Finding falooda part-1

Last night, on a whim, Huz and I sallied forth for something to satisfy ye ol sweet tooth. Being desis at heart, we made a beeline for Baloch icecream at Boat Basin to get ourselves some falooda. I changed my mind last minute and ordered a Milk Rose, which is also made with milk and rose syrup but without the arrow root vermicelli and ice. I’m glad I opted for that, because Huz’s falooda was a black spot (kaala dhabba) on the word. It was everything a falooda shouldn’t be….watery and unsatisfying.

For the green behind the ears, Wikipedia tells you….

Falooda or Faluda is a traditional cold dessert or beverage in South Asia made primarily by mixing rose syrup with vermicelli and tapioca pearls along with either milk or water. Falooda is an adaptation of the Persian dessert Faloodeh and was brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal period. Basil seeds (sabza/takmaria), tutti frutti, sugar, and ice cream may be added. However, it is not the same as the faloodeh made in Iran and Afghanistan. The vermicelli used is often made from arrowroot rather than wheat. The rose syrup may be substituted with another flavoured base to produce saffron, mango, chocolate, and fig Falooda.

Falooda is a summer drink throughout Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the Middle East and is readily available in restaurants and beach stalls. 

Huz’s falooda at Baloch last night fell rather short of the delicious vision that the above description inspires. No, to be fair, it LOOKED just fine….just TASTED like it was made half-heartedly, without a thought as to what we expect from a Mughlai treat.

We expect richness…..decadence…and delicacy…all rolled into one glass. So that got me thinking….

‘Hey Huz! How about we do some research and find out the best place to have falooda in Karachi?’ said I, barely able to contain my excitement.

‘Sure!!!’ said Huz.

And that is how we found ourselves the next night, around 10:30 pm (when the streets of Karachi are relatively clearer) driving off for a place in New Town, renowned for its milkshakes and faloodas, a place that Huz has been to before but without moi.

under the pass...
over the bridge...
past the signal, narrowly avoiding one flower boy and a beggar....
past the eerily empty Saddar (the city centre) by night.....
drove by Abdullah Haroon Road mobile shops...still open at this hour...

When we cross the Clifton bridge, Karachi becomes an unpredictable place. Traffic can be horribly unruly and it’s scary to witness such complete and thorough disregard for signals on M.A Jinnah Road where the only law that prevails is the law of the jungle….every man/motorbike for himself, and to hell with the motorists! Red lights are for losers! Onwards comrades!

Nevertheless, we managed to fight our way past the lawbreakers, and it was pretty smooth going till New Town, and then….

...we're there!
established since 1970! they are even decorate a juice canopy also!
the falooda arrives...
this one's mine. i like it stirred, not shaken.
and Amu gets falsa juice.
I give Huz my falooda cos I can't finish it and he does so effortlessly 🙂 (bless him! he may have saved my thighs from expanding another millimetre)
meanwhile, I look around. this is what New Townians look like....
a security guard surveys the juice/falooda imbibers
a mosque rears its minareted head next door..
proclaiming it to be the Jame Masjid New Town
i watch while Amu finishes her juice.
the waiter comes to collect....
..the empty glasses...
glasses collected, payment received, and off he goes to serve the next car.

This post was supposed to focus on the falooda itself, but I got a tad carried away by my surroundings. We hardly ever visit this part of town, or should I say, we hardly ever visit this TOWN, because that’s what Karachi is….a whole bunch of towns joined together haphazardly, to make one big sprawling city.

But I’ll sum up this trip by telling you, the New Town Ice Cool falooda was rich and sweet and creamy and delicious, a far cry from what we had yesterday at Baloch. I’m not a huge fan of the starchy vermicelli, so I’m hoping we can come across something different….maybe a place where they use basil seeds or something….let’s see what happens.

Just to give you an idea of how short the end of the deal is for us ‘burgers’ living in Clifton, a glass of falooda and one milk rose cost us Rs 200 at Baloch in Boat Basin.

At Ice Cool we had two huge faloodas AND a big glass of falsa juice and the total came to Rs 185.

How unfair is this? Yet how delightful! I think we’re going to have some fun as we continue our research and fact-finding mission on faloodas in far flung areas…..perhaps it will spill over into milkshake and chaat territory. Maybe even barbecue and kabab rolls! Who knows?

Stay tuned for the next installment of Finding falooda!  Anyone interested in joining us is most welcome to!

And if anyone from Karachi visits this page, do share your opinion and let me know your favorite falooda place!


28 thoughts on “Finding falooda part-1

  1. huzaifazoom June 29, 2011 / 6:01 am

    I can’t help but scrolling back to the falooda mug shots and reminiscing.

    • munira June 29, 2011 / 3:17 pm

      No need to reminisce for too long. I believe we have a date tonight? 😉

  2. shazia hasan June 29, 2011 / 6:01 am

    a tribute to faloodas,love the article.Next time,i am in town will try the new town wala falooda.Meanwhile,sitting in isloo where they have no inkling what an actual falooda is all about!

    • munira June 29, 2011 / 3:18 pm

      We must have one together some day 🙂

  3. Obaid Rahmani June 29, 2011 / 8:38 am

    Here are the following localities i want you guys to try:

    Bahadurabad – Khalid’s & Rajoo’s
    Golimar – Mullah Ahmed, Qasr e Shireen.
    North Nazimabad – Henny Penny

    Lets see if they end up appealing to you 😀

    • munira June 29, 2011 / 8:52 am

      Ooh……far flung areas! What a thrill. Thanks Obaid! 😀

  4. Aziza June 29, 2011 / 9:29 am

    I like the Colombo Faluda House Faluda best. You will however need to come here to try it.

    • munira June 29, 2011 / 3:24 pm

      Falooda in Sri Lanka! Will it have pineapple chunks in it?? 😀

  5. huge June 29, 2011 / 12:25 pm

    Great post, great photographs and probably the most important quest in the history of important quests! I wish you luck on your adventure to find the perfect falooda… Might have to try one myself for research purposes!

    • munira June 29, 2011 / 3:27 pm

      I hope your first falooda kicks ass!

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 5:33 am

      Oh wow, thanks for that pic Lisa, would never have imagined what an Iranian faloodeh looks like otherwise! The similarity ends with the vermicelli. And lemon?? You’re right, that’s just SO different! I wonder if I can find an Irani restaurant in Karachi that sells this version…..

  6. girl in the hat June 29, 2011 / 8:42 pm

    This was such a fun read! I loved everything about it (writing, fab pictures, the whole falooda chase)! I’ll need to see if anyone in my neighborhood sells falooda and I hope you continue this as a theme.

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 5:52 am

      Thanks Anna! Glad you’re coming along for the ride! Part deux coming right up 😉

  7. sparksinshadow June 29, 2011 / 9:14 pm

    Your photos were delightful and I loved reading about faloodas and your adventures in search of the best! It reminds me of of my cupcake (especially looking for good carrot ones!) adventures and, bittersweetly, of spur of the moment ice cream runs with my ex-husband. I can’t wait to read more of your adventures!

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 5:57 am

      It was fun! And part 2 will tell you how easily one adventurous quest can trigger a whole new one 🙂
      So glad you enjoyed the photos…!
      p.s. Huz LOVES carrot cake! esp if it has cream cheese frosting 🙂

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 7:34 am

      Jeena yahan, marna yahan 🙂
      You’re right, it’s a very ‘out and about’ post, much like yours….just more frivolous 😀

  8. Single Malt Monkey June 30, 2011 / 7:40 am

    Great pics and story…I was there. Jst the sort of stuff that is up my street. You could turn this into a pastiche of the film “Sideways ” :)… search of the perfect falooda. 🙂 Cool !

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 7:29 pm

      Funny you should say that…my sister said something very similar! She thought this post was like a very rapid-fire short film 🙂
      It’s great (and surprising!) to see so many non-Karachiites enjoying the falooda quest!

  9. photokunstler June 30, 2011 / 1:29 pm

    Wonderful post, Munira!
    I’d LOVE to try a falooda!! And rose syrup? I adore rose anything. Yum!!

    I think you should keep us the search! One year when I was younger and a photographer/writer for a newspaper they sent me on an ice cream and frozen yogurt round-up, so I listed everything in maybe a 40-mile radius of the paper. It was so much fun!!

    Wonderful photos!

    • munira June 30, 2011 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you photokunstler! So good to see you on my blog!
      Huz and I are having a bit TOO much fun with this quest of ours….time to get back to the gym in earnest methinks!
      Now where could you possibly find a falooda in the Bahamas, I wonder…

  10. photokunstler June 30, 2011 / 8:14 pm

    How about a root beer float? Ice cream sandwich with homemade cookies? We have those… lots of fish (not a good dessert!), and lots of recipes with hot sauce, hot peppers, etc.

    Chili chocolate ice cream maybe? Haven’t seen that yet. But when I see rose ice cream, I am in paradise! It isn’t often enough, so I have rose tea.

  11. crazygoangirl July 19, 2011 / 2:49 pm

    Me not a Falooda fan…but a huge fan of your Mission Falooda series 😀 Please do kebabs…*mouth starts watering*, even as I type!

    • munira July 20, 2011 / 11:37 am

      Funnily enough, I’m not the hugest falooda fan either! Which makes this whole mission even more bizarre 😀
      I think I should write a post about what happens when one goes on a kebab quest……
      So glad you’re back in the bloggy world H! Missed ya! ❤

Your turn to say something

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s