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Tuesday, December 10

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Blog Thu Feb 14 2008

When Incorrect is Fun: Trying Faluda

If we draw a line between the correct foods and the wrong foods, faluda is going to be on the wrong side. And it'll stand there proudly.


Faluda is a Pakistani dessert/refreshment resembling a sundae. At Sabri Nehari, a Pakistani restaurant on Devon where I encountered the dessert, it's served in tall, fluted glasses. On the bottom are a few dumpling-like things that I couldn't figure out what, and a handful of bright green and orange jello cubes. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, strands of thin rice noodles (which give the dessert its name) and basil seeds sit atop, and the whole thing is swimming in sweet, pink rose syrup. The disco-like colors are obviously unnatural, yet oddly captivating: In this age of all-natural eating, it's almost novel to see so much food coloring in a single dessert. The colors, though, aren't the only stamp of evil; faluda is unabashedly sweet, too.

In fact, the delight of faluda is not in the complexity of flavors. Rather, it's in the mix of different textures. The dumplings are dense and firm, while jello cubes are, well, jello-y. The ice cream is smooth, and the faluda noodles are a bit more brittle and less chewy than the jello cubes. The basil seeds add tiny, popping crunch. When the whole thing is mixed in the glass, as the waiter would tell you to do, the ice cream makes the syrup opaque, making it impossible to know what you're getting in the next spoonful. It's fun.

What's interesting about faluda is that it doesn't taste as sweet as it probably should, given the suspected sugar content. The saving grace is the rose syrup. The floral flagrance of the syrup makes the otherwise sweet dessert surprisingly refreshing. I can easily picture myself enjoying it in the intense heat of Pakistani summer (or any other summer, for that matter). I'd recommend sharing it with someone, even for those with sweet tooth, but faluda is worth a try.

In one way or the other, eating is deeply intertwined with the sense of morality. Someone--be it dietitians, food writers or your mom--is always telling you what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat it. And in most cases, these are reasonable advices. Yet, there's something within us that, perhaps against our better judgement, wants to wiggle free of such voices of reason. Faluda satisfies that part of us--at least it does mine. At Sabri Nehari, whole families--from small kids to serious old men--visibly glow when glasses of faluda are brought to their tables. I'll be joining them again.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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