Searching for the best nihari in town


Ever since trying mouthwatering nihari during one breakfast salvo in the office, I have been on the hunt for the best nihari in town.

Nihari is a South Asian stew made of lamb or beef shanks slow cooked into tender perfection it easily slides down your palate. The word nihar came from the Arabic word nahar which means "morning" after the sunrise Fajr prayers. This is a popular breakfast dish, and is regarded as the national dish of Pakistan. It is usually cooked for one whole night to achieve its delectable tenderness. It is quite spicy and tangy to the taste buds, which is why it landed on my favorites list. The stew also reminds me of my all-time favorite Filipino stew called Linat-ang Baka (Beef Stew with Mixed Vegetables in Clear Broth) which my father cooks with loving tenderness (literally!).

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Feasting on the nihari (and other breakfast eats like mince, omelet, paratha, etc.) from Muhammad Faisal Restaurant was quite a gastronomic treat. Muhammad Faisal offers a wide selection of Pakistani and Indian dishes for dine-in and delivery. It is located in Al Khabaisi near Dnata in Deira. Pakistani colleagues advised me that there are more better-tasting "versions" out there. And so began my search for the best nihari in town.

Ravi Restaurant near Burjuman in Bur Dubai has been in my to-dine-in list for some time now. A good number of blogs and online restaurant guides hail Ravi as an institution in Dubai. Famed for their excellent Pakistani dishes cooked in the right spices and flavor, it was simply imperative for me to try them out. Their nihari was the right kind of spicy for me. However, the meat was not as soft and tender as I'd hope it would be. Prying the meat apart wasn’t so easy. Afterwards, I washed it down with mango milkshake, which was also little too sour for my taste. Perhaps, coming from a country (Philippines) where ripe mangoes are the sweetest in the world, I had high standards for my mango refreshment. Their nihari was so-so, and the search is still on.

Scouring the web, I stumbled upon TimeOut Dubai responding to a query about the best nihari in town. Delhi Restaurant in Deira was the top recommendation. Also an institution having been around for 30 years, this restaurant is known to serve the best one around. They say this is partly because they cook the meat for a full 12 hours. We'll see. I will let you know as soon as I've tried it out.

Do you know of other restaurants in Dubai that serve incredibly tasty and tender nihari?