Tag Archives: food

Lahori Samosa

Pervaiz Alvi

(TOP) Sheikh Lateef, the owner of the shop, is seen frying Samosas while the other picture is of a worker preparing the triangular delight. — Photos by Khurram Amin

(TOP) Sheikh Lateef, the owner of the shop, is seen frying Samosas while the other picture is of a worker preparing the triangular delight.

RAWALPINDI: If you ask any resident of Rawalpindi about the best Samosa outlet in the town, the Lahori Samosa Shop at College Road will come as the reply.
A few yards away from the historic Liaquat Bagh, there is a road on the rear of the Government Gordon College.
The road houses China Market and famous food outlets, including samosa shops, Kashmiri tea vendors, Tikka houses and stalls selling fried sparrows and many others.
A visit to the area shows workers busy in preparing and serving different items and consumers waiting to get their orders.
Fast food is very popular in the city but people still like the samosas, the eastern delight, with evening tea with their families and guests.
The Lahori samosa is very simple but delicious. It is made with potatoes and served with sweet chutney and chickpeas with fewer spices which made the flavour more exotic. In the winter, people enjoy the samosa with Kashmiri tea while in summer the almond flavoured milk is available with it.
Maintaining its quality for the last 48 years, Lahori Samosa Shop remains the favorite place for most of the people in the twin cities.
Shops opened in adjoining areas with this name have failed to match its quality as the old chef never let out his secret recipe to others.
A large number of people, including college students, shopkeepers and women visitors to Raja Bazaar and China Market, are seen either sitting outside the shop or in their cars on the roadside enjoying the delicious plates. Continue reading

Foodistan (Lahore, Pakistan)

Irfan Rydhan

Recently, I came back from a month long trip to Lahore – the culinary capital of Pakistan.

Lahore, has a wide variety of cuisine, from fancy upscale Italian restaurants to the simple Pakistani village food and everything in between.

A few tips for those of you who may be traveling to Pakistan soon:

1. Get Your Shots – Before you Travel (Currently Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Malaria are the main diseases in Pakistan)

2. Don’t Drink The Water – unless it’s Bottled and Sealed (Nestle PureLife is the most reliable brand)

3. Don’t Eat Street Food – unless it is fried up, steaming hot, or cooked well done!  Avoid eating anything cold or something made with water.

If you follow those 3 simple rules, you should be fine and not get sick!

Below is a short slideshow of my trip through “Foodistan” aka Lahore this past February.  I hope you enjoy the pictures, as much as I enjoyed eating all the delicious food:)!

Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village)
Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village) Continue reading

Destruction of Lahore’s famous food street

A Gul’s article for The Friday Times published this week. Credits, copyrights for photos and text remain with TFT

Gawalmandi food street at night

The ruins of an entrance to the Gawalmandi food street

The flow of traffic through the demolished gates of food street

Banners proclaiming an alternative perspective

Food street offered outdoor desi cuisine amidst the elegant colonial architecture

Once standing, these mini-towers quickly became one of the cultural symbols of Lahore

I recalled the evenings that I spent ordering mouth watering kababs, tikkas, fried fish and other desi delights at night. Also rampant were the thoughts of halwa-puri, til wale naan and murgh chanay that are cherished by Lahoris. But then I saw the damaged entrance to the food street and while I was entering, my hunger temporarily vanished

Although the issue of Gawalmandi food street is local, it does lead to broader questions. In the greater scheme of things, we must think about where we are headed in terms of our cultural identity

The decline and ruination of heritage in Pakistan by the callous state is a well known story. This is a common ailment that afflicts the planners and developers across South Asia where architectural legacy of a thousand years is being decimated and commercialization has a free reign in urban contexts. A departure from this trend occurred when a well known, controversial yet engaged civil servant turned around Lahore’s cultural life by introducing the concept of pedestrian food streets and adorning the vibrant canal that runs across Lahore with a green lifeline. We witnessed the endearingly kitschy floats representing the various sub-cultures of Pakistan and in the late-nineties a busy street was turned into a pedestrian space where the legendary cuisine of Lahore was showcased for its urban residence and the tourists alike.

The adjoining old buildings mostly dating from the colonial era were restored with tasteful facelifts. Art students and designers were duly involved in this process. This was perhaps the saving grace of an otherwise vulgar promotion of the khaba culture. For years this became a modern landmark of sorts. Tales of the first Gawalmandi food street spread across the globe and every visitor wanted to be there. It brought a glimpse of the erstwhile, pedestrian pre-partition city with choicest Lahori food delicacies.

Other cities were green of such a popular entertainment enclave. People from Karachi would often cite this as a model to follow. Islamabad emulated this at the Melody Market.

And all of a sudden in an oppressively hot summer of 2009, we discovered that Gawalmandi food street has been undone for a mix of political pressure, administrative negligence and sheer indifference to culture. Why are we so eager to destroy what adds to cultural value of our fledgling society. If anything, we ought to preserve these little signs of renewal and regeneration.

The apparent excuse for altering the pedestrian nature of the food street was to lay sewer pipeline. It seems like a typical bureaucratic shenanigan whereby some sort of ‘development’ is cited as reason good enough to damage environment or heritage. If a public utility had to be extended to this area, there must have been multiple other ways to manage this process. The lock stock and barrel razing of the place belies this claim.

The heart of the matter pertains to the local politics and wrangling that goes on unabated in Pakistan. Yet the mainstream media has not even bothered to report this matter in its full light save a few newspapers and may be one television channel. On a side note, what does this imply regarding the purported freedom of the media? Is it the case that media in unconcerned about civic issues and only focused on palace intrigues and glorification of unelected arms of the state? A trivial issue like a cultural emblem of subcontinent’s most talk about city is nothing but a footnote of the corporate media interests. I asked to myself, why shouldn’t a pedestrian culture get any attention? With these thoughts and others, I entered the Gawalmandi food street on a humid morning of Lahore’s stifling August. There was a traffic flow that could easily drive you nuts with loud glaring horns, usual feature of old Lahore’s environment. Amidst such loud horns, I was about to enter into the food street.

I recalled the evenings that I spent ordering mouth watering kababs, tikke, fried fish and other desi delights at night. Also rampant were the thoughts of halwa-puri, til wale naan and murgh chanay that are cherished by Lahoris. But then I saw the damaged entrance to the food street and while I was entering, my hunger temporarily vanished.

Before it was virtually halted, one would go to the food street, find a proper place to sit, chit chat with one’s companions, order desi delights, enjoy the meal under the grandeur of old colonial architecture and have a full fledged Lahori evening.

But recently the food street has been dogged by a controversy. The food street can be properly functional only when the eateries can provide outdoor seating so as to attract people who want to enjoy desi food under a starry sky. But presently the street has been opened up for traffic round the clock and people can only have their food within the premises of the dhabas. This has two major ramifications. One, the people whose livelihood depended on the sale of food will suffer since the pre-partition, old world setting has been a major attraction for people to visit food street in the first place. Secondly, within the larger picture, this step will lead to the destruction of an important cultural symbol of Lahore.

Not only did Lahoris enjoy visiting the food street, its popularity also attracted national and foreign tourists. A local shopkeeper who has now been working for over a decade in the food street mentioned this as a central recognition that food street had achieved in terms of cultural attraction.

Also important is the media coverage attracted by such places. The elegant portrayal of the pre-damage food street resulted in a non-militant peaceful outlook of mainstream Pakistan. And what is important is that unlike many other artificial attempts to glorify a peaceful ‘enlightened’ Pakistan in the past few years, the revival of the food street seemed to be very natural since it appealed to our overall lifestyle.

Although the issue of Gawalmandi food street is local, it does lead towards larger questions. In the greater scheme of things, we must think about where we are headed in terms of our cultural identity. I must make it clear that unlike many ‘cultural extremists’, I do not have a worldview that revolves almost entirely around the notion of tradition. But still, culture is universal, and it is valuable. To care for one’s own culture is indispensable. But if we start to dispense with it, then we are surely on the path towards cultural oblivion, and I say this not metaphorically but literally. A vibrant culture always connects with our history and origins. Thus if we are to undo the signs of the past and neglect heritage we will never be able to understand our present.

The value of history and the preservation of diverse, colourful traditions enable societies to progress and prosper. Pakistan is not just a sixty two year old entity. We are the inheritors of great civilizations and thousands of years of a plural, tolerant way of life. The destruction of food street and its unsung death therefore saddens many of us. The decision makers in the Punjab must revisit this decision; protect the threatened livelihoods and the ambiance of a great city that by all accounts is shehron ka shehr

A Gul lives in Lahore. This piece was prepared with contributions from Raza Rumi

Food adulteration goes unpunished

* CDGL official says courts only imposing fines on food adulterators instead of imprisoning them 

* Former district food officer says it is mandatory to award imprisonment under Punjab Pure Food Ordinance

 By Rana Kashif

 LAHORE: Despite several meetings between the authorities concerned, no mechanism has yet been devised to award appropriate punishments to those supplying adulterated food, against whom the Food Department has issued thousands of challans in the past few years. Continue reading

A down-to-earth explanation of the current financial downturn

Sent by friend Q. Isa Daupota

(Phajja is a famous seller of siri paya and nihari in old, walled city of Lahore.)

fazl-e-haq-mutton_karahi

Phajja is the proprietor of a Siri-Paya and Nehari Shop in Lahore . Sales are low and, in order to increase them, he comes up with a plan to allow his customers to eat now and pay later. He keeps track of the meals consumed on a ledger. Continue reading

Like Lahore, Chandigarh now has its own Night Food Street

If the choicest of Punjabi dishes at Gawal Mandi in the Pakistani city of Lahore seem too far away, take heart. A similar Night Food Street has been set up closer home in Chandigarh for those who relish rich and spicy fare.
Like Lahore, Chandigarh now has its own Night Food Street
Opened over a week ago at Sector 14, it has been seeing a mad rush of people every evening after sunset, with students, families and even visitors from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh making a beeline for it.
“I went there twice last week but both the times, I couldn’t manage to get a set. It was that crowded,” said Daljit Dhillon, a resident. Continue reading

Food Street for food lovers

Associated Press of Pakistan

LAHORE: Food Street Lahore, the best place for food lovers, welcomes locales as well as tourists from far and wide. People can enjoy authentic Lahore cuisine at cheap prices.

Food Street Lahore is one of the most important attractions of the city. The wide variety of food items available in the Lahore streets remains unparalleled, a private TV channel reported.

Gawalmandi, the Food Street in Lahore, offers the best of kebabs, biriyanis and other popular Lahore food. Continue reading

Khusray ke Kabab

Eid Mubarak to all the readers. We are cross-posting another piece that explores the myriad culinary delights of Lahore.

by Aqeel Ahmad

I was as baffled to know the name of this place as you are after reading the title. For those who aren’t familiar with the word ‘Khusra’, it means a transexual. We’ll talk about the food in a bit. Let me first share my discomfort for not being able to understand the reason for having such a crude name. I’ll have to resort to guesses since nobody could tell me the real reason. Here is one: There was a chap in the waiters forum in his mid-forties (i think), he was wearing a dopatta and walking ‘that’ walk. He graced us by waiting on our table too. Perhaps it is not them (the management of this dhaba), it is the public that has named the place like this. Continue reading

Civil Secretariat ‘restoration’- British-era structures are gone

*Daily Times Reports:
LAHORE: The operation squads of the Building Department and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Monday, …, demolished 10 garages, four offices of the Motor Transport Pool and the Implementation and Co-Ordination (I&C) Block in the Civil Secretariat (CS) in order to restore the building to its ‘original’ beauty.

The garages, these days known as the Motor Transport Pool, had been constructed by the British to park official vehicles and horse carts of officers. Later, the building was converted to the transport pool and government vehicles, including those used by the chief minister, the governor and the chief secretary, were parked in it. Continue reading

In Lahore – No booze, Gulberg restaurants told

rana kashif of the Daily Times reporting:

“The Gulberg Town administration has issued notices to restaurants in Gulberg, ordering them to stop serving alcohol or allow customers to bring alcohol to restaurants. Town Municipal Officer (TMO) Ali Abbas Bukhari told Daily Times on Tuesday that several upscale restaurants in Gulberg were serving alcohol. “This is an un-Islamic practice and illegal activity.” He said that the town administration had witnessed the practice and had also received complaints about alcohol being served or brought into restaurants. He did not give the names of the restaurants, but said that notices had been served to almost all restaurants. “Either stop the practice or be ready to face the law,” he added. The subject of the notice issued states ‘Perseverance of Islamic Laws and Culture’ and ends with the signature of Gulberg Town Nazim Faraz Ahmed Chaudhry. The last paragraph of the notice reads, “It has been noticed that banned drinks are being served with food to the guests in some restaurants. Such a practice is un-Islamic, immoral and causes problems for visiting families. We appreciate your esteemed organisation for cooperating with the town administration by discouraging this practice, otherwise action under the law will be initiated.” The owners and managers of some large restaurants in Gulberg denied receiving the notice, saying that they were running their businesses under the law and were not involved in any such activity. They also said that the delivery of any such notice without proper justification would be illogical. They said that their restaurants were there to serve their customers within a legal framework. “

Lahore’s Food Street

Awais Yaqub has taken these brilliant shots of Lahore’s food street. He has quite generously shared them here at Lahore Nama.

Take a look at more magnificent images here