The partition of India in 1947 led to the creation of Pakistan. While many Pakistanis settled in their new homeland, small numbers headed to the UK. They were later joined in the 1960s by a large-scale migration of more Pakistanis seeking greener pastures in Great Britain. And over the years, they’ve brought their fashion, music and food recipes to the UK.
Pakistani food in London
Although there are significant Pakistani communities in the West Midlands, the North West, and Yorkshire, the biggest is in London. At last count, there were around 250,000 people of Pakistani origin residing in the capital. And whenever they need a taste of home, there are plenty of options for Pakistani restaurants, market stalls, and supermarkets.
Where to find Pakistani breakfasts in London
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so a Halwa Puri is the best place to start. A Halwa Puri (pictured above) is a traditional breakfast platter that is served in Pakistani communities. The meal typically consists of:
- Freshly fried puris (flatbreads).
- Suji halwa (semolina with syrup and nuts).
- Chole masala (chickpea curry).
- Aloo ki bhujia (spiced potato curry).
And some of the best Halwa Puri spots in the capital include:
- Khan G Kebabish (Walthamstow).
- Dilpasand (Whitechapel and Streatham).
- Dawat (Tooting and Norbury).
- Spice Village (Tooting).
- Zaiqah (Hounslow).
- New Lahori Masala (Wembley).
Best Pakistani restaurants in London
As with most food debates, the best Pakistani restaurant in London depends on who you ask. But the sheer variety of Pakistani food available is not up for debate. There’s such an overwhelming variety of Pakistani food in London that it’s sometimes hard to choose. Luckily, we’ve picked out the very best spots from across the city. From sweet to savoury dishes, and from cool to spicy treats, the restaurants below are some of the best in the capital.
- Aladin’s Kebabish (Hendon).
- Original Lahore (Various).
- Needo Grill (Shadwell).
- Salim’s (Turnpike Lane).
- Gifto’s Lahore Karahi (Southall).
Pakistani supermarkets in London
Need some Chillz Chatpata, Rasmalai Cupcakes, or just some Halal meat? No worries. London has more than enough Pakistani shops stocked with a ton of Pakistani goods.
- TAJ Stores (Brick Lane).
- Oak Bewal (Edmonton).
- Azeem Halal Meat & Groceries (Tooting).
- Madina Cash and Carry (Leyton).
- Pak Butchers (Various locations).
Pakistani markets in London
It’s sometimes more affordable to swap the supermarket for the high street market. Most food markets in the capital are a wonderful mix of cultures and cuisines. So rather than a dedicated Pakistani market, you’re more likely to find African products right next to Asian goods.
So whether you need some garam masala spices, dried plums, or basmati rice, it’s worth heading to your local market. Some notable markets where you can buy Pakistani products include:
- Queen’s Market (Upton Park).
- Ilford Lane Market (Ilford).
- Broadway Market (Tooting).
Best Pakistani restaurants outside of London
Outside of the capital, there are thriving Pakistani communities up and down the UK. While London has the largest number of Pakistanis in the UK, it only represents about 20 per cent of the total Pakistani population. That’s because cities from Manchester to Middlesbrough are home to hundreds of thousands of people of Pakistani descent.
If you’re looking for some of the best Pakistani restaurants in the UK, our table below highlights some of the best ones.