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How Karachi’s ‘Pickle Street’ Preserves the Past

A neighborhood famous for its achaar linked migrants to home.

The walls of the Chutkharey House in Karachi, Pakistan, are lined floor-to-ceiling with pickle jars in an autumnal palette of crimson, mustard, and olive green. Situated at the edge of achaar gali, a street devoted to vendors selling pickled mango, pickled carrots, and more than 50 additional varieties of Hyderabadi achaar, the pungent aroma in the 60-year-old establishment is discernible from a distance. Achaar is prepared by fermenting raw fruits and vegetables in oils along with spices such as fennel, turmeric, mustard seeds, and fenugreek. If achaar production and consumption were a competitive sport, the Hyderabadis would undoubtedly win gold.

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Chutkharey House is an institution in Karachi, but it serves food from Hyderabad, an Indian city a thousand miles away, on the other side of a militarized border. Faheem’s father set up the business in 1954 after migrating to Karachi. He was one of many immigrants who made the neighborhood now known as Hyderabad Colony a food destination. Due to restrictive visa policies between Pakistan and India, the pickle shops of achaar gali have been a rare taste of home for many Hyderabadis.

 

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Tags: #food, #india
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