Pakeeza Burger | Delhi’s little Afghanistan

Pakeeza Burger
Pakeeza Burger

Located in the narrow lanes of Jangpura in Delhi, the Afghan settlers have created a small place for themselves in the market. The quaint and extremely humble settings of Pakeeza Burger (owned by two Afghani men named Md. Umer and Kareem Ullah) might seem underwhelming, but wait till your food is served. The large big-hearted portions of your meal will make you look beyond the ambience.

I’d be honest, being the only girl in the restaurant, I was first a little self conscious. But when a young Afghani boy (see picture gallery) came to take the order, I felt at ease. He was cute, smart and perhaps his innocence and heavily accented Hindi helped warm me up. He didn’t give us too many options, which made it easy to place an order. Without wasting much time we ordered for:

1) Chicken Burger

2) Tandoori Chicken

While we waited for the food to arrive, we watched a cookery show on the television which was being aired on an Afghani channel. A lot of young boys entered the restaurant to have a meal and it seemed like their everyday activity. The owners were standing at the entrance and every Afghani passerby appeared to be their friend. Listening to their loud conversations, seeing their little kids coming out to buy giant Sheermal Naan (bread) and various pictures of the beautiful Afghanistan on the walls, transported me to their home land.

Finally the burger arrived and it was nothing like any other burger I’ve ever had. Huge portions of chicken nuggets, French fries, boiled eggs, potato mash and veggies wrapped in a naan, is what they call a Burger. The unusual mix of ingredients surprisingly worked very well together. The size of the Burger was good enough for 3 people. Perhaps you won’t find a burger like this anywhere else, therefore it’s a must have.

Pakeeza Burger
Pakeeza Burger

We had noticed large pieces of chicken being roasted in a grill. The beautiful golden colour on the skin and the tenderness of the bird made us salivate. A humongous piece of chicken and an equally massive Sheermal was served on our table. Marinated in Afghani raw and powdered spices and tomato juice for hours, the chicken is grilled and then glazed with lemon juice, making it taste just heavenly. The Sheermal was soft and fresh. It was so heartening to see the men work hard and make beautiful handmade designs on the Sheermal.

Afghani Grilled Chicken
Afghani Grilled Chicken

With no space left in our stomach, we were ready to leave. But then we chanced upon Mantu, gaint sized dumplings that looked like Momos. A thin layer of dough, filled with minced meat and then steamed. They were served with Rajma (beans) and yoghurt on top. The tangy taste of the beans and yoghurt was well balanced with aromatics of spices in the mantu’s meat filling.

Mantu @Pakeeza Burger

This whole meal cost us just Rs 400 and how we wish we could have also tried Chicken Karayee, Korma or Afghani Pickles, but then we left something for our next visit to Pakeeza Burger.

I was told that the little boy that I met earlier, would go back to Afghanistan to join school. I felt happy to know that. Even though they all looked comfortable in their new neighborhood, they posed for pictures and were warm, I sensed they all missed home and that for them will always be Afghanistan.

NOTE: Pakeeza Burger recently shifted to a new place in the same lane (Just 2 shops further). In place of Pakeeza Burger, another restaurant called Pak Afghan Burger has come up.