Pakistani cuisine can be described as a distinguished blend of various regional cooking traditions of the South Asian subcontinent. Pakistani cuisine is known for its richness, sumptuousness and flavour. Although it has been influenced by Arab, Persian, and Indian Cuisine, it retains its own distinct Pakistani flavor and essence.
At its simplest, Pakistani cooking today consists of staple foods which are cheap and abundant. Wheat and other flour products is the mainstay of the diet, one familiar form being chapatti or unleavened bread. This is made with dough prepared from whole wheat flour.
From the earliest times, the imaginative - and sometimes heavy - use of spices, herbs, seeds, and flavorings and seasonings have helped cooks transform rather ordinary staple foods into an exotic cuisine. Some of the most common of these in wide use in Pakistan today are chilli powder, turmeric, garlic, paprika, black pepper, red pepper, cumin seed, bay leaf, coriander, cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, mace, nutmeg, poppy seeds, aniseed, almonds, pistachios, and yogurt.

 Their use in a wide range of pickles, chutneys, preserves, and sauces, together with curries of all descriptions and special treatment for meats, sea, food, vegetables and lentils, gives Pakistani cooking much of its idiosyncratic character.
Within Pakistan, cuisine varies greatly from region to region, reflecting the country's ethnic and cultural diversity. Food from the southern provinces of Sindh and the Punjab, as well as the Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir region, is quite similar to the cuisine of Northern India and can be highly seasoned and spicy, which is characteristic of the flavors of the South Asian region. Food in other parts of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, involves the use of mild aromatic spices and less oil, characterizing affinities to the cuisine of neighbouring Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia.

Pakistani cuisine has greatly evolved over time and has been influenced by various diverse factors. Cultural influences, whether religious precepts, practices, and ceremonies or local traditions, or even esthetic preferences, have made their contribution toward the growth of Pakistani cuisine.
The spread of Islam to what is now Pakistan, starting in the Eighth Century, has given a basic character to the food of the people. The Quranic injunctions against eating pork or drinking alcoholic beverages have channeled tastes and appetites in other directions. Lamb, beef, chicken and fish are basic foods, although their consumption by persons of low income is modest and often ceremonial.
Some of the Muslim feasts involve special dishes. Eid-ul-Adha, which commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to obey God even to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son, is observed by the sacrifice of a goat, a lamb, or a cow from which special dishes are made.

 On Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Islamic Calendar, and is a time of feasting and celebrations, the serving of special desserts like vermicelli, kheer, sheer khurma and many others, cooked in milk is a must. Almond and pistachios are added as decorations as is the silver foil.
Another major influence in the development of Pakistani cookery was the establishment of the Mogul Empire starting in 1526. The opulent tastes exhibited by such Emperors as Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb in art, architecture, music, dance, and jewelry was also extended to food.
 A style of cookery called Moghlai evolved at the Mogul court and even today it remains centered in Lahore. Some latter-day and widely known survivors of court cookery are, for example, chicken tandoori, murgh musallu and shahi tukray. Perhaps the ultimate Moghul cuisine was reached when the imperial chefs perfected the recipes for desserts made from ginger and garlic. Ginger and garlic puddings are still made in some homes for truly special occasions. Fruit drinks, squeezed from pomegranates, apples, melons, and mangoes, and called sherbat, and are an important part of the Moghlai cuisine and, indeed, the inspiration for American "sherberts." They are very much in use today as well, in Pakistan, especially in summers.
 Ceremonial occasions such as weddings have inspired a number of fancy dishes. A traditional dish at marriage feasts, for example, is chicken curry with either pulao or biryani. Firni, made from cream of rice and milk, is an equally traditional wedding dessert. It is served in clay saucers topped by silver foil. At Zoroastrian (Parsi) weddings, which are not frequent because so few followers of this ancient Iranian religion live in Pakistan, a special fish dish is served. This is patrani machchi, consisting of sole, plaice, or a local fish called pomfret, wrapped in banana leaves, steamed or fried, and then baked slowly.

 International cuisine and fast food are popular in cities. Food in Islamabad and other Pakistani tourist resorts is not restricted to traditional Pakistani delights. Cuisine from all over the world can be found in Pakistan, including Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other international tastes. Fast food chains are rising in popularity due to convenience and their family oriented style.

 Blending local and foreign recipes (fusion food) such as Pakistani Chinese, is widespread in large urban centres. Furthermore, as a result of lifestyle changes, ready made masalas (mixed and ready to use spices) are becoming increasingly popular. However, given the diversity of the people of Pakistan, cuisines generally differ from home to home and may be totally different than the mainstream Pakistani cuisine.
Eating in Pakistan is, thus an exciting and rich experience which has great religious, ethnic and cultural significance and depth attached to it.