I am in Karachi, with a throat that feels like it has had a good rub by sand paper, originally fashioned for a 1,000 year old oak tree. So naturally I have had a little too much of tea, to soothe both my throat and broken heart (I spend 33% of my holidays in bed; do you really blame me?)

I have tried different places and thought it might be a good idea to share some of my favourites for tea lovers in Karachi.

Good to know: I like my tea strong, brown and tall. Ideally unsweetened. Pretty much like my choice in men.

How to check if the chai is done right? If the colour is even a tiny shade lighter than my skin, I know that it has been compromised. Most probably by a Lahori. Those sneaky milk-monsters!

  • Fibbi: I have heard that they have more than one outlet but I only came across one at Lucky One mall on Rashid Minhas Road (three ones in one sentence; wah re writer madam!). It is rumoured to be a desi version of the much loved Filli in Dubai, so I tried their zafran chai and it was duly flavoursome and refreshing. Price: Rs. 150
  • Chai Wali: The size of the cup would please most Karachi-ites; a standard coffee mug size, with a strong brew, sweetened just enough to enhance the flavour instead of compromising it. Outdoor seating allows you to take in the expansive skies, even though it is slightly awami. Bonus: quirky one liners to spice up conversation and add some giggle. Price: Rs. 125
  • 226: That’s my house number. My mom brews one hella cup. So do I. Sometimes. Price: pyaar
  • Cafe Clifton: There might be a whole new crop of chai places sprouting up across the city but classics like Cafe Clifton will always be relevant. A standard dhaba, with a pathan who looks 13 shades of shady until he smiles, with acrylic cups that can double for vodka shots too if you swing that way. Price: Rs. 35

I do believe that people of Karachi can’t do chai wrong, no matter whether a place is swanky or stinky. Chai is a religion and we are devouts.

P.S. Place that I didn’t instantly fall in love were Chai Shai (because you can’t make me wait 25 mins for tea Sire, just doesn’t cut it) and Pi Social (hands down the worst tea ever!).

P.S.S. If there are any other chai dhabbas you can swear by, please let me know. I would love to give it a shot (or sip).