Behavior and Etiquette: Food and Dining - Traditional Cuisine

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Pakistan's cuisine is influenced by the countries that surround it and the empires that have conquered the area. For instance, when the Moghul Empire conquered the area they introduced cooking based on the use of various herbs and spices, almonds, and raisins. The dessert shahi tukra and tandoori chicken, which are Moghul foods, are still enjoyed today. Pakistan's food is also heavily influenced by Indian, Persian, and Western dishes [15].

Chapatti [Cha-POT-ee] is a food staple throughout Pakistan. It is a type of pita bread that is eaten at almost every meal and used to scoop up food in the absence of utensils. Fish, beef, lamb, or goat, are integral parts of Pakistani dishes (though many people in rural areas cannot afford it) and meals are full of oil and spices [16]. Dairy products are also popular throughout the entire country as many Pakistanis were traditionally pastoralists (nomadic herders of livestock). Rice with vegetables (e.g. okra, chickpeas, potatoes, spinach), wheat products, and lentils are staples throughout the country. However, each province in Pakistan has differing food specialties; curries or spicy sauces are popular in the south while barbeque and beef is common in the north [17].

Pakistanis also enjoy snacks and sweets. Samosas (triangle-shaped deep fried pastries filled with potatoes, vegetables, or minced meat), pakoras (floured vegetables that are deep fried), and Kebabs (equivalent to fast food) can be found on almost every street corner in the cities [18].

In general, most Pakistanis do not eat pork or drink alcohol as these are forbidden by Islam. However, do not be shocked if you see someone drinking alcohol as people in the cities and younger people are sometimes more lax on this tenant. Plus, not everyone in Pakistan is a Muslim. 


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