In the chilly embrace of Peshawar’s winter, locals flock to hotels and restaurants for the comfort of hot meals. This surge in demand transforms popular spots like Ghanta Ghar, Karkhano market, and various eateries into bustling hubs. Among them, Ghanta Ghar stands out as a go-to destination, particularly renowned for its delectable fish dishes.
During the winter season, fish becomes a staple choice for many, making Ghanta Ghar a favored fish market. The variety ranges from raw fish to the widely celebrated fried and grilled options. Notably, the fried fish at Ghanta Ghar has earned a special place in the hearts of locals.
Imdad, the proprietor of “Machli Ghar” (Fish House) at Ghanta Ghar, shared insights into the seasonal dynamics of their business. He noted that winter sees a significant uptick in customers compared to the summer months.
Explaining this trend, Imdad said, “Since fish is a hot food, people do not prefer it in summer. During winters, many people come here to eat fish, mostly from Nowshera, Swabi, Pabi, and various other places, including Karkhano Market, who come here to eat only fried and grilled fish.”
The variety of fish available at Machli Ghar includes silverfish, rahu fish, catfish, and more. Silverfish, in particular, enjoys popularity among the people of Peshawar, constituting a significant portion of the orders.
Imdad walked through the meticulous process of preparing fried fish, emphasizing the use of special spices for marination. He detailed, “First, it is cut into two parts. Then the prepared special spices are applied to it, and after marinating, it is left for some time so that the spices are absorbed and settle down into it, and it becomes tastier.”
The fish is then cut into desired pieces and fried in a large pan until achieving a delectable golden color. Grilled fish follows a similar process, with the distinction of being grilled over coals or an open fire. According to Imdad, “It tastes many times more delicious and flavorful than fried fish.”
Sattar, visiting from Chitral, attested to the allure of Ghanta Ghar’s fish. Despite being in Peshawar for medical treatment, he couldn’t resist the temptation after hearing about the renowned fried fish.
Sattar praised, “Machli Ghar’s fried fish is very unique from other shops. Like Chitral, Peshawar also has a severe cold wave. So we don’t get too cold after eating Ghanta Ghar’s fried fish. It’s hot and strength-giving. Also, it has a unique flavor that is hard to find anywhere else.”