Da Booda: Meditative Gastronomy


Zaheer Narejo is a childhood friend. I tasted his product as a favour to him. As his venture ‘Da Booda’ has not officially launched yet, I was unable to pay for the bowl I so ravenously devoured. I would have paid had I been able to. If you feel that the information I have just conveyed would have any bearings on my opinions, please do not read any further.

Now That You Have Been Disclaimed

With the icky matters aside, let’s get on with the show.

The Bowl just moments before I dug in!
The Bowl just moments before I dug in!

I would like to start off by mentioning, I am no vegan. I am not even a vegetarian. Even more so, I love meat, dairy and fish in most of their forms. My ideal meal is a steak dinner, CFU’s if you want to get into particulars. My ride or die, last resort option is pizza. Heck, I firmly believe that when you are overcome with massive bouts of emptiness, a cheesy pepperoni pizza is the only food item in existence that can help. Thus, to get me to talk about vegan food is a massive achievement in itself. To get me to love it, well, that’s nothing short of legendary.

A Legendary Achievement

And the best part was, it left me feeling so gloriously content and full. It is that kind of full feeling which doesn’t transform you into a bulbous bloated balloon for several hours after. Rather it is a very energising, as if my soul was enriched with every bite. As if I suddenly had boundless energy to go about doing everything I’ve ever wanted because now suddenly everything was within reach. A perfect marriage of food as fuel and food as a means a pleasure!

Because it was really very pleasurable!

A Different Form of Enlightenment

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Buddha Bowls, let me enlighten you. A Buddha Bowl is a vegetarian one-bowl meal consisting of little dishes, artfully arranged. The dishes are served individually but in perfect balance with each other. Thus when mixed, you are treated to an explosion of flavours and textures.

Of all the textures, among all Buddha bowls, one thing is usually a constant. The grains. Da Booda opts for quinoa. It proves itself worthy for the bowl as it’s an excellent vehicle for all the amazing flavours laid on top. You have crunch in several forms from red cabbage to carrots to nimco chips. There are also crunchy chickpeas which double up as the protein.

Next you have tabbouleh, introducing acid and freshness. Acid which calls out to the lemon in the tahini miso sauce added on top. Everything then finds perfect harmony when mixed in with the avocado. Though should you desire heat, and I did, sriracha is always an option. My only criticism, which Zaheer was promptly made aware off, was that the acid was somewhat overwhelming. You have a rainbow, of colours, flavours and textures but you were missing just a bit of sweetness to bring perfect harmony.

Enlightened Eating

All that being said, the day Zaheer came, and offered me up this bowl, I was maintaining I wasn’t hungry. That I felt full and yet, I ravenously devoured it all. So much so that I mourned the end of the meal as if a great tragedy had just come to pass. I mean I held the bowl, scrapped the sides and sighed, until acceptance of the end finally set in. However, at the end, my soul felt at peace.

Once again, getting me, a professed meat-lover, to love vegan food, and to such an extent, is a tremendous achievement indeed.

Should you, like me, find yourself unable to resist the urge to try these bowls, you don’t have to wait too long! All you have to do is mosey on over to stall 57 at Karachi Eat 2019 and voila!

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