The London restaurant where people line up outside the door for its famous Chai tea
Karak Chai is my favorite hot drink all year round – and in recent years Londoners have finally been able to get their hands on the authentic drink all over the city.
The hot drink originated in India and dates back 5,000 years, however, more recently it has become popular in Arab countries.
Karak Chai translates to “strong tea,” but what makes it unique is the way it’s made – or cooked.
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Usually, it is made only of milk, sugar, and water, but you can add masala (spices) like cardamom, saffron, or ginger.
Traditionally, chai is prepared by boiling water in a pot with loose tea leaves or tea bags.
Once boiled, the milk is added along with any spices you like (I love saffron in my cellar) and sugar to taste, before letting the mixture cook and boil again.
It is this technique that gives it the “Karak” flavor.
While working in Pakistan in 2018, I discovered that the after work equivalent of going to the pub was going to a “chai dhaba” on the street and spending hours playing board games and playing games. drink chai.
During my stay, I constantly wished there were spaces like this in London where people could relax for hours until late at night drinking Karak Chai and catching up.
But until this trip to Karachi, there weren’t many places in London serving the traditional South Asian and Arabic drink.
Back in London at the end of 2018, I was now addicted to Karak Chai and the English breakfast just wasn’t strong and sweet enough.
Fortunately, my return coincided with the growing popularity of Restaurant Chaiiwala, which expanded its franchise to London after opening in Leicester.
Finally – a decently priced space that offered an authentic Karak Chai until 1am!
Then, in 2019, a restaurant took it a step further and offered exactly what I wanted from my experience at home.
Cha Sha at Wembley opened up with outdoor space and decor that really captured the Karachi vibe.
The restaurant offers different types of chai served in a matka (clay pot) and reheated with hot sand, as well as authentic street food and snacks that you can enjoy sitting outside, especially in summer. .
In fact, during the Covid lockdown in the summer of 2020, the restaurant’s outdoor seating area gained popularity when patrons were invited to dine al fresco.
Thanks to word of mouth and the power of social media, the restaurant quickly went viral on TikTok, causing people to queue for a space to sit and taste their Karak Chai matka.
With a large outdoor space, traditional decor and Pakistani music from the Coke Studio in the background, Cha Sha provided that ‘home away from home’ feeling that brought you straight back to the streets of Karachi.
If you decide to visit Cha Sha, I highly recommend the Lamb Tunda Roll with their Karak Chai.
Cha Sha is located at Wembley, Ealing Road, HA0 4BA.
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