Category Archives: food

‘This is a Jihad’: Ayesha Mumtaz on bringing to heel Lahore’s restaurant ‘mafia’

This article was originally posted in Newsweek

Benazir Shah

Ayesha Mumtaz2

No one seems particularly shocked when the notorious Ayesha Mumtaz arrives for a surprise inspection of a roadside barbeque joint in Lahore’s Johar Town. Surrounded by three food safety officers and one Elite Force guard, she sweeps into the kitchen and immediately hones in on the stove—which is set up next to an open sewer. “You couldn’t find a better place to cook?” she asks a worker. “Where is the owner?”

A burly man, at least a foot taller than Mumtaz, steps forward and in a guarded tone tells her the concrete slab covering the gutter is broken. An accompanying waiter chimes in by claiming it will be fixed tomorrow. She cuts him off. “I did not ask you.” Moving deeper into the “kitchen”, Mumtaz orders the owner to open the freezer. Her face narrows in anger. Using her cellphone, she photographs all visible violations—a dirty freezer, no soap at sinks, poor hygiene of food handlers, improper storage of meat and dairy, proximity to sewage.

At least 50 people—customers and employees alike—are now watching the proceedings, following the 38-year-old civil servant’s every move. Playing to her audience, Mumtaz scolds the owner: “If your patrons knew what you were feeding them, they wouldn’t even spit on your food.” Finding that he has no food license, Mumtaz’s staff shutters the business. Pointing at his serving tables, which encroach on public space, she jokes with her team: “He should thank his stars I’m not in the City District Government anymore, or I would’ve bulldozed this place.” It’s unlikely the demolition would’ve gone any faster than Mumtaz’s incursion; she inspected, documented and shut down the restaurant within 28 minutes. Continue reading

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PFA seizes pork meat being ‘supplied to Lahore markets’

pork

LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority on Wednesday claimed to have seized several kilograms of pork meat being supplied to Lahore and different parts of the province.

In a raid carried out near the Lahore Railway station, the authority also arrested a suspect transporting the banned meat from Rawalpindi. The meat was found inside large drums loaded on a train.

“It is being supplied to Lahore and then it is further sent to chains and restaurants where edible food is prepared,” Ayesha Mumtaz, DG Operations of the Punjab Food Authority, told Geo News.

The suspect said he was taking the meat to a factory in Sheikhpura where he believed they used it to produce some kind of chemical.

Also read: Huge quantity of meat of dead horses, donkeys recovered in Lahore

But Mumtaz claimed the suspect was a member of a gang involved in supplying pork meat to different restaurants and food chains of Lahore and surrounding areas for consumption. The food authority official said that the supply of the banned meat was being carried out illegally for a long time on train.

She said that samples of the meat will be sent for DNA tests.

“We will carry out proper DNA testing of this meat and will take legal action against this suspect. We believe that this is an elaborate mafia, a chain and a vicious circle,” she said.

Consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam and banned in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the reports of pork being supplied to parts of Punjab, and ordered authorities to submit a report in this regard.

This article was originally published here

Top 10 restaurants in Lahore: Where to eat in 2015

This article was originally posted on Dawn

By Foha Raza
lahore1

Clockwise from top: Mouthful, Pompei, Lakhnavi, Tiramisu.

A city that boasts of history and tradition, Lahore is also a paradise for food lovers. From the simmering rich, spicy curries in Food Street to classic fine dining, Lahore has so much to offer that one might struggle to find something they don’t like.

Over the years, the city has become synonymous with dining out in style. And so, as the new year rolls in swinging, here’s our list of the top 10 restaurants to try in 2015 in Lahore and the reasons to do so:

Cosa Nostra, La Tavola

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Costa Nostra. – Photo courtesy: Kfoods.com

Anyone living in Lahore has been to Cosa Nostra numerous times and probably knows the menu by heart. However, one of the most coveted restaurants in town now has a new and revamped menu in their La Tavola section that deserves to be tried.

The Lahore Social

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The Lahore Social. – Photo courtesy: Official Facebook Page

Located in the dead centre of the city, The Lahore Social is a fancy, new place to try this year. It has a comfortable ambiance, a diverse menu and is a definite fine dining gem.

Continue reading

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

Walking Through History | The Walled City of Lahore

Saira A Nizami

The Old City, or the Walled City of Lahore is in the northwestern part of Lahore, Punjab. The visitor is given access to the city by 13 gates, few of them being Bhati Gate, Lahori Gate and Roshnai Gate.

As he visits the Walled City, Razi Rumi shares these rich moments and his thoughts while walking through streets of Lahore:

FortMughal architecture: Lahore Fort’s beautiful wall with original frescoes. Has survived amid history’s atrocities and government’s negligence.

Faqir Khana Museum

Lahore’s heritage: Inside the Faqir Khana Museum, Bhatti Gate. Some of the carpets are from the Emperor Shah Jahan’s era.

Haveli Naunehal Singh

Imagine living in a room with such amazing frescos – A hidden corner of Haveli Naunehal Singh, walled city of Lahore.

Balcony

Wouldn’t you love to have balcony like this? Spotted in walled city Lahore.

Little Girl in Hijab

Met this young girl in walled city Lahore last week.

Wall

Unfortunate graffiti on one of the 17th century walls of Lahore fort. However there is a guy out there who loves US.

Twinkle School

Twinkle Scholar (private) school has great advertising. Also shows what is valued as success.

School in walled city

Clever combination of modern and traditional education: Madrassa Safeena-tul Quran.

Spices

Ready for artwork? Look again, these are walled city Lahore’s colorful spices

Victoria School

A majestic structure that survives the vagaries of time .With those breathtaking frescos — Haveli Nonehal Singh, Lahore

Victoria School2

A hidden jewel in the densely populated walled city of #Lahore. Haveli Nonehal Singh, Victoria School since 150 years.

GraveStone

When I was procuring old plates, saw this too. The guy got the sign made and only 22 years later had to leave Lahore.

Colonial Plate

A spode plate – India Tree- found in the rubble of Lahore‘s colonial past.

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

Subway gets ripped off

“copyright violation? What? You are say there is similarly named and branded restaurant in the Amricka? Lies! We picked very original graphic design and branding.

No YOU tell them that THEY are copying US”

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

Lahore delicacies: Tawa gurda kapoora – aka Taka tak

Aqeel Ahmad

While the world is talking about the weirdness of  Beijing style food, I thought of highlighting the position of Lahori food on the chart of bizarreness. I am sure it stands somewhere in the top 10. So here we go:
Roughly translated, Tawa gurda kapoora means kidneys and testicles in a large frying pan. To avoid the embarrassment of associating such words with food, most of us now call it Taka tak. It refers to the sound made by the skillful chef while frying these organs and hitting the pan with two sharp slicers in a captivating rythm. He keeps slicing and frying them until the kapooray (testicles), gurday (kidneys), dil (heart), maghaz (brain) and chaampain (ribs) become a homogeneous mixture of meat and thick masala curry. You can make your pick and choose which parts to include in your serving. It is DELICIOUS. Continue reading

Buying flour in Lahore

LAHORE: People jostle each other while trying to buy sacks of flour at a Ramazan Bazaar on Wednesday. abid nawaz

Jamans in Lahore

Now that the Jamans are disappearing from the trees and streets, it is time to remember them and wait for the next monsoon for their arrival.

Lahore’s culinary feast: Phajjay ke Paye

Fazal e Haq – aka Phajjay ke Paye by Aqeel Ahmed

Here is a review of Fazl e Haq (nicked as Phajja) chain of restaurants. Now this is truly authentic Lahori taste we are talking about. Not even the neighbouring cities of Lahore have been found to be that keen about Paye (feet) or Siri (heads) of goats. It sounds gross, doesn’t it? But then again, this is us .. Lahories .. and you have already read about us eating goat testicles.


Fazl e Haq or Mr. Phajja was perhaps the first person who commercialized the idea by coming up with a Paye specialty restaurant in Hira Mandi, the Red light district (Taxali gate) named as Phajjay ke Paye. People would (and still) flock to this place every morning and wait in queues to have a breakfast of sticky and rubbery meat of goat feet. The Siri on the other hand is not a breakfast item. A typical Siri meal is accompanied by assortments like Maghaz (brain), Zuban (tongue) and Khad (Jawbone) – everything cooked of course. You eat it with Roti or Kulcha. Another reason for having started his venture in the red light district of Lahore was perhaps the purportedly aphrodisiac nature of these meals. Aphrodisiac or not, they are rich in cholesterol for sure. Continue reading

Lahore’s Defence Club has much to offer

“A welcome addition – A club that offers Moroccan, Mediterranean, Thai and Chinese besides local food”, writes Ali Sultan for the NEWS on SUNDAY.”

It’s a hot summer night as we enter the Coffee Shop of Defence Club. Set amidst, a large lush green lawn and overlooking the tennis courts, it’s a welcome addition to the eateries of the Defence Club.

The Coffee Shop’s decor is warm, comfortable and elegant. The cafe is nicely lit; the lights bounce off the wooden floor and illuminate everything in a soft glow. It’s crowded and people, mostly families sit either around small glass tables with wrought iron seats or the couches set in the middle of the place.

The coffee bar is housed in a large cabinet and trained baristas prepare a variety of coffee drinks, made from gourmet South African beans. The cold coffee is not extremely sweet, its cold enough and the tongue can feel a bit of bitterness — the flavour is just right. The Coffee Shop also hosts an assortment — like all other cafes — cakes, brownies, cookies, tarts and hand-made ice cream. What it does have and others don’t, is a Middle Eastern sweet (which looks like a carrot cake) known as a ‘basboosa.’ It’s quite popular and should be tasted, at least once. Continue reading

Lahore goes green – Roshni’s German-style bread is growing popular

Rina Saeed Khan writing for the Friday Times, Lahore

Roshni’s German-style bread is growing in popularity in Lahore

As the demand for pesticide-free fruits and vegetables has spiked in Pakistan over the last few years, organic farmers have seen a boom in interest. In organic farming, vegetables and fruit (and wheat, rice etc.) are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Organic farmers rely instead on crop rotation, integrated pest management, crop residues and animal manure to maintain soil productivity and to control pests and weeds. The stated aim of organic farming is to “sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms from the smallest in the soil to human beings.”

Organic farming relies on the earth’s natural resources to grow and process food. It is not a new concept – before the use of agro-chemicals became popular, this is how our forefathers grew their own food!

 With this humble beginning we want to highlight the idea of organic farming and environment friendly lifestyle and make organic products available to you,” said the notice inside the newly opened Roshni Organic Shop opposite Shapes Gym in Lahore’s Gulberg area. For years now, Lahoris have been feasting on Roshni bread, the delicious and healthy wholegrain bread, made by the Roshni Organic Bakery. The various kinds of Roshni bread (linseed, rye flake, plain, toast) are sold in different outlets throughout Lahore and are made from natural ingredients grown by organic farmers. The small and simply decorated Roshni shop now offers these breads along with other bakery items like quiches, cupcakes and pastries. The shop also offers other organic food items like fresh vegetables, dry fruit, herbal teas, natural oils, sugar, rice and cereals. It is a treat for all those who are concerned about their health and the environment. 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. “