace the pleasures and value of great flavour, giving us the opportunity to be face-to-face with the food we eat and the people who make it.
However, the three-day festival had many hits and misses.
After parking the vehicle, we had to walk to the venue (which was okay since the weather was chilly and pleasant) but an approximately 20-minute walk through had many open gutters and uneven pathways. Families coming to the event with elders had to struggle not only with the distance but also the inconvenience of the hurdles.
As far as the eateries were concerned, the food was quite expensive - considering it is supposed to be canapé-sized and the people come in to try a variety of stalls. I tried tacos from Muokata, crab from Mamu Seafood Grill & Catering, Chic n Cheese Spaghetti from SpicOgetti, baklava from Baklava and Yoshi’s Korean Spicy Chicken amongst few others.
The tacos, crab and the spaghetti tasted yum! Meanwhile, there were long queues at Drty Dogs, Basic, Clucky’s and Panwaari which offered its unique fire pan.
The major aspect that lifts up a festival is the live music. Sadly, there were no big names from the music industry to perform at the event and the ones who came in the slot I visited - Josh and Zoe Viccaji - lacked chemistry during the performance.
They sounded terrible with their half-hearted performances. Furthermore, it was surprising to find a good system of portable toilets but unfortunately there was no cleaning staff which made it unhygienic.
It is understandable that catering to such a big crowd and maintain a clean toilet is difficult, but measures should’ve been taken in this regard.
As far as the local vendors are concerned, Talha Shabbir, Co-Founder SpicOgetti, tells, “Overall, the event was very well managed and a lot of things were well taken care of for the vendors.
The evenings were packed but the footfall was slightly lower than usual on Saturday afternoon while on Sunday, the number reduced by the end of the day probably because of the rain forecast. We had an amazing experience and we are grateful for the response and the support we got from everyone.”
This year’s attendance at the festival was overwhelmingly huge, yet there were a few short-comings with respect to its management. Nevertheless, the attendees enjoyed it a lot given the positive reviews and hype on social media. The City of Lights has a very few public events like this throughout the year for general entertainment, which is why Karachi Eat has an edge. Hoping for a well-organised and more fun event next year! (Fingers crossed)