During a 16 day trip to Pakistan, there’s no better way to experience true Punjabi food than a visit to a town like this one. We are just outside a Punjab town, in the area of Wazirabad, near to Gujranwala.

Though I don’t know at all what to expect, what happens here is truly an unforgettable time full of community, hospitality, and of course some incredibly delicious local Punjabi food.

In this post, I’m going to share with you a desi (local) breakfast, and lunch, and the entire deliciously friendly experience.

Join us at this family home in the village of Kot Yousef.

Note: This article was written by Joel Bruner.

Wazirabad
Kot Yousef in Wazirabad, Pakistan

Passion is More Than Just the Food

You probably know that by now that at Migrationology we have some serious passion for food.

Really though, for me its more than just the amazing flavors that are exciting – its the ‘full package food experience’ that ultimately gives me the drive to travel.

Being able to spend time eating together with the people who call a meal ‘their own home food,’ increases the joy I get from eating exponentially, so much more than just closing eyes, and tasting different flavors of our world – which is exactly what is happening right here in the village of Kot Yousef.

Experience Exactly This!

The food is, of course, a gigantic bonus and here (in Wazirabad, Pakistan), you can experience exactly this – traditional Punjabi food, together with the people responsible for making it happen.

I would like to say a huge thank you – to those involved, and to you for supporting us by reading about it – truly a great day of life – Enjoy!

Pakistani food
Community gathered to prepare breakfast

Excitement in Kot Yousef

Imagine walking into a setting that you have literally always dreamed about. Would you want it be just the same? Would you prefer to be met with total surprise? How about a perfect mix of the two?

I read a lot of books, and as a kid, I spent a lot of time in my imagination. Something I am appreciating in the fullest in Wazirabad today, is how not only are the colors bright, the people warm, and the scenery so wonderfully weird (both familiar and completely new), just how I thought I would want it all to be…

Somehow in my childhood dreams though, I forgot to include the insanely and deliciously full breaths of smoky smells hitting me from every single direction, and how it seems that everyone in sight is just smiling and beckoning to come and taste test this, or enjoy a sip of that…

Ok, enough abstraction, because this is happening right now!

Lets get to this amazing Punjabi home-cooking.

Chapathi at Kot Yousef
Hand-rolling Chapathi at home to cook on a hot iron grill

Charcoal Smoke Draws You In

Waking up in a village like Kot Yousef, you will likely enjoy tea, eat some fresh fruit, and then possibly go out for a nice morning stroll with your friendly local hosts.

As many families in Pakistan will traditionally do everything for themselves (I do mean nearly everything), you can take part in activities like buffalo milking, butter churning, even tractor-driving practice, all while on your way to the morning market.

I would say there are few better ways you can ever get hungry for a meal than by being present for literally every step. Every recipe, every dish, you’re watching from dawn ’til lunch.

Thankfully there will be many, many snacks to get you through!

Milking Buffalo Before a Morning Stroll

What seems like only minutes later, although by now its likely after 9AM, its time for another quick stroll around the village.

Buying drinks for lunch actually, the preparations are well under-way for what is quite obviously going to be a Punjabi food feast of home-cooking.

The smells are deliciously hot and smoky, and I can’t wait to show you some the fresh ingredients they are using with us today.

Traditional Punjab Food in Pakistan
Every single dish from scratch – home-cooked traditional flavor cannot be beaten

Lend a Hand… If You Can

Although I am basically helpless, due to the speed at which everything is happening around me, I’m still so happy to be standing here, witnessing meal preparations from the start.

Making this meal requires several of our hosts working together for hours, but its also amazing to me how gently they are working. There are very few harsh sounds, its mostly just quick and quiet motion (with a lot of sounds of sizzling from a dozen different frying pans of course!).

There’s Love in Every Dish

Rapid sifting, smooth and powerful churning, swift kneading actions, everything that brings together the different ingredients of Punjabi’s great cuisine.

From the beginning there is real love going into every dish you will eat, and I think its something you will inevitably learn to appreciate, especially when you allow yourself to be present exactly in situations like this one here right now.

Note: When making food truly from scratch, a lot of work needs doing, most of which many of us might not even think about (even know about at all!), while just cooking in a kitchen at home.

Local and home-cooked meals are always the best, and its because they're full of love
Potatoes, Cauliflower, and lots and lots of desi spices.

Heights of Experience in Punjabi Home-Cooking

Moving back to open spaces just outside the kitchen area, you will see (and hear) branches being broken, sticks dragging through dirt, for the large numbers of fires under all the various cooking pans.

So cool to see the sheer amount of people involving themselves in making Roti, Chapati, Paratha and Puri (all the different types of breads), and cool too to know how many people this all will feed.

In even yet another small courtyard, see the churning of fresh milk from buffalo that are walking in their pens just beyond. This is directly next to the family team who make the Curries, the Dal (lentils)and even Raita, which in this case, is home-made yoghurt, ready now from the milking earlier this morning,

Still not done yet, as the almonds and pistachios for dessert need shelling, husking, and crushing.

Its amazing, and all of this takes such work – sometimes even real physical strength to get the job done – I am so grateful to the strong mothers and grandmothers, even young sisters and brothers helping out too, all taking such good care of us this day.

Traditional Punjabi Food
Traditional Punjabi Food – breakfast

Traditional Punjabi Food

As the hours pass, hunger may grow to wonderfully tantalizing heights, and my favorite dish of the wonderfully large family meal is Aloo Paratha. Even among all the others, I can easily pick out this as a favorite, it gets the award for Punjabi Food Dish of the Day.

I hope you enjoy the photos of such wonderful and incredible home-cooking Punjabi food, and although you can’t taste it yet, I hope you can smile, and get inspiration to go out, and find experiences just like this for yourself someday soon!

The Recipe

Aloo Paratha is an iron-skillet cooked bread folded full of potato, spices, and a few different types of flour. The raw ingredients form a thick layer on top, to which the chef adds a few generous spoonfuls of Desi Ghee (homemade clarified butter) – the heartiness in this single bread leaves nothing else to be desired.

Its a perfect Punjabi food.

saag
Amazing saag, a type of leafy green stew (in Pakistan, Saag is Mustard Greens)

Creating the Perfect Paratha

Making Aloo Paratha requires two of the entire round breads, and after pressing all the filling inside (potato, and spices like cumin, garam masala, and fragrant crushed pepper), the second piece lies on top, the edges fold together, and everything cooks for round two.

Each potato-packed Paratha sizzles for just a few minutes per side, and then receives a final rub from another spoonf of desi ghee – in Pakistani food the importance of desi ghee is something that simply cannot be underestimated.

Smoky flavor from charcoal cooking accompanies buttery richness so perfectly – the heavier ingredient of potato just makes the entire dish so warm and wonderfully satisfying.

I wonder…

I wonder if Pakistan actually designs this Aloo Paratha dish just to have you licking off your fingers after each and every bite.

A true champion of Punjabi food, of comfort food of Pakistan, I love ripping off chunks of this Paratha to dip into spicy Saag and mutton curries.

I do believe its all you need for a mid-morning epiphany of food and friendly happiness.

What a day.

tent pegging
Tent pegging in Pakistan

Bonus – Tent-Pegging Local Sport and Tradition

You may not know of the sport 0f tent-pegging, but that doesn’t mean its not a favorite pastime in several parts of the world.

The raising of horses, the grooming and care, and finally the showing of strength and skill, all of these are integral parts of a Central Asian sport since the 4th century BC.

Its not hard to imagine that we appreciate too how this pastime may include large amounts of Punjabi food both before and after participation.

“Tent-pegging” is Amazing, and Works Just How it Sounds

Riders aim simply to put a spear tip through a tiny wooden ‘peg,’ something that is much, much more easier said than done.

Incredibly fast and fun to watch though, it is very intense during each rider/horse sprint. They push the horse to a full gallop (amazingly, at this speed, the back of the horse is actually more stable and rigid than while trotting or walking).

Of course the danger lies in the rider spearing themselves (or the horse), and part of the technique is how to gently ram a 5kg spear into the ground while moving at 45kph.

Very fun to watch, and a great way to complete our visit to Kot Yousef village in Pakistan.

Pakistani food
Another entire meal just a few hours later, truly the hospitality in Pakistan is like nowhere else on earth…

Incredibly Gracious Hosts

The entire day a treat, and I have nothing but thanks and love for the entire Bagdi family. Thank you for making this day possible.

I hope reading this excites your imagination like it does for me, and I hope you will continue to connect with us by leaving a few words in the comment box down below.

Thanks, have a wonderful day today, and if you want to see all of this (and quite a lot more) in video form, check out the full video on YouTube. Enjoy!

Watch the full video

Don’t forget to check out the full series of Pakistan videos!

48 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Julia Mia

    11 months ago

    What a fantastic post!

  • Vishal

    1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing. Great content.

  • Daspalla

    1 year ago

    Always loved Punjabi food. Delicious and Very Tasty stuff. Very well written article…
    Mouth-watering Stuff!!!

  • Sudeesh

    1 year ago

    Thanks for letting us know the real taste and traditional spices of Punjabi food.

    • Joel Bruner

      11 months ago

      Hello Sudeesh! Most welcome, and we are glad you found it useful. Take care, all the best!

  • Ashish Rawat

    2 years ago

    Punjabi Food is the best delicious and if you want to get a wrestler like physic then come to Punjab.

    • Joel Bruner

      11 months ago

      Awesome comment Ashish! I think you are correct, and we would love to return to Punjab as well 🙂 Take care!

  • vikas

    2 years ago

    Eating food in front to “chulllah”😍
    The taste get doubbled at the destination.

    • Joel Bruner

      11 months ago

      Hello Vikas! Thanks for your support! Have a great day

  • The Pakistan

    2 years ago

    Just wow.
    As I am also a villager of Pakistan I can just have all the feelings through this article.You just showed the real culture of the villages of the Pakistan and those foods are just awesome.
    I also putted some effort on the natural beauty of Pakistan in fact about the whole Pakistan.
    Click here=> The beautiful Pakistan
    Just have a look.
    You’ll love it.
    Thanks!

    • Joel Bruner

      11 months ago

      Uanees, thanks for your contribution, I will check out your page as well. Take care, all the best!

  • Golden Taj Tours

    2 years ago

    Punjabi food are famous in all world . This is food is very frantic and good for health . Some people are riding in horse in Pakistan . Don’t miss the tour of Pakistan in Punjab. Some people are kind heart and helpful . some people are going to Gurudware .

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you for your message, and for your support. Yes, the visit to Punjab was great, but of course we know that there is SO much still left to be discovered. Literally a lifetime’s worth, so thank you for understanding that time is limited. Take care, and all the best!

  • Laura

    2 years ago

    I enjoy watching you Joel with your friend Mark and family traveling alll over Asia for food and experiences. Do you too have a Significant other

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Hello Laura, well thank you so much! Nice comments, and thank you for your support. (yes, I do.)

  • Monica

    2 years ago

    Hi Joel,
    I have followed Mark Weins food blog and I am always happy to see you in the videos now and then, I was hoping we could be pen pals, you look like a very happy person and someone I would enjoy conversations with, I know this may seem a bit of a different way of meeting but it’s the only way I have available to talk with you, I love living through your videos and watching all the amazing food you have experienced. Thank you for considering being a pen pal.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Hi Monica, I hope this finds you well! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, and for your great support. I am very happy you enjoyed this article as well, we were lucky to be there in Pakistan and have such amazing experiences… You can reply to these messages, I will read them (and eventually, reply as well 🙂 ), and thanks again – have a wonderful day today!

  • Rizwan Arif

    2 years ago

    HI,
    I lived in Gujranwala thanks for visiting Pakistan and exploring pakistani food and people.i just loved your videos …Good Luck

  • Farzana Tonny

    2 years ago

    The hospitality of Pakistani pepe r just awesome.And obviously Mark u r just fantabulous. Ur style of presence any kind of tasty food just fantastic. Mark it will be great honor for us if u visit Bangladesh for once.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for the kind comment Farzana! What a great trip. As For Bangledesh, yes we would absolutely love to visit, hopefully that chance is coming very soon! Take care, have a great day!

  • Anonymous User

    2 years ago

    Hi there Mark I was wondering if you could visit Russia one day.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Hi Yuri, it would be absolutely wonderful to visit Russia, we are working on it!

  • chloe

    2 years ago

    I’m heading to Pakistan next year and cannot wait to try some of these foods and get to know the people. Thanks

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      I am sure you will have a wonderful time Chloe, thanks for reading! Have a great day!

  • Perveen Akhtar

    2 years ago

    Mesmerizing!!!! How beautifully captured a spoonful tour on wonder land Pakistan. Your visit made charisma for others to step in Pakistan freely……

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Perveen, thanks for the great comments and for your support! Have a great day!

  • Sharmin

    2 years ago

    Mark em a big fan of yours.when you come next time to pakistan please make sure that u meet with us.loved to see your vdos and thankyou for showing true picture of pakistan.glad that u trusted us and came along with ur kid and wife.and showing the brighter side of us.this is actually we pakistani our not what shown on news

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Sharmin, I hope we will have that chance. Until then, thanks a lot for your great support, and have a wonderful day today as well!

  • Ankit yadav

    2 years ago

    Hi marc, I also love village food and speciay Punjabi food. This blog made me hungry , nice story

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you very much Ankit! Best of luck with your own travel website as well!

  • Anja

    2 years ago

    You are a Buddha. More then any of the amazing foods you show is your love for the people preparing it. Namo Buddhaya

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you Anja, the people here are absolutely wonderful. So gracious and hospitable, it was a really great part of the trip.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you Anja, have a wonderful day today yourself!

  • Ayesha

    2 years ago

    Loved reading this. Being a Pakistani, and a big fan of Mark, I was really disheartened that I missed my chance of meeting you guys. You came to my homeland and I couldn’t host you, such a bad luck. I’m in love with thee videos and posts regarding the ultimate PakistanI experience you guys had. I wish I could make biryani and Karahi for you people, at least once.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Ayesha, wow, thank you so much. I am sure we would have had a wonderful time, just like we did for all the rest of the amazing experiences throughout the trip. Thank you for you kind words, maybe we will have the chance to meet again next time. We would love to visit Pakistan again immediately 🙂 It was just so much fun being there!

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Ayesha, wow. Thank you so much for the incredible offer, and for your great support. Of course we wished we would have had more time in the wonderful country of Pakistan.

  • M asif

    2 years ago

    Great insight to village life. The Punjabi are very big hearted East or West Punjab. Hopefully near future A trip to the heart of sindh.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Thank you so much M Asif! We would love to visit again, that trip was amazing. Have a wonderful day.

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Moasif, you are so right, thanks for your support, and have a wonderful day!

  • Anwar

    2 years ago

    This post is so much of what I love about food. I love pakistani cuisine and while I have yet to visit pakistan I have many pakistani friends here in the US. I need to try harder to get invited to any weddings over there. Definitely never heard of tent pegging before either! So Interesting! I love sports and traditions from other parts of the world

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Hi Anwar, thanks for the message! You are so right that weddings are one of the best cultural insights that a traveler could ever hope for! As are the way people view sports/entertainment… Good luck with your own travels, and have a great day today!

  • ANITA

    2 years ago

    This is just incredible man! I would really love to go there, but you know there is so much info that woman should’t travel there, so I am not sure. :/

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Hi Anita, thanks for the comment. Well, it is true that women do have restrictions which men do not have to follow, but I would say that the majority of these are just related to dress. We saw women and children everywhere we went, but it was more common to see them in the morning, and then after the sun went down. I am not sure if this is because of the more comfortable weather at those times, or if its just the culture to be more active at those times of day, but I would say that you have nothing at all to fear in Pakistan. Not even one time did we feel threatened or unsafe, it was very much one of the more hospitable places I have ever been to in my life.

      • Jerrin

        2 years ago

        As i was watching the videos,really felt like visiting but again news of multiple blasts came now.how safe is it actually.as long these blasts linger in mind its difficult to plan a trip.

        • Joel Bruner

          2 years ago

          Hi Jerrin, you know it is really tough to say – many parts of the world suffer through terrible outbreaks of violence, and yet life always goes on. Just do your best to research through blogs, and personal information, instead of the large media broadcasts, and then (like our website), try to contact people who have personal experience. Pakistan was great to us, and we really did travel extensively, but we also were not just walking around alone for extended lengths of time. For another example, I grew up in Africa, not known to be the most safe place, but in more than 10 years I only had a few nervous incidents, whereas in the USA (studying at Uni for 5 years), I had many, many, more times of fear than I ever did while living in Africa. Ok, best of luck, and of course do what you feel is the safest option.

  • ka

    2 years ago

    simply cannot get enough of your, guys, work
    demonstration of cultures and peoples and lands is raw, pure, honest, flawless with their slight imperfections
    well, you have developed something truly AMAZING; the whole world is raving and craving – full steam ahead!! – impatiently looking forward to what’s to come
    p.s. we want even more simplicity – more honesty – just true everyday life of everyday simple folks – no matter how imperfect certain aspects of it might appear – again, loving that you record the smallest of details of a human body, human activity, the environment, the never ceasing life … THANK YOU!!

    • Joel Bruner

      2 years ago

      Most wonderful comments Ka, thank you so much for the support! I had a great time living in the present during these incredible experiences, and now I am having fun remembering them. The pictures are great of course, but being there was even so much more special. Thanks again for the great comments, have a wonderful day!