Christmas in Karachi with Misquita Bakery – Rich Plum Cakes, Creme Caramel and Chocolate Mousse
Famously popular for its hot cross buns during Easter, Saddar’s Misquita Bakery is the only bakery in Pakistan that offers the widest array of traditional Christmas bakes. As the countdown to Christmas begins, we feature the story of Misquita bakery as a tribute to the significant and progressive role it has played in providing comfort, love and apnaaiyat to the Christian community in Karachi, making Pakistan a home for everyone irrespective of color, cast and religion.
Misquita Bakery was originally located at main Daudpota Road. It was first set up by a Christian named Joseph C. Misquita. Subsequent to Joesph’s death, his wife took over the bakery and managed it for sometime. However, soon after, due to old age and some other factors, she outsourced the management to a third party. Unfortunately that didn’t last long and eventually the bakery closed down.
Syed Mohd. Asif Zaidi had worked as an employee at Misquita for many years. he was not only involved with the operations, but also held a sentimental attachment with the bakery. He therefore approached Mrs. Misquita and requested her to let him run the bakery. She agreed upon the condition that the land remains the property of the Misquita family and Asif’s family will vacate the premises whenever they are asked to do so.
With this arrangement in order, Asif restarted the bakery. This was an uphill task in itself as he had access to a limited budget and resources. Since they didn’t have enough cash flow to stock extra ingredients, they would only bake as much as they could afford to buy. In order to increase sales and generate more orders, Syed Asif looked towards hospital and school canteens and began supplying to them. He would commute on his bicycle from one place to another in order to find a market for his baked goods. Many years of hard work has borne fruit today as Misquita bakery is now a well-known, well-loved and familiar name amongst Karachi’s Christian community.
Syed Haider Abbas Zaidi, son of Syed Mohd. Asif Zaidi, currently runs the bakery. He proudly shares his customer remarks:
“We are Extremely proud and thankful to Allah, when our Christian customers visit the bakery, they ask us: Whats new this year?”
Asif and his family shared a strong affinity with Mrs. Misquita, so much so, that her funeral arrangements were carried out by Asif’s family according to Christian customs and tradition. Mrs. Misquita was survived by one son (one had already passed away before she died). This son was a special-needs child and he lived with Asif’s family after his mother passed away. He was also looked after by the Haider family till his death. Subsequently, the Misquita family’s grandsons requested the Haider family to vacate the premises. This they agreed to do after being granted a notice period of 6 months, during which time, they looked for a new location. They took permission from the grandsons to continue using their name – Misquita.
Last year, the Misquita Bakery launched Truffles and Coco Shells among a few other new offerings. They have on offer, a sumptuous variety of Christmas goodies fit for the season. The hottest seasonal bakes are the Rich Plum Cake and the Creme Caramel.
The bakery doesn’t entertain orders as they cannot manage the volume due to the high seasonal demand during Christmas.
Syed Haider Abbas Zaidi, who joined his father at the bakery after his graduation in 1996 recalls a proud moment.
5 to 6 years ago we introduced new baked goods and better packaging for our products. At that time, a customer paid us a compliment that really touched me deeply and gave me great inspiration. On trying the Chocolate Mousse and Creme Caramel, the customer liked it so much that he remarked, Misquita will go places (Misquita bohat oopar jaye gi).
So if you’re in Karachi over Christmas, or planning to visit your Christian friends and wondering what to take with you, Haider tells us that the Almond Toffee and Rich Plum Cake are the season’s favourites. The Rich Plum Cakes are also distributed during Christian weddings just like we distribute dry dates (Chuwaray) at the Nikaah.
Today Misquita bakery is synonymous with the name Syed Asif and Syed Haider, two Muslims who run a bakery that was originally founded by a Christian owner, and who without a doubt in their minds, have continued to serve this community with dedication, a spirit of harmony and true love. Yes – this also happens in Pakistan.
If you’re looking for the Ultimate Chocolate Tart, this is the recipe you need. Our Festive Season Bakes and Recipes bring you the best of the season. Try them in December and bring something NEW to your table!
About Rabia Mughni
Rabia stays involved in various social causes. Believing in creating equal opportunities for underprivileged kids, she helps The Citizens’ Foundation, Pakistan, to create awareness of the need for providing quality education to children. At the same time, she is also involved with Singapore-based VWO, 4PM's Ramadan on Wheels project by supporting it through the FUCHSIA platform. At FUCHSIA, Rabia oversees the Marketing and Public Relations work. She is also part of the Editing Team in conceptualising articles and monthly issues.