In the small block that constitutes the Fordsburg Square area, cuisines from all around the world can be if found. If you’re a meat lover, vegetarian, vegan or anything in between you will find something to satisfy your cravings. And amongst all these amazing food, decadent desserts and sweetmeats can be found. From baklava to kulfi to jalebi, it is a sweet lovers heaven. FATIMA MOOSA and SHAAZIA EBRAHIM spoke to people from two of these sweet shops.
Ali from the Lahore Falooda House
I am from Pakistan. I’ve been running this shop for the past three to four years. I decided to open this shop because this is a unique ice-cream and dessert. It was not eaten in South Africa before so that’s why I started my business. This was the very first time in South Africa. The equipment is also not available in South Africa. I made it myself. As I am an electrical genius, I started to make these machines. These machines can make ice-cream within ten minutes. No other machine can do this.
The burfi kulfi flavour is the only unique one. Other flavours you can mix like pistachio and strawberry but the main one is the burfi. When I first started this business, the main response was from Asian people like Indian and Pakistanis. Then after that whites, coloured people and African people bought a lot. We are mostly busy in summer rather than winter because of the weather. All the other desserts are made fresh everyday like the yoghurt and pudding. Jalebi and other stuff are only made in Ramadan. Falooda is made with vermicelli, syrup, and rabri. It is mixed together and stirred. This is very unique. If you don’t taste it, you can’t understand the meaning of it. You have to taste it to understand it.
At the Lahore Falooda House, all kinds of fresh Pakistani desserts can be found. Their main drawcard is the kulfi ice-cream. The huge machine which makes the kulfi is situated at the front of the store instantly drawing the customer in. Another major seller for the store is falooda. This is a cold dessert. It is traditionally made from mixing rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds with milk, often served with ice cream.
Waqar from Shalimar Delights
Shalimar Delights has been open since 1993 or 1994. It’s been almost 25 years now. We do have some Indian sweetmeats — Indian cookies, some chevroh and snacks — but we mostly have the Pakistani stuff. We have mostly Pakistani customers and some locals. Everything is made fresh and everything is made right here in the shop. Most of the ingredients are found locally but some ingredients we import from Pakistan. There are some chemicals that you use in the process of making sweetmeats, and some colouring that you can’t get here. Those things we import. People are mostly looking for burfees, chana magaj, ladoo, gulab jamuns… these kind of things.
In many South Asian countries, sweetmeats are an important part of the culture. From weddings to birthday parties and any important functions, sweetmeats feature quite prominently. All sweetmeats or mithai is its known is made with a combination of sugar, milk and butter. Yet they come together is different and tasty combinations.