achaar, almonds, biryani, brain power, broast, Candyland Chowrangi, cinnamon, coconut, cutlery, Dhoraji, Dhoraji Colony, Dhoraji Foundation, Faisal Foods, gola ganda, gola gandas, gondh ka teera, ground almonds, guar gum, Jamil’s Food Centre, KDA Scheme I, Memon community, mustard, oils, olive, PECHS, Rangoonwala Hall, Real Estate Review, Shayan Shakeel, snow cones, spices, textile stores, thelas, turmeric
Dhoraji is a stone’s throw away from KDA Scheme I and PECHS, but this isn’t where you’ll find cars parked under shady green trees. Instead, what Dhoraji lacks in ambience, it makes up with a bustling community that is home to more than a few surprises.
A thriving community… Home predominantly to the Memon community, which
is renowned for its business acumen, Dhoraji carries a wide range of businesses; from embellishments to textile stores, catering to cutlery, you can find anything and everything in the area, at very reasonable prices. Thanks to the Dhoraji Foundation there are also a number of educational institutions which grant scholarships and distribute academic excellence awards to outstanding students every year.
Finger licking good… At Jamil’s Food Centre the broast is done anew; the chef there carves a pocket out of the chicken breast and stuffs it with achaar before deep frying it. If that doesn’t leave your taste buds stunned, the extra large and extra spicy biryani at Faisal Foods next door certainly will; prod the waiter enough and he’ll serve it guaranteed to make you breathe fire.
Snow cones in the summer… The flavours aren’t named ‘strawberry daiquiri’ or ‘blueberry sour’, but what really is the difference between snow cones and gola gandas? If you aren’t too fraught with the distinctions, then Dhoraji has not one or two thelas, but a street full of them ready to serve you your preferred multi-coloured dessert. Ask for one with an assortment of jellies and you won’t be disappointed.
Dhoraji’s hidden secret… Towards Rangoonwala Hall from Candyland Chowrangi on the left is an alley so recessed it is easy to miss. Walk in and you will find closet sized shops which carry not only the usual packets of cinnamon and turmeric, but also other offerings: gondh ka teera (guar gum) soaked in milk, the shop owner will tell you, can rid joints of any aches, while ground almonds will boost ‘brain power’. They also carry all kinds of oils (coconut, mustard, olive etc.). Watching them pull out a flask, turn one of several multi-labelled levers to fill it via the pre-filled overhead vats, before weighing it on a digitised scale is enough to leave you speechless – and wondering why the rest of Karachi’s bazaars haven’t figured this out yet.
In a nutshell… Make no mistake, you don’t come to Dhoraji to be seen; but you will find plenty of folks there from surrounding neighbourhoods, glad to have found a place to shop and feast at, where the pretensions (and traffic) common in trendier areas in the city are held at bay.
– Shayan Shakeel
Photographs by Tahir Jamal/White Star
First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on November 25, 2012.