He was the only white boy. I was the only brown girl that did not hail from the Middle East. Still, the aroma enticed us. And so, we tried Pakistani food in Orlando for our Travel through Food adventure last week!
Before I move on to the Pakistani restaurant Chaat House review and photos though, I would love to introduce you to Pakistani cuisine and its history.
Pakistani food: Overview
Pakistani food is very similar to Indian cuisine, but with a stronger Muslim influence. As such, it is halal, meaning it follows strict Islamic law standards on what can be eaten and how dishes must be prepared. Pork is forbidden, so other meats such as chicken, lamb, beef, and fish are prevalent in Pakistani dishes. Also, strong aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, mace, black pepper, green and brown cardamom are widely used in the Pakistani kitchen (Wikipedia).
In addition to Islam, the Indian Moghul Empire influenced Pakistani food when it began its ruling of present-day Pakistan around 1526. Saffron, almonds, raisins, and the famous tandoori dishes were introduced (FoodbyCountry.com). Crazy we can still enjoy them in the 21st century!
Pakistani food in Orlando: Chaat House review
The ambiance is not that special, although it’s cool that giant photos of Pakistani food are sprinkled throughout the walls, helping غیر ملکیوں (foreigners) like us decide what to order.
Within minutes of our arrival though, at least 5 different orders for the Chaat House specialty, naan pizza, had been picked up. We immediately knew what to order as part of our initiation to Pakistani food in Orlando then!
Within minutes of our arrival, at least 5 different orders for the Chaat House specialty, naan pizza, had been picked up. We immediately knew what to order as part of our initiation to Pakistani food in Orlando then!
We opted for a spicy, 12-inch chicken tikka naan pizza: just what it sounds! Ethnic “pizza dough” made out of tandoori naan, stuffed to the brim with tomato curry sauce, chicken tikka, jalapeños, onions, and red pepper flakes; topped with several layers of cheese and even more jalapenos:
What’s funny is we came into the Chaat House knowing we wanted to order the nihari with naan, as one of Mr. B’s Pakistani students highly recommended it. So naturally, we couldn’t leave without trying it out…
It was a mystery meat: we don’t know if it was goat, beef or otherwise…but it sure was delicious! Next time we would like to order it with less lemon though, as it was slightly more bitter than we would have liked. But then again, we’re used to Indian curries, not Pakistani varieties!
Chaat House Orlando: Pakistani restaurant verdict?
So, did we like their Pakistani food in Orlando? Sure did! The service was a little choppy, but then again they expect you to order by the cash register, not while you’re sitting down. Once you get that, the experience is quite lovely and, most importantly, authentic!