Friday, 25 November 2011

The Pakistani Tea Party: Some Point to Note


Tea is huge part of the Pakistani culture. So much so, that if you say "I don't drink tea" you get something similar to the reaction of Toula's aunt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding to her fionce not eating meat: "you don't eat MEAT?!?!" Shocking.

You see, a cup of tea with your family, curled up on the sofa, watching tv at the end of long day can be the best thing in the world. But serving tea to aunties you havn't seen in months and have little in common with, while your tea-serving standards are ruthlessly scrutinised  = not so fun.

It goes something like this, and if you are Pakistani/South-Asian/live in an area with a large population of Asians, chances are you can relate to at least one of the points below:

  1. First thing to note, Pakistani "tea guests" will rarely call before coming over. If you do get some notice, it'll be an hours notice max. More likely is a call to ask "are you home? because we've just pulled into your street!"

  2. A minimum of three-four snacks to accompany the tea are expected. No way around this. You only have one thing to serve? Just biscuits? Well forget it. Forget the tea altogether. Thats just insulting. Its an insult to the tea itself! Your going to be cussed much less for not offering ANY tea than you are for a half-full table of accompaniments.

  3. There should be at least one deep-fried snack. Acceptable are: kebabs, samosas, pakoras, spring rolls and cutlets. Not acceptable is anything healthy. What is this brown bread, low fat, sandwich? Or sugar-free rusks? Conclusion: too cheap to buy enough oil to serve proper (ie. fried) food.

  4. You must, I repeat MUST, offer your guests everything at least 5 times. Do a count in your head. If you fall short, they are going to call you inhospitable. And if you really want to impress them, use different words each time. Forget the normal "would you like some cake?" You've got to mix it up with a bit of "I made this cake especially for you" (ie. I was saving this to eat whilst watching Glee later, dammit) with some pushy "have some more." Simulatenously shoving a slice on their already full plate helps too.

  5. And finally... if your guests don't leave an inch wider around the waist and fuller than if they'd had dinner with you instead, then its all over for you.

Disclaimer: All of the above is true. All characters appearing in this post are not fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely the truth.


  1. So true! I never used to drink tea until I met and married my Pakistani husband.

    And the snacks that accompany the tea? They are responsible for the 5 extra pounds I'm carrying around. :)


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