The clientele at Nisar’s Charsi and other Salt Market eateries usually arrive in large groups, with experienced customers ordering food by the kilo and guiding cleaver-wielding butchers to their preferred cuts, which are then cooked immediately.

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Peshawar’s improved security has given business a boost, Khan said.

“We had a lot of troubles and pains,” he admitted, remembering friends lost during the years of devastating bombings and suicide attacks.

But some customers said they had been loyal to Peshawar’s cuisine even during the bloodshed.

“I’ve been coming here for more than 20 years now,” said Hammad Ali, 35, who travelled to Peshawar with eight other colleagues from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad for a gluttonous lunch.

“This taste is unique, that’s why we have come all this way.”

Orders generally take close to an hour to prepare, with customers quaffing tea and occasionally smoking hash ahead of the meal.

“They smoke it openly here,” explained Nisar Charsi’s head chef Mukam Pathan. “When someone smokes one joint of hash, they eat around two kilos of meat.”

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