The foods eaten by the people of Pakistan

The culinary history of Pakistan is rich and complex, shaped by various cultural influences including indigenous traditions, as well as Persian, Afghan, Central Asian, and Indian cuisines. Given its strategic location, Pakistan has been a crossroads for many civilizations over the centuries, and this is reflected in its diverse food culture. Here's an overview of foods eaten by the people of Pakistan over the last 500 years:

Staple Foods

  1. Wheat: Chapati and naan breads are staples, especially in the northern regions.
  2. Rice: Basmati rice is popular, particularly in dishes like biryani and pulao.


  1. Meat: Lamb, beef, chicken, and fish are commonly consumed. Pork is generally avoided due to Islamic dietary laws.
  2. Dairy: Yogurt, milk, and paneer (cottage cheese) are significant in the diet.

Vegetables and Fruits

  1. Potatoes, Okra, and Spinach: Commonly used in various dishes.
  2. Mangoes, Bananas, and Citrus Fruits: Widely consumed when in season.

Legumes and Pulses

  1. Lentils (Daal): Various types, including masoor, moong, and urad, are staples.
  2. Chickpeas (Chana): Used in various forms - whole, split, or as gram flour.

Spices and Seasonings

  1. Turmeric, Cumin, and Coriander: Foundation spices for many dishes.
  2. Garam Masala: A blend of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Mint and Cilantro: Often used as garnish or in chutneys.

Traditional Dishes

  1. Curries: Meat or vegetables cooked in a spiced gravy.
  2. Biryani and Pulao: Spiced and aromatic rice dishes often cooked with meat.
  3. Kebabs: Minced or whole meat, often grilled or cooked in a tandoor.
  4. Nihari and Haleem: Slow-cooked meat dishes, usually consumed for breakfast during special occasions or festivals.
  5. Samosas and Pakoras: Deep-fried snacks filled with meat or vegetables.

Sweets and Desserts

  1. Gulab Jamun: Deep-fried milk balls soaked in syrup.
  2. Jalebi: A deep-fried sweet made from coiled batter soaked in syrup.
  3. Barfi and Laddu: Various types of fudge-like sweets made from sugar, ghee, and other ingredients like nuts or semolina.


  1. Chai (Tea): A popular beverage, often spiced with cardamom or ginger.
  2. Lassi: A yogurt-based drink, either sweet or salty.
  3. Sharbat: A sweet, cold beverage made from fruit juices or extracts.

Foreign Influences and Modern Foods

  1. Arab Influence: Dishes like Shawarma and Hummus are popular, especially in urban areas.
  2. Western Influence: Fast food, including burgers and pizzas, are available, particularly in cities.
  3. Chinese Influence: "Pakistani Chinese" cuisine, including dishes like Chicken Manchurian, is widely popular.

Food in Pakistan is incredibly diverse and varies by region, reflecting the country's multicultural history and geographic diversity. Whether it's the rich, meaty dishes of the north or the spicy, fish-based cuisine of the coastal south, Pakistani food offers a rich palette of flavors and textures, deeply influenced by the various cultures that have contributed to its culinary landscape over the centuries.

Back to blog

For those eating a modern diet, we recommend adding the below vitamins to your daily routine.