Street Foods, A Real 24/7 TASHAN of Lahori Life
Do you ever think why Lahore Lahore aey? There is a reason behind everything and behind this phrase, there are two things. One is zinda dilaan e Lahore (energetic people of Lahore) and the second one is outstanding and marvellous khaabay (food) of Lahore.
Either it is winter or summer or there is monsoon in Lahore, what people of Lahore want is just food. From all over the province Punjab, people came to Lahore for jobs, business and for studies as well. And so there are many who are best in making some food items, they came to Lahore to serve Lahori’s with the best of their taste.
Name one desi dish and food item which is not available in Lahore. Believe you me, there is not even a single food item. From lavish restaurants to roadside fries stall, Lahori’s are fond of food. On M.M.Alam road you can see the line of well-known food cafes and restaurants.
It is not just hunger for which people of Lahore eat, it is “MOOD” which provoke them to eat and enjoy. If you travelling first time to Pakistan and visiting Lahore it is suggested to pack your extra stuff because it could take a lot of time of yours to explore the real beauty of Pakistan and Lahore. Now, you don’t need to be worried for your extra stuff as there are many companies who offer their best services to ship your excess baggage to Pakistan in lowest possible rates. What else you want? Pack your stuff and fly to Pakistan.
Followings are few street food items which you can find in any area and any street of Lahore. But we shortlist the best food items with the best taste providers.
Katlama is most eatable and likely desi deep fried bread not only in Lahore but almost all over Pakistan as well. Man o man what a delicious food item it is. A big round dough marinated with tomato and chilli paste with different lentils and spices and fried in hot oil provide the yummiest taste.
Katlamma is considered as a poor men pizza. How big katlamma could be? Well, it could be with the diameter of four feet. A huge and fried bread in orange colour not just gives you superb taste but it is also a fun while watching workers making katlamma as well. One katlamma is quite enough for three to four persons.
There are many places in Lahore who offer you the yum food item but shops near to Data Darbar and in food street Anarkali is undoubtedly best in their work and serve Lahori’s from past many years.
Nihari is like a meal from heaven for all meat lovers. Well-cooked mouth melting beef, mutton or chicken along with spicy and yummy gravy with chopped ginger, fried onions and lemon not just sounds yum but it is really tasty also.
Nihari is now like a state level meal as it is most likely dish ever not just Punjab but in Sindh also. Not just one spot but you can find Nihari almost every area of Lahore. However, if you want to taste best Nihari you should visit Waris Nihari, Muhammadi Nihari, Haji Sahib Nihari walay, Dogar Restaurant and Monal in Lahore.
Punjab is most populated and the main province of Pakistan and Lahore is the capital of Punjab, so how it could be possible that you are in Punjab and do not taste Paratha. Paratha is a typical Punjabi stuffed desi bread.
Well, it is Lahore name an item and its Paratha is ready. Aalu wala Paratha (Potato Paratha), Qeemay wala Paratha (Minced meet Paratha), Chicken Paratha, Cheese Paratha, Anday wala Paratha (Egg Paratha), Sabzi wala Paratha (Vegetable Paratha) and there are many more.
Usually Punjabi’s like to have this heavy bread for breakfast but now it is 24/7 meal. Whenever you feel hungry you can grab a Paratha by the corner of your street or ask your mother or wife to make it for you. Normally Parathay is served with yoghurt or chatni (sauce), lassi or tea as per your like or demand.
Well if you want to eat best Lahori Paratha to Mazang. Mazang Chowk has undoubtedly the best Paratha spot all over Punjab.
Some people said that Lassi is a desi Bear. Well, I don’t know how much it is true but one thing is to confirm that Lassi is the most delicious and awesome drink you could try in your whole life.
Beaten and blended yoghurt with milk and sugar along with ice and a piece of thick cream on the foam of beaten milk and yoghurt is amazing. In Punjab, there is various type of Lassi’s like Meethi Lassi, Kachi Lassi and Chaati ki Lassi. However, milk is the basic element of all lassi’s.
Every milk shop prepares Meethi Lassi but if you want to drink the best one man you should try Feeqay di Lassi. Pure milk whisks with fresh yoghurt with sugar while fresh butter is added in a glass full of Lassi plus thick layer of cream on top. You think it’s over? You bet… here is a time for speciality, a hand full ball of sweet ricotta cheese.
In the whole procedure of making Lassi no electronic appliance is used. It is said that machines can do work in a short time but didn’t make taste. So from start to end, Lassi is prepared by hand there.
Chicken & Mutton Karahi
A spicy yummy dish made of chicken or mutton in butter with black pepper and other local spices. There is nothing special in this dish rather taste which make this dish special in its self.
There isn’t any city in the whole country who do not have a Karahi shop neither there is even a single person in the whole country who didn’t eat or don’t like Karahi. It is named after the pot wok in which it is cooked, in Urdu wok is known as Karahi. There are many ways with which this is prepared.
If you want to taste the best of the best taste of Karahi in Lahore, go to the Lakshmi Chowk Butt Karahi house. Not just Mr Butt is famous for offering a marvellous taste of meat by this dish but also there are so many others like Shaheen Shinwari, Yasir Broast, Krados, Zakir Tikka Shop, Qabail, Shahbaz Tikka house, Java Karahi house and Khyber Village. Try any of them and forget about all other taste of meat you ever try in your whole life.
Andrassay is a royal sweet bread made by plain and rice flour along with cardamom powder along with sweet ricotta cheese. Basically, city Qasur is famous for this superb traditional sweet bread but in Lahore, you can have it in so many shops. This deep fried sweet dish is nothing but such a mouth-watering crispy and yummy masterpiece ever made by chefs.
It is a traditional sweet, on occasions people love to eat this fried sweet bread.
Hareesa is a yummiest and most delicious dish I ever eat in my whole life. Basically, it is an Arabian dish. Making Hareesa is not so difficult but not everybody’s job as well. It requires a lot of technicality and expertise as you have to make soup for Hareesa first and then grind and crush boil sirloin meat of lamb by hand in mortar & pestle.
Then fresh wheat, rice, lentils and onion, garlic is cooked and mixed in the soup and meat of sirloin lamb meat. Well, what kind of expertise you think you need if you want to cook it? Here it comes. Meat, wheat, rice and lentils are mixed like it is not possible to distinguish a single element from another.
By mean mixing, it is a real mixture of all ingredients so it is not possible to recognise the taste of any element individually. Now it is Hareesa, a new dish with totally unique and different taste. Hareesa is served with naan or roti as per your demand and taste. Chaunk of fresh butter and chopped onion makes its taste even yum. Usually, people eat it in winter.
Who doesn’t like fish? Obviously no one. Who doesn’t like fried fish? Well, all those who don’t have taste buds. Fried fish is also a most delicious food Lahori’s enjoy especially in winter.
Fried fish is not a costly or rare dish, in winter you can see a huge crowd surrounding a person who frying fish in any fried fish shop. Try not to be selfish while eating fried fish. Yes, it is that much tasty.
Usually, it is Rahu fish which people mostly like here but Bangish, Damrah and a few others are also available and edible. It is not just fish but the spice and pastes for marinating plays also an important role in its taste.
A large piece of fish marinated whole night with secret sauce and paste which enriches each and every fibre of fish meat. Then deep fried in mustard or canola oil and served with a yummy sauce of dried plum and tamarind.
In Lahore, there are so many well-known fish corners by which you can taste some unforgettable fried fish. Basher dar ul Mahi, Babu Fish Corner, New Haji Fish Corner, Siddiq Fish Corner and Haji Sardar Fish Corner are known as the best by their taste all over the Lahore.
A typical yummy sweet dish made with curd milk, cardamom powder, rose syrup and noodles made by corn-starch. Basically, it is the speciality of city Qasur but in Lahore, you can have it easily. It takes a lot of time to make Rabri as they have to curd milk until it thickens and changes its colour from white to brown.
What makes it even more delicious is a ricotta cheese ice cream along with almond and pistachios. Yummy ice cream along with desi noodles, crushed ice and sugar syrup make this delicious food item even yummier.
It is easy to cook, it is easy to digest, it is tasty, it is Daal Chawal. Lahori likes to eat all types of food and Daal Chawal is one of on the top. Well cooked, chaunked spicy lentil with plain steamed and boiled rice really makes you fall in love with this marvellous food.
Though it is a proper meal for one time but here in Lahore mostly people eat it just for craving of Daal Chawal. With no matter how full your stomach is when you have Daal Chawal infront of you there is no space of excuses.
In Lahore, there are so many spots for Daal Chawal but Qalendri Daal Chawal near PSO pump in Faisal town serve you some out of the World Daal Chawal.
Dudh Patti by Goonga Yaqoob Chaey wala
Pakistan is a country with 80% tea addicts and lovers. They want twice, thrice and sometimes four cups of strong tea. You are in office, university or shop what you need is a cup of tea at least twice in a day.
Late night sitting with friends or colleagues, casual gathering or reunion of old friends is incomplete without Karak Chaey. There are many tea stalls in Lahore who are open 24 hours but the best among them is Goonga Yaqoob Chaey Wala. Now there are various types of tea available in the market.
It is Msala Chaey, Zaafran Chaey, Malai Chaey, Doodh Patti and now you can have Tandoori chaey as well in Lahore.
Jalebi is a sweet food item. A sweet crispy and yummy item in a circular shape. It is a traditional Punjabi sweet item spread all over the Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Grato Jalebi is a bit different than regular jalebi. As it has a few special secret ingredients.
First, they made a paste of wheat flour, baking soda and water and add a minor amount of cardamom powder than left it for a few hours. After few hours they pour this paste in pouring pipe type cloth than start making rings of this paste in hot boiling oil.
After a few minutes change its side and when this circular item is brown properly from both sides than they dip them into the sugar syrup. Dipped them few minutes in sugar syrup and after that hot, sweet, yummy and crispy Grato Jalebi is ready to eat and serve.
You should try Grato Jalebi from Allahoo Chowk near Johar Town Lahore.
Bong and Paaey
A traditional heavy breakfast is Bong Paey with naan or kulcha. Bong is shank and Paey is hoof of goat, sheep, cow or buffalo. There isn’t any Lahori who don’t like this typical Lahori breakfast however you can have it in noon or in dinner as per your likes.
There is a special method to cook delicious Bong and Paey. On slow heat, this dish is cooked over the night and the best part of this is its gravy or soup.
Alamgir Waffle Cone
Even though now there are international brands of ice creams like Monolo Gelato and Baskin Robbins are available in Lahore, Pakistan but still what stands amazingly is Alamgir Waffle Cone. It is yummy, tasty and economical as well.
Fresh waffle with yummy ice cream taste yum and the topping of chocolate syrup, grinded almonds, pistachio and hazelnut makes it fantastic.
It is said that “Jinnay Lahore nai waikheya o jammeya e nai” (one who didn’t saw Lahore is like he did not born) means one waste his whole life if he did not see and enjoy the colours of Lahore. Paan is one of the most outstanding mouths sweeten item. Though now it is mostly used as a tobacco eating stuff Meetha Paan (Sweet Paan) is such a delicate item.
One side of betel leaf marinated with lime and areca nut then placed crushed dry coconut chocolate, jelly, essence, a cardamom and many other things and look what you have in your hand. Yes, this is a Paan. However, the excess of everything is bad and so do Paan have. Excess of chewing Paan may cause cancer as well.
Anday wala Burger
Almost every food item here you have in Pakistan is undoubtedly tasty but few are superb. And among all those food items Anday wala Burger (Egg Burger) is like a living legend. There isn’t any street of any area who do not have a stall of Egg Burger I mean Anday wala burger. Try not to change its name, as half of its taste is in its name.
There is nothing complicated in it, neither has it had any secret ingredient but still, it is undoubtedly one of the most edible street food all over Pakistan.
First heat a bun, apply sauces on it, some salad, a kabab and now the main item, Anda (egg). They made omelette there on big round pan and then add this omelette makes it a legendary taste.
If you are in Lahore and want to taste the best Anday wala Burger, go with anyone. Yes, it is true, try any of the street stalls you get the same amazing taste.
Dahi bhallay may confuse you that either it is a meal or just a street food because many people eat roti (bread) with it also. Lentils flour first mixed with water and then deep fried as a Phulki and Bhalla. And after that soaked in water over the night and mixed with yoghurt along with local spices, sauces and salad.
There are many spots in Lahore known for the best Dahi Bhalla but one at Regal is really amazing and yummy.
Laddu Peethi is a rare but typical Punjabi dish. You cannot find it at any restaurant neither any stall. If you want to eat this yummy and delicious item you have to search Laddu Peethi Thaela (Laddu Peethi Cart).
It is not a tradition that you have to eat it on Thaela neither it is ban to serve or made on shops but with unknown reasons, it is a truth that this yummy thing is not available in shops. Laddu Peethi is a bit same like Dahi Bhallay with great difference in taste and looks as well.
First white, yellow and gram lentils are soaked in water over the night than blending them with salt, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, carom seeds, roasted cumin and roasted coriander will make a batter. Adding a minor quantity of baking soda makes it ready to fry after fifteen to twenty minutes.
These deep-fried Laddu Peethi served with grate white radish, carrot and cabbage along with sweet sour and spicy sauce of dry plum, apricot and tamarind.
Haleem or Dehleem is like a step-sister of Hareesa. People of all over Pakistan so in love with this enjoyable dish. All lentils soaked in water blend and cooked overnight on slow fire along with minced chicken, beef or mutton meat.
Different spices added for obvious while cooking it. Haleem is served with naan or roti along with fried onions, chopped ginger and lemon. In Lahore, there are many food selling shops who offers you the best taste of Haleem but Kozi Haleem is more than amazing and delicious.
This tasty dish basically belongs to Sindh where it was invented hundreds of years ago. It needs a lot of experience and practice to make Haleem as mixing of all ingredients is not everybody’s job.
Samosay are like most likely snacks all over Pakistan. With different taste, different size and different fillings they are serving people for centuries. It is hard to tell from how long and from where this delicate snack starts entertaining people but the thing which is confirmed is its outstanding taste.
Samosa is one of the most edible snacks all across the country and by mean street food Samosa is a real street food item. There are my types of samosa nowadays available in the market like Chicken Samosa, Vegetable Samosa, Qeemay wala Samosa, Potato Samosa and now it is macaroni filled Samosa also available in the market as well.
Boiled, mashed and spicy filling of potatoes o minced meat or chicken wrapped with the dough of plain flour deep fried in hot oil for few minutes and look what you have in your hand. The world’s most delicious and yummiest snack ever. Usually, people like to eat samosa in the evening with tea but who cares about the time when you are in Lahore.
Samosa is served with delicious sauces of yoghurt and mint, dry plum and apricot. In Lahore, if you want to eat the best Samosa there are two main sources you have. One is the lavish cafes while the other one is roadside stalls. Their prices are different and so the taste is but whatever you are trying it will surely delicious.
Bombay Chowpatty on MM Alam road is one of the best food café serving delicious Samosa to its customers while near Capri cinema you can have the yummiest chicken Samosa on the roadside stall. Shadman market, Moon market, Faisal Town market and Model Town C Block market also have many well-known roadside stalls of Samosas. While if you are looking for shops, Lahore Chatkhara and Shaikh Samosa shop are really good at making yummiest Samosa.
This guide is written by Johan Williams. He loves his food and loves to share his experience with others. He currently works for a company that specialises in sending cargo to Pakistan from UK. In his line of work he has got a chance to visit Pakistan and Lahore a lot.