Gola Ganda


I was at a friend’s Dholki in London this past weekend and was very impressed by the amazing atmosphere. I’ve been a bit homesick lately so it was quite a pleasant surprise to see all the  aunties,  uncles, and ‘youngsters’ dressed in shalwar kameezes and making some noise the desi way. I had a great chat with one of the foreigners who was quite taken with the rich culture and heritage listening to the aunties singing “raat keh baara bajeh” and “lateh kee chaadar”.

As we finished our second helping of Lahore Kebab House’s delicious catering at the Dholki, we walked towards the dessert section to see what was in store. As I was about to join the line for the gulab jamans and gaajar ka halva, I heard one of my friends say “I hope they have gola ganda tonight”. The idiot that I am, I laughed and assuredly told him that gulli danda is a game not a dessert, adding that he was a fool for not knowing that, at which time then he became hysterical and made sure that our other friends heard my comment as well. 

 I will be the first to admit that I grew up in somewhat of a bubble and was a bit sheltered studying at the American School, and  I never really made an effort or got the chance to be exposed to some parts of  my own culture.

 Yes, I have heard of shaved ice before and I’m sure I’ve seen a similar version in the States as well, but no, I had never heard of “gola ganda”, which is apparently very popular in Pakistan. For those who don’t know, gola ganda is an assortment of colored syrups poured over shaved ice, which is usually bright colored and fruit flavored, and is enjoyed as a summer treat across Pakistan. 

This post is most definitely dedicated to Juggy, Princess MM, & Faizullah as they were both shocked and disgusted that I was unaware of gola ganda’s existence in Pakistan.  Maaf kardo, guys!



  1. HAHAHAHAHAHHA OUH, I knew you would not be able to resist telling this qissah! Now complete your research by eating one next time in Pakistan. Make sure to get it with condensed milk (Comelle) on top as well!

  2. Yum! 😀

    And to tell you the truth, I’m a little shocked too! Also, condensed milk is a MUST! 🙂

  3. I knew this stuff existed, just never got round to it. The Dad’s a bit of a hygiene freak so used to take us to some boring uncle’s ”saaf sutthrah”Faluda and Rasmalai place in Pindi instead, when we were little. Thanks for reminding me, will be sure to try one next time I’m there!
    Hate Faludah! Hate Hate!!

  4. Faluda is the most disgusting food item on the face of this earth.

  5. Funny you mentioned that as Juggy had said “please tell me you know what kulfi and falooda is” that same night and I admitted that I knew it but am not a big fan of falooda either!

    Supe, what faluda and rasmalai place? Have you been to Jamil Sweets? It’s in Saddar, Murree Road, and they opened one up in Islamabad now. It is by far the best place in Pakistan!

  6. I second that comment..Jamil Sweets is the place to go (two brothers, they have another shop called Rasheed sweets as well). Especailly in the cooler/winter months, they have warm gulab jamun. They are to die for. Probably the best you have ever eaten. But they only offer those in winter.

  7. In all fairness, I don’t know the name of the road, we weren’t local to Pindi, it used to be like a weekly/fortnightly trip my dad used to do and he’d take us there. It was called ‘Amin’s’ or something and near a main road leading towards Moti Bazaar and there’s an old Hindu temple around there? We went a few years ago and it was no longer there, just some dusty old trinkets/fake plastic flowers shop in its place.

    Never tried the faluda there, it had bits of tapioca (tadpoles) swimming around in it, blurgh!! The rasmalai and the firni were absolutely awesome though, with bits of silverleaf! 🙂

    Sorry that was an absolutely pointless comment. And I want Gola Ganda!

  8. i actually thought that was rather cute 🙂
    s am assuming you tried it then? and what did you think?
    although i love that its a cultural thing- i personally cant have it- too sweet and colourful if you know what i mean.
    i suppose a slush would be the sedate western version?

  9. A 10-rupee gola comprising of ice, 5 various colored syrups, green cardamom juice, condensed milk, falooda vermicelli and last but not least sweet basil – just a mouth watering treat.

  10. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT GOLA GANDAS ARE???? I AM IN SHOCK RIGHT NOW. When you go to Karachi, please go to Dhoraji and eat at Uncle Gola.. mmmmm
    Maybe it’s a karachi thing 😉

  11. Condensed milk is a must! You can even ask for an extra box and pour it in as you eat.. haha

  12. Princess MM · · Reply

    OUH, now we MUST take you for gola ganda when you are here!!
    (Get ready for a potentially upset tummy too)

  13. I love gola ganda…….:)

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