Do Pakistanis eat this much red meat?

I was surprised when I perused the dinner menu at Californistan’s dinner dawat and found not a single vegetarian option.

Having primarily socialized at Indian (Sindhi) gatherings since 2010, where vegetarian and chicken dishes are customary alongside generous servings of lamb, this absence struck me as peculiar. As an aside seems odd to witness vegetarian mothers preparing meat dishes for their children, or fasting mothers preparing such fare.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the menu, perhaps due to my own carnivorous inclinations (the menu did speak to me somewhat). Personally, I derive great satisfaction from consuming meat (particularly pork, which strikes a balance between red and white meat, and I have a fondness for duck as well, perhaps I was Chinese in a previous life), while feeling overly full after carb-heavy meals. However, as I perused the comments section, I stumbled upon an enlightening observation:

This revelation shed light that this was Pathan-Afghan (the Iranic) bits of Pakistan rather than “Indian” parts of Pakistan that still emphasize on carbohydrates and vegetables. Nevertheless, I believe there’s still room for improvement, as the focus seems to lean heavily in one direction but then Afghan culture seems very steppe inflected and not as settled (I’m firmly of the opinion that India civilised the Central Asian hordes).

I recall a commentator on BP mentioning some time ago that while we may be familiar with Indian mega-cuisines like Mughlai and South Indian, there exist highly specific & exotic meat-eating cultures in regional and local cuisines (much like the Thais, who have a penchant for meat, suggesting that Northeasterners might share similar preferences).

Observing mainstream Indian dietary habits, I’ve noticed that even those who enjoy meat tend to consume it in moderation compared to Pakistani standards. Controversially, I’d argue that Indian cuisine showcases much more delicacy, particularly evident in the intricate preparation of vegetarian dishes.

However, this finesse often comes with a downside – a heavy reliance on carbohydrates. It’s no secret that South Asian food culture tends towards the unhealthy side (with South Asians having the paunch say in comparison compared to their much leaner Southeast Asian counterparts). Ideally, there should be a better balance struck between protein, carbohydrates, and fats, with each contributing a third to create a more wholesome dietary landscape.

Ps: As an aside I found it rather that the Thais of the interwar period were skeptical of pork as a “Chinese meat.” How culinary tastes can rapidly evolve in a generation or two.

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S Qureishi
S Qureishi
1 month ago

People who can afford meat in Pakistan will primarily eat meat, and red meat has been historically cheaper in Pakistan than chicken. The variety of red meat also differs, cattle is more common in the plains and goats more common in the highlands. This is why you find more beef consumption in Punjab and Sindh.. whereas lamb/goat is more commonly eaten in KPK and Baluchistan.

Vegetarian options would usually only entail ‘daal’ ( I don’t consider this vegetarian) and chickpeas/chholay (once again, this is grain not vegetarian). Vegetables are mostly eaten as a side dish or skipped. Meat is usually the center piece of all dishes, like western cuisine, and it’s paired with naan/roti or rice + daal.

Like with any diverse country, there are hundreds of regional varieties and vegetarian dishes but they rarely show up on the menu in majority of the restaurants, which indirectly shows that these are consumed as budget items but not desired when eating out.

The menu is quite typical of a Pakistani wedding, if you look at the brochure of the any catering package for 100-500 people, you will see 8 different meat options divided between red and white, and maybe 1 daal/cholay addon and 1 or 2 vegetable item that mostly comes as an addon but is always leftover at the end of the wedding. I think Indian vegetarian dishes are far superior than anything Pakistan has.. cuisine is where the difference in India and Pakistan is quite pronounced.

S Qureishi
S Qureishi
1 month ago

This is a common Afghan belief that carries over from Ranjit Singh’s era about stereotypes about (Sikh) Punjabis… Fact is, neither are Pakistanis poorer than Afghans, nor do they eat less meat or get less protein than Afghans. The regular Afghan can crave Kabuli Pulao and meat, but what they can afford to eat mostly is naan with onions or tomatoes used as saalan. (and these too they import from Pakistan)

But Pakistanis eats beef (real read meat) rather than lamb or sheep (weak meat). Pakistanis also drink a shit load of milk, something that the Afghans don’t (or rather cannot) do. And yes daal is a better vegetarian side dish in Pakistan than eating onions in Afghanistan.

I disagree that Afghans look up to India. If you mention if they are part of South Asia and see how they get offended. Mention that they are ‘Iranic’ and see how happy they get. The recent India love is simply a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Ghazi
Ghazi
26 days ago
Reply to  S Qureishi

And yet Afghans consuming onion or tomatoes would absolutely decimate the pakistani in a war of equal measure, we’ve done so for centuries prior to the modern era before the British armed you. And it was the “daal-eating” sikhs who were able to go to toe to toe with us among you panjabis, not your various red meat eaters lol. Reality is the stereotype comes from the daal maash you people still eat to this day, not some Ranjit era. You people love daal so much, you’ve even created abominations like dal ghosht (which is an Iranic word btw – indicative that you learned the practices of meat-eating that you are so proud of now originally from us Iranics).

Btw ask any Arab (I’m sure you’ll meet at least one while working away in the UAE or Saudi) which meat is superior, and they will indeed answer “lamb”, not “real read meat” beef lol.

S Qureishi
S Qureishi
25 days ago
Reply to  Ghazi

Here is Ghazi with the “us Iranic” claim (is it a boast?) as I mentioned in my previous post. Not sure when we ever had a “war of equal measure” in the past, but don’t think it’s ever happening in the future since Afghanistan is just a Pakistani frontier at this point. Troubled, but more or less neutralized.

Arabs prefer chicken over lamb. Why would anyone take them seriously over what meat is better? It’s hilarious you take them seriously but then I wouldn’t take you seriously either. Cattle, Deer, Bison, Horse.. these are the only top tier meats. Lamb and pork, don’t come close.

M. Emad
M. Emad
1 month ago

1971 Bangladesh Liberation Struggle showed that Darpook P0rkistan Army/ Air Force/ Navy morale would not stand more than a couple of hard blows at the right time and place.

Bhumiputra
Bhumiputra
1 month ago

Curious to know if increased red meat consumption comes with negative side effects? Found this meta study which shows that PK has highest chronic kidney disease incidence at ~21% whereas India and Nepal are at ~10%. The PK studies do have a selection bias of minimum age > 40.

Chahamana
Chahamana
1 month ago
Reply to  Bhumiputra

That might be a more complex issue than red meat consumption. Prevalent incest and all, you know.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chahamana
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