KARACHI: One often longs for a restaurant that serves the most authentic, delicious pan-Asian food that you get used to and keep going back for. Alas, there is a dearth of genuine flavours in Karachi when it comes to Chinese and Thai food.
Living in a city that loves spice and has a receptive palate when it comes to food, especially pan-Asian, we get excited every time a new eatery opens its doors, hoping it is the one. That’s what we hoped to find in Pan Asia.
Takeaway and delivery only, the eatery has a diverse menu that offers a range of appetizers, stir-fries and curries.
After tasting the salt and pepper squid among appetizers, the first thing we picked up on was the heat. The squid was fresh and cooked well, however, the heat overrode all flavour. Our second starter; the spring rolls were a complete miss and lacked flavour.
We were excited to see Szechuan specialty, Mapo Tofu on the menu, however, the dish failed to meet our expectations. Traditionally, oily and spicy – because of the use of chilli paste – the dish was too watery and left us searching for flavour that wasn’t there.
The Thai red curry, usually milder than the green curry tasted dull with subdued flavours of the individual components like lemongrass and ginger.
On the contrary, the Pan Asia Wok fried chicken; julienned pieces of chicken tossed in red chillies, green chillies and scallion, was packed with chilli. This one is not for the fainthearted!
Although it was a little saltier than usual, we were far better pleased with the Crispy beef, which had a piquant, sweet and tangy sauce. The beef was tender, crisp and enjoyable.
The Kung Pao noodles were another entre we enjoyed tasting. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the sauce sticky and sweet with some delicious crunch from the peanuts.
A popular street food in Thailand, we also sampled Pad Gra Pow from the entre menu. It was minced chicken with stir-fried with Thai holy basil, which lent a beautiful scent to the dish. The Pad Gra Pow was served with rice and a crispy fried egg on the side. While the dish had good flavour, it was burdened with excess vegetables. A little attention to the ratio of vegetable to chicken would make the dish far more enjoyable.
The eatery could perhaps add sticky rice to its menu, which goes only too well with pan-Asian curries and stir-fries. Commendable for their use of authentic and quality ingredients, Pan Asia has an intriguing menu but could benefit from a little attention to detail when it comes to flavour.