In its fifth season the travelogue manages to find unique experiences that take viewers up to chilly tree houses in the village of Bayun and kheer tasting adventures in Jhelum.
As we continue our culinary journey across the country, Chef Saadat Siddiqi pops piping hot pakoras from street vendors in Mardan and bites into red naan from the tandoors of Chaman with a genuine curiosity to learn more about the cuisine – but more importantly the people who create it.
We explore dozens of visually stunning locations that track the rich history of the country from the ancient ruins of Taxilla to Budhist monuments. Some times we discover the legacy of colonial architecture in a quiet church in the mountains or eastern craftsmanship in a massive shrine in Sindh – with National ka Pakistan, we come to understand the history of spaces.
Musician Shuja Haider joins the chef for impromptu sing alongs (all it takes is an over turned cooking pot, a guitar and the Sufi spirit) that are the stuff of vagabond dreams.
The quality that makes National Ka Pakistan truly unique is the warmth with which Siddiqi and Haider engage with the community – they are no mere ‘shehri babu’ tourists. The hosts genuine enthusiasm for food and the people he meets seeps through the screen and makes you feel like you too are experiencing a scrumptious meal in the midst of breathtaking scenery.
The show captures the stunning beauty of Pakistan’s snowy mountains, lush green meadows and ancient architecture, as well as small details that make a place feel like home. A running theme throughout the show is what makes a place feels like home – whether it be the narrow lanes of Mariabad in the outskirts of Quetta or the hard to navigate mountains of Swat where families must stockpile groceries for six months a year. The shows hosts are not superficially traipsing through an area but make effort to understand it – and through them so does the audience.
National ka Pakistan is evidence that intelligent and entertaining television content is indeed possible. Tune in and lose yourself to the delightful escape of dunking a classic Mastung sponge cake into your tea with fellow traveller chef Saadat.
The series is available on YouTube.