Wonder of the Karachiite World

Slims. Just one look at a shiny packet of Slims can make you instantly forget whether you have a bad throat, have just eaten a four course meal or were screamed at by your mother a day ago for all the Slims she found on the carpet while cleaning it. What are these Slims, you might ask, if you’ve never been initiated to their wonderfulness. Slims are chili chips, named so for their size. They’re made from potatoes – cut into tiny rectangles, flavored with chilies and fried in oil; these chips have been a source of delight for children and grownups alike in Karachi for more than a decade now.

Everyone who grew up in the 90s has a story about Slims – of hoarding them from school cafeterias (which would, inexplicably, have the best Slims), of taking plentiful supplies in case you were going abroad where Slims were nowhere to be found, and of eating them as breakfast, much to the chagrin of parents who could never understand just what was SO great about them.

There is something wonderfully addictive about these chips. I remember my sister once telling me that there had to be an addictive drug they used in it to hook children. Conspiracy theories aside, these chips are akin to fire in taste, and can only be consumed with a plentiful supply of ice-cold water or Coke/Pepsi. You cannot just eat a handful – a packet at the very least is necessary to completely satisfy your desire for this chili wonder of the Karachiite’s world.

Slims have had their share of newsprint, there have been a number of articles printed in the local press about them, they have an Orkut community to their name, and they even made their way to a Kamila Shamsie novel, who wrote about them in Salt and Saffron:

“I crushed the packet between my palms and shook it vigorously to ensure an even distribution of masala. I once asked Masood if he could make chilli chips that tasted like the ones in the packet. He bit into the chilli-red potato stick I proferred him, and looked pained. ‘Would you have asked Ghalib to write a letter to the telephone company for you?'”

Today, Slims are available in large rectangle packets, and at supermarkets you will often find Slims lovers scanning aisles to see if Slims have arrived, and checking every packet to see if they’re crunchy or not (a sign of Slims’ freshness). What adds to their uniqueness is the fact that these chips are only available widely in Karachi, and hence are on the top of the list of must-haves of every Karachiite returning to the city from abroad or elsewhere in Pakistan. Though I hear that they are now available at LUMS in Lahore, Slims remain, a symbol of all things Karachi.

13 Comments so far

  1. Jon (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 1:30 pm

    Slims RULE !!!

    I miss eating them now that I’m no longer in Khi :( :( :(

  2. Anathema (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 3:08 pm

    This…is…one….excellent…post!!!! *tre claps and cheers*. Publish this somewhere.

  3. nausheen (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

    :D:D *sigh* they’re available at lums but at like double the prices…because they’re …*imported* from karachi! :| what’s more…lahoris didn’t KNOW what slims were! blasphemy! :s

  4. misha (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

    Aw crap, now you’ve gone and reminded me of that lemony spict taste right at the end of the packets. Must… find… slims!

  5. misha (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

    Aw crap, now you’ve gone and reminded me of that lemon-spicy taste right at the end of the packets. Must… find… slims!

  6. Hira (unregistered) on July 3rd, 2005 @ 8:02 pm

    slimsss :'(

  7. Abbas Halai (unregistered) on July 4th, 2005 @ 7:43 pm

    actually you can get them at all the desi stores in toronto now pretty easily.

  8. zEro_pk (unregistered) on July 6th, 2005 @ 8:28 am

    yaar, i have been living in Isb for now 11 years and Slims is one thing that we still dont get here, neither have I touched a single packet in that time. How miserable can I be!?!??!? :[

  9. Aman (unregistered) on November 10th, 2005 @ 2:00 pm

    I want slims!!!!!! Any importers here in Singapore???

  10. Ami (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 4:07 am

    I love slims! My pakistani dormmate in college got me hooked. I dont find them around that often though

  11. jumana (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    Aman, have u tried checking Mustafa Centre at serangoon road?

    evytime i want to eat desi food, i head down to mustafa centre…hehe

  12. Erum (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    Aman & Jumana,

    Slims are sadly not available at Mustafa! However, i still have one pack left out of the many that i brought from khi on my last trip. let me know if u need it .. or else it’ll disappear very soon!

    Btw, you might wanna post something on Chilli Milli .. dont know how many of you tried it, but im simply hooked onto them! anybody??

  13. zain (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

    SLIMS RULE! Hey one thing, whats the story of Slims @ Rs. 4/pack and Rs. 5/pack??? Which one is original. Shopkeepers say the one that has mobile number printed is real..

    Whats the deal? Anyeone?

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