Nestled amongst a row of stalls selling biryani, Pak Kashmiri Delights stands out for its almost exclusive focus on naan. The tandoor – on proud display at the front of the stall – is a real crowd-puller. This sweat-inducing furnace is used solely for cooking naan, meaning vegetarians don’t need to worry too much about their food being contaminated with meat residues. That being said, PKD is located at the far end of Tekka Food Centre, close to the wet market. The smell of flesh is strong, especially later in the day when the aromas of raw mutton and goat can almost overpower the senses.
At PKD the men handle the oven, whilst the no-nonsense proprietress takes orders and payments. Her surliness is a little exaggerated; teasing out a smile can be a fun pre-prandial objective. The stall offers three very good vegetarian curries – daal, channa and aloo ghobi – not to mention a full arsenal of naans (plain, butter, garlic, Kashmiri, Afghani, etc.), as well as rice and chapatti. Unfortunately they only provide plastic cutlery and polystyrene plates. I have broken my fork every time I visited, meaning if you want to enjoy your meal you had better be prepared to get your hands dirty…
Pak Kashmiri Delights
665 Buffalo Road, Tekka Food Centre, #01-250
PKD’s naans are relatively thick, and uniformly round in shape. They have a dense base and a nicely crisped top. The tandoor adds a subtle but pleasantly smoky flavour, making them hearty and satisfying to eat. During quieter periods they are cooked to order, so if you go before or after the lunchtime crowds, be prepared to receive them piping hot.
These things look really appetising but, unfortunately, the taste is bland and underwhelming. Whilst they are generously sprinkled with small chunks of garlic and shredded coriander, the flavour of the ghee is more resonant. The consistency is good, but you may as well save 50 cents and stick to plain.
Whilst the channa may look benign, it’s not for the faint of heart (or tastebuds, for that matter). The gravy is thick and full of chopped onions and small flecks of chilli. It is deceptively spicy, but laced with fresh and aromatic coriander, which really helps to cut the zing of the chilli. The serving is a good size, perfect for two naans.
Not an obvious choice for vegetarians, perhaps, but worth a try if you’re a fan of the tandoor. The tandoor adds a delicious flavour to the naan, whilst the curry will leave your mouth tingling. Overall, a trip to Pak Kashmiri Delights brings pleasure, pain, and a good measure of satisfaction.