The Muslim Holy month of Ramazan may have restricted day time eating for most in Karachi, but it has opened new avenues for them too. The trend of all night eateries has come back with a bang in this city of 14 million as many restaurants are offering to remain open through the night so that patrons can eat to their heart’s desire.
Socialities who used to loath the month of Ramazan as it would mean the end to parties and social events are waking up and taking notice. Muhammad Ilyas, a manager at a local restaurant in Karachi’s tony Defence area, says that usually Ramazan was the time when staff took leave as the restaurants undertook renovations. “Not any more,” says Ilyas, who believes that the trend of “all night eating” is catching on.
To be fair, the “Iftar to Sehri” deals were introduced by fast food chains like Pizza Hut and KFC. But then, local eateries like the ever-popular Bar BQ Tonite, where Rahul and Priyanka also visited when they were in Karachi, now offers home delivery service till the early hours of the morning.
Kamil Aziz, the enterprising part-owner of another local name, Espresso Coffee, says that competition is driving local eateries to new ideas. Initially there were reservations owing to the security issues in the city. But the restaurants are pulling in the crowds, who are mostly young men and women eager to fast but happy to splurge and pig-out at night. “Its a great way to start the day or end the night,” says Abid Ali (22).
Most youngsters who eat to their heart’s desire usually end up taking the next day off, he adds. But in Ramazan, office timings are lax and employers are more considerate considering that many people are fasting. Some decades back, says Waseem Baloch (40), young men would go to truck stands where restaurants were open for 24 hours. “It was a novelty,” he says. But that is now changing in Karachi, where on non-Ramazan days places like the ever popular Boat Basin remain open till 3 am.