PESHAWAR (APP): Shawarma, a popular food in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has started attracting Peshawarties due to its delectable taste, energy and time saving merits to beat hunger in winter season.
A visitor could see shawarma’s varieties in plenty of food restaurants and bakery shops opened at exterior and inter city of Peshawar known for hospitality worldwide.
Besides other bazaars and markets, shawarma shops could be seen at historic Qisakhwani bazaar, Karinpura, Hashtnagri, Liauqat bazaar and Namak Mandi where the mouthwatering cuisine attract foodies in substantial number especially at night.
The motorists are also seen taking keen interest in the special food believed to be originated from Middl East in these bazaars and markets keeping in view of its rising demand in the wake of increase in chill during night.
“Peshawar is famous for delicious and spicy cuisines worldwide and its shawarma, chappli kabab, sri paye, and chicken corn soup attract food lovers from inside and outside country due to its unique taste and energy perspective,” said Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassador while talking to APP on Saturday.
Waiting for his turn at a famous sharwama shop at Qissa Khwani, Manzoor who served as Pakistan’s top diplomat at Saudia Arabia and Egypt said shawarma was a popular street food in the Middle East, which originated in Turkey. It is made of spit-roasted layers of lamb, beef or chicken marrinated meat that are properly sliced and wrapped in before serving to the consumers.
He said its receipe was later brought and practiced in Indo-Pakistan subcontinent by traders associated with food business and subsequently its shops were opened in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar after independence of Pakistan.
The shawarma business grew with passage of time and today this business have made deep inroads in food services in Peshawar and other cities and town of Pakistan. “Shawarma save time and money of the consumers. It is a quick street food that may be consumed even while driving,” he said.
Manzoor said it was responsibility of the district administration to ensure that unsafe chicken was not used in sharawma and rice pollao.
Bahar Ali (50), a famous shawarma seller at Pabbi bazaar told APP that he had inherited the business after the death of my father and shifted it to third generation ie sons.
“Normally, we grill 20 chickens’ that was heavily marinated in oil, lemon juice, sauces and spices products. The marinated beef was properly cooked on a revolving pit before cuting into pieces and served to customers with special sauces and chatni on Rs150 each,” he said. He said that three to four hours were normally required for marination of grilled chicken shawarma.
Bahar said that people of all aged groups including students, girls, youth and senior citizens take interest in the delicious street food due to its spicie taste and he worked till late night due to Peshawarites overwhelming response in this winter season. Besides local customers, he said that demands of hotels and bakery shops as well as marriage halls were also increased in winter season.
He said that many people take it as gift for friends in overseas countries along with Chappli Kabab and their profit become double in winter. Dr Malik Riaz, Children Specialist, Govt hospital Pabbi Nowshera said that sharwma with fresh chicken or beef could be used for consumption.
He maintained open sale of unsafe and substandard foods including burgers, shawarma, potato chips, snacks, beverages and other unhygienic food in markets, bazaars and vendors shops especially in front of schools needed to be checked.
He said that obesity and overweight mostly caused by eating unhygienic and substandard fast food was the fifth leading cause of global deaths.
Obesity attributes 60-70% deaths in world including in Pakistan and as per WHO report, the number of children aged five to 19 with obesity increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 in world due to consumption of junk food during school time.
He said Pakistan was ranked 10th out of 188 countries with about 50 percent population being overweight or obese, and that according to World Obesity Foundation report, 5.4 million school-aged children in Pakistan would be obese by 2030 if the unchecked sale and manufacturing of unsafe food including chips, shawarma and snacks continued with such a high rate.
Khan Ghalib, Spokesman of KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority (KPFS&HFA) told APP that operation against unsafe and substandard foods expedited across Khyber Pakthunkhwa where 136,690 inspections conducted and 539,982 kilograms and litres of substandard food items discarded this year.
He said mobile food testing laboratories were established in hesdquarters of all divisions with an ability to test over 20 food items instantly.
Monitoring of food services in open markets, hotels and restaurants increased and special focus was being paid to bring positive changes in behavior of the food handlers and owners for better quality assurance and food services to consumers.
He said KP Food Authority was operating under the province’s Health Department and is the second such regulatory body in the country after Punjab set up its Food Authority in 2011 to check and mointor food services in the province.