Essentially of Burmese origin, Khow Suey has become an increasingly popular dish in Pakistan. In fact it’s staple food at the myriad of food festivals that keep crowding local parks all year long. This year’s Karachi Eat saw more than a handful of stalls serving their own versions of Khow Suey, some getting heartwarming and some equally heartbreaking reviews. This curry-meets-noodle savoury delight is Pakistan’s new comfort food!
Most ethnic specialties of Khow Suey, though bursting with flavour, are relatively less adventurous in terms of ingredients and are a health freak’s nightmare but Khow Suey is culinary heaven at its best – it’s not short of unnecessary calories but the fusion of Pan Asian and South Asian ingredients – silky curry, a bowl full of noodles, spicy chicken gravy and the crunch of fried condiments makes it an interesting treat for all foodies alike. But while the dish has risen to prominence rather quickly, it hasn’t made it to the mainstream food scene yet; there are only a couple of restaurants in Karachi that feature it on the menu. Thankfully, however, delivery options from home-based chefs are aplenty.
After extensive research and countless tastings, Instep selects four of Karachi’s Khow Suey experts that will make even some of the bad days feel better with their rich, sumptuous bowls of comfort.
Home-based chef Saira Faruqi is known for her Khow Suey just as much as she is known for her decadent, statement cakes. Having been in the business for a while now, Saira has clients vouching for the divinity of her Khow Suey. To be more clear, if you post on a food blog asking about the best Khow Suey in town, there is not a single person who won’t recommend this one. Saira’s Khow Suey is unique in the addition of chopped boiled eggs that are part of the traditional Burmese recipe but are usually missing from all other Khow Suey options. Slightly on the milder side, a sizeable portion – sufficient for two – comes as cheap as PKR 450. The downside is that Saira makes Khow Suey on certain days and you may have to keep refreshing your newsfeed to know what day she picks. Even then luck might not be on your side because it’s usually sold out as soon as it goes up.
New in the game, Spicogetti is your best bet if you enjoy a bit of a fiery kick in your food. Unlike Saira’s that is more of a DIY project, where every component of the dish is packed individually, Spiceogetti portions it all in one with just the condiments in a separate container. That, however, does not take away from the delectableness of the dish at all. In fact, it’s almost like digging deep into it and uncovering layers and layers of wholesome flavours. The condiments also have a unique touch; don’t expect the regular fried samosa pattees, diced spring onions or slims. This Khow Suey comes with fried spaghetti, onions fried to a scrumptious crisp, chewra to give it a sweet and sour touch and a handful of good old chips. Though sold as a single person serving, a single pack is sufficient enough for two and is priced at PKR 399 . They have delivery options for both lunch and dinner all week long (except Mondays) but orders must be placed in advance.
It was almost impossible to miss out on Saniya’s Khow Suey at the Karachi Eat and the aroma of curry leaves breezing over long queues only pushed you further to give in to your temptations. Sania’s little bowls of delight are no different from what you are likely to find on the streets of Myanmar – they may not be the best looking but they are ridiculously delicious. Priced at PKR 400 per serving, it’s a treasure trove of spice and flavour underneath all that slurpy mess. We say mess because the Thai curry is slightly thicker, the chicken gravy chunkier and condiments dominated by crispy slims.
This one is quickly getting popular on local food forums for its flavoursome punch. Spearheaded by home-based chef Ratan Salem, Tempt Asian features a lot of Asian cuisine on the menu but their Khow Suey is particularly lipsmacking. Complimented by crushed peanuts, spring onions and a sweet chili sauce for your liking, Tempt Asian’s adaptation is definitely hearty and a mouthful with the coconut curry thicker but just right in texture. It also gets additional points for keeping the noodles al dente in the truest sense. Tempt Asian makes Khow Suey on specific days – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – and it’s better to book in advance because they too run out rather quickly. A single serving is for PKR 450.