Thursday, October 7, 2010

The nostalgic eateries of Lahore

Not for many reasons, my family finally decided to settle in Islamabad, specially its rather friendly weather. But this could not take away my longing and love for Lahore – a city where I was born and grew up as a young man. The nostalgia of those roads, bazaars and places that I once walked thus always takes me back to Lahore every couple of months. And I find myself young again amid friendly and familiar environs. I try to foot the places which were once my usual routes to my school and later the college. I would save on the money given to me as bus fare to eat whatever came my way, and I enjoyed both the walking and eating.

The last weekend again took me back to Lahore to attend wedding of a friend’s daughter. And this gave me yet another opportunity to find out new eateries specific to Lahore. In fact, you don’t have to find places to eat, as every corner of Lahore has some specialty that one cannot resist to devour. For sophisticated and the rich, MM Alam Road in Gulberg has dozens of restaurants offering variety of packages to choose from. Here one can find all sorts of traditional, European and Chinese cuisines prepared to suit the local tastes, beside the much liked burgers by the young. The environment created by some suit the kind of food being served.

As for very indigenous foods, there is no dearth. Mozang, Main Market (Gulberg), Wahdat Road, Gawalmandi, Lakhshami Chowk, Anarkali and Gari Shaoo are some of the areas where hot, spicy and sizzling food is available till very late at night. Cuckoo’s Den near the Lahore’s Badshahi Mosque is yet another place where one can enjoy innovative food, coupled with the view of old Lahore, the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque.

My sons are equally fond of visiting such places with me and enjoy eating the food more or less the Lahori way. Remember, in one of my previous posts, the Lahorites eat KHABAS not merely Khana. You go to someone’s place and you will be entertained with whatever is available in the kitchen. And you would eat as you normally do, probably a little overeating as well. But when you think that all is over, the host would announce, “Let us go out and EAT.” Appalled of this revelation, and despite your pleadings that you had had enough at his place already, you will be taken to any of the areas mentioned above. And when the order would be placed, you would almost turn pale, as no one in his right mindset would be eating all that which would have been just ordered. This is when Khana becomes Khaba. So when going to Lahore, have a heart of a Lahori lest you are caught off guard. And don’t forget to drink a full glass of ice cold “Lassi” after the dinner, in one gulp called “deek” in local language.

This time, after a nice and decent dinner amid pleasant environment of MM Alam Road, I took my family to Wahdat Road for some real stuff. And before I could locate any real place, my sons’ eyes fell on Shahi Pathoorays and I was told to stop. We ordered two plates initially, but then there was no ending. Each plate had two Pathoorays, and we ordered God knows how many. But the crispy fresh from the oven heavily oiled Pathoorays with spicy chickpeas and pickle were heavenly tasty. You have to eat these to know the taste.

Next time, I will take them to Mozang for Qeemay walay Parathay (greasy breads stuffed with minced meat) eaten with curd. And when winters come, I may take them to Garhi Shahoo for one of the best fried fish in Lahore. Just the mention of all this makes me hungry and forces me t go to kitchen to find something for munching. A true Lahori has his appetite never quenched.

Related Reading: Khana, Khaba and Eateries of Lahore


Shirazi said...

You remind me of so much by writing this post. Next time come with some time at your disposal and let us explore them together.

Jalal HB said...

You bet. But remember I am a born Lahorite.....

Shirazi said...

Ok, you will lead and take me to a place that offers best pathore

Anonymous said...

I think one thing I miss most is Halwa Puri. It's over 30 years that I have tasted it. For some reason I never found it anywhere here even though there are practically thousands (no exaggeration) of Indian/Paki restaurants here.

--- MK