[VIDEO] Burns Road: The Soul of Karachi’s cuisine!

Most of the surviving eateries had humble beginnings, and it took them years and years of sheer hard work before becoming household names in Pakistan and the world over.


The Gastronomical Heart of Karachi- Burns Road – Humans of Pakistan

There is no doubt that Burns Road (pronounced Buns Road) is Karachi’s original food street. It was not set up by any government. Instead, it evolved naturally.

If we were to choose one street representing Karachi, then that would be Burns Road.

The street derived its name from the British spy-doctor James Burnes. Although its name was later changed to ‘Muhammad bin Qasim Road’ after the Partition, people remain unaware of this change, and the street continues to enjoy its fame with its old name.

People who migrated to Pakistan from India settled in large numbers near this street, Pakistan Chowk, and other adjoining areas.

Why Karachi's Burns Road will always be the pioneer food street of Pakistan | The Express Tribune

Some families probably had food businesses in India before Partition and are therefore responsible for launching Burns Road’s foundation as the hub of food in Karachi.

It is believed that the Burns Road area, over time, became the celebrated food central of the city because migrants from India liked to eat out the way they used to back in their native towns.

One road two names - The News International

Taking advantage of that demand, several experienced and inexperienced venturers from within the migrant communities started cooking their traditional foods commercially, but only a few survived.

Most of the surviving eateries had humble beginnings, and it took them years and years of sheer hard work before becoming household names in Pakistan and the world over.

Karachi Food street – Burns Road – Abdul Basit Photography

Burns Road was developed when the concept of eating outside with families and friends was minimal, which is why, to this day, shops do not have a decent sitting area for families.

When plastic shopping bags were not typical in the old days, customers would bring their pots to carry food.

Here are some of the best foods to try in Burns Road (personal opinion):

  • Bun Kabab

11 Of The Best Bun Kababs For The Ultimate Street Food Experience In Karachi

Bun Kabab, also known as anday wala burger in other parts of Pakistan, is one of Karachi’s unique street foods. Every neighborhood has its own version of bun kebab in Karachi.

Azad Bun Kabab House Since 1952 | Street Food of Karachi Pakistan - YouTube

However, no one beats the delicious bun kebabs at Burns Road. There are around 3-4 famous shops, but I prefer eating from Azaad Bun Kebab.

BABU BHAI BUN KABAB at Burns Road Food Street of Karachi Pakistan | BUN KEBAB - YouTube

At lunchtime, there is hardly any room for people to stand!

  • Rabri from Delhi Rabri House.

Everyone’s got a sweet-tooth, and when you put Delhi’s rabri in your mouth, it melts there.

No dinner on Burns road is complete without this classic in the end.

Delhi Rabri House: Serving the sweet-teeth since sixties - The News International

  • Café Lazeez’s Katakat and Brain Masala.

Café Lazeez: A savoury half century! - The News International

Café Lazeez’s brain masala and katakat are the best in town, cooked in front of you, and served sizzling hot in steel thaal with soft chapatis.

Karachi's Delicious and Historic Burns Road - Youlin Magazine

  • And much more!

So much water has gone under the bridge, and Karachi has transformed over the years, for better or for worse!

Burns Road maintains its stature as the pioneer food street of the country.

Its uniqueness can be highlighted as no big food chains have made any inroads into the area, despite the large crowds the street attracts daily.  

The video below makes me very emotional because, as someone whose ancestors were from Old Dehli, I am reminded of my roots and the nostalgia for the old walled city.

Also, check out the author’s mini vlog of Burns Road below!

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.

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