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Traditional Islamabad Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Islamabad is complete without tasting the traditional Islamabad food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Islamabad to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Chapli Kebab: beef mince patty.
  • Fish: it can be served as an appetizer, as a snack with dips or as a main course with naan and chapatti.
  • Kari: besan (gram flour), yogurt and various spices.
  • Prawns: these are delicious grilled, deep-fried, stir-fried or barbecued.
  • Shami Kebab: chana daal (chickpea lentil), mutton or beef mince and spices.



Main courses

  • Biryani and Pulao: basmati rice and chicken or mutton.
  • Haleem: a stew or a porridge made by slow cooking wheat, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat), lentils and spices.
  • Kofta (Meatball Curry): minced meat balls, fresh ginger, onion and spices .
  • Korma: yoghurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk curry.
  • Paya: a stew made by slowly cooking lamb, cow or goat’s feet (trotters) with some onion and spices.
  • Saag and Makki ki Roti (Cornmeal Bread): spicy puree of spinach, mustard leaves or other greens.


  • Barfi and Gulab Jamun: barfi: made from dried milk solids called “khoya”; gulab jamun: fried and dipped in sugar syrup dumplings.
  • Jalaibi: fried jalaibi batter (made of flour and orange food color) dipped in sugar syrup.
  • Kheer: rice and milk pudding.
  • Ras Malai: cottage or ricotta cheese dumplings cooked in sweetened, thickened milk with cardamom.
  • Sheer Khurma: vermicelli pudding with fruits.
  • Zarda: rice cooked in sugar syrup with cardamom.

Fast food

  • Chicken Leg Roast/BBQ: chicken marinated in a combination of spices and yogurt, and cooked on a grill or in a pan.
  • Chicken/Mutton Tikka: pieces of meat and/or chicken, mutton chops, chicken wings, fish cubes, etc. marinated in a combination of yoghurt, herbs and spices.
  • Rice with Daal: split pea lentil boiled along with spices poured over boiled rice.
  • Shami burger: lentil and minced lamb patty, onions, scrambled egg and ketchup.
  • Shawarma: sandwich-like wrap of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture thereof.

Street food

  • Dahi Bhalay: deep fried dumplings made from soaked and ground “urad” lentil.
  • Fruit Chaat: a blend of assorted fruits tossed with potatoes, almonds, raisins, etc. and a delectable blend of chutneys.
  • Pani Puri: round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of tamarind, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas.
  • Samosa and Pakora Platter: deep fried pastry filled with a mixture of mashed boiled potato, onion, green peas, spices and green chili.
  • Seekh Kebab: minced meat blended with ginger, onion and various spices and grilled on skewers.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

Drinks (Alcoholic)

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