The historical city of Lahore is a haven of wonders which represents endless stories and wonders to ponder upon. SD is giving you a peek into some of the most intriguing spots of this amazing city which depicts the beauty of holy relics while depicting culture in sheer colors! This week:
Telling Stories Through Succulency!
“Food Streets of Lahore”
Food is a powerful concept. It isn’t just what you indulge in; it isn’t just a treat to your taste buds. But you can consider it as being a portal of sorts which transcends you and takes you on a riveting journey, allowing you to savor in a range of cultures and wonders. Pakistan itself can be considered as being a melting pot of defining flavors. There is so much you can try which defines food in its absolute majestic sense. However when talking of food, Lahore remains a major place which is synonymous to savoring great flavors and enjoying it in its complete glory. The city which never sleeps, doesn’t do so because of the obvious reason- it is way too busy enjoying eating. Getting your taste buds spoiled is what people want to have and that is what is best provided here. And this is what leads to this busy city being a major tourist destination. Lahore is nothing if not a dream spot for those who enjoy a thriving cuisine, defining creations from various sources.
And Social Diary knew it was to abide by this heavenly concept by ensuring that our visit to Lahore consisted of visiting some of the most well-known and happening food streets in the region. It is extremely exciting and not to mention, very convenient that right next to some of the most iconic landmarks in Lahore is a bustling and happening food street called Fort Road.
Let me just dig into some of the intel defining the historical significance of this street. It’s name comes from being located between Fort Road and Roshnai Gate of the Walled City in Lahore. This means if you wish to get the most iconic view of Lahore, you need to make it a point to visit one of the few happening restaurants whose seating arrangement and top view opens to the majestic sights of not just Badshahi Mosque, but also the Lahore Fort as well as the Gurudwara. It is truly a 180degree vision of absolute galore, allowing you to enjoy and completely get mesmerized in Lahore’s cultural and historical significance, while enjoying some of the best and most authentic nibbles in town.
The street was reconstructed and opened in 2012 as a tourist attraction, by offering Lahori cuisine in various forms. One of the most popular and major restaurants you will find here is the Cuckoos den- a tantalizing restaurant known to be opened by the famous painter Iqbal Hussein. Looking at the breathtaking artwork and artifacts inside and outside the building, one can easily be lost into the stories of the past. The statues, antiques, marble arches, paintings, fixtures and carved pieces of stones and huge wooden doors and jharokas are the memoirs of history and define how dining here means more than just enjoying exceptional food. It allows you to enjoy and savor how Lahore remains a treasure box of greatness, waiting to be unraveled and explored.
Food, Performances and History!
With the current chilly weather, it serves as the ideal place to enjoy something hot and delectable. You can try out the various fried options, including samosas, kebabs and tikkas, a range of tantalizing naans or you can indulge in some sweetness of freshly made hot and oozing with light syrup ‘gulab jamun’, complimented with an aromatic matka chai or hot chocolate. Of course there is so much more to savor and indulge in as well if you decide on which restaurant with a view you shall be choosing. Take your time to soak in the sights- this is one experience you shall hold onto for a long time.
In efforts to give tourism a major boost, you will notice how the streets are well-decorated in sheer, bright colors and heavy lighting. The Mughal Architecture is noticeable through every door and window and owing up to the people’s commitment to keeping this place thriving, you will notice that there is complete cleanliness as you walk across this street. Adding to it the feeling of a street in Europe, you can see and enjoy live performances of folk music, puppet shows, artists in action and even little stage plays, making it thriving and staying alive till the wee hours of the morning.
This of course comes at a complete contrast to the ill-fated Gawalmandi Food Street. The first and original food street located near Gawalmandi neighborhood of Lahore, it once used to be a posh and happening tourist spot too. A booming location of historical significance, it is here that many of the families that migrated to Lahore from Amritsar and nearby cities, settled. Due to no work possibilities, the families began to create small food outlets right in front of their houses. And this is where they
presented their unique and exciting flavors. The migrating families knew the touch of Amritsar in their food will entice the crowd and it is said that every evening, as the sun began to set, the street started to give off aroma which was enticing and would be able to attract curious folks in no time. Behold, the Gawalmandi food street was born which to this date is still thriving with amazing flavors and recipes. Be its distinctive breakfast spread consisting of aatay kee halwa puri, Mutton Qatlama, Meetha poora and of course the iconic and refreshing glass of pairay ki lassi or enticing other street delicacies like ladoo paithee, dhai bara, as well as buttered to the brim ‘naan kebab’ and others, there is still so much wonder just waiting to be explored and indulged in! The migrating families brought along with them new and unique cuisine and recipes, laying the foundation of a street well known for its great food.
Alas it was not meant to be a thriving spot as due to internal conflicts coupled with political agenda and interference, the eventual downfall of the Gawalmandi food street meant that what was once a thriving space of lights, sounds and aroma, now has just enticing aroma to its name. And while it stands in complete contrast to the newly opened and highly entertaining Fort Road, the fact is that the tastes are still there in this now dimly lit region. Which definitely makes it worthy of your visit.
If you are a person who loves to indulge in food that comes with great stories, you need to make sure you are setting aside proper time to cover these major two food streets within Lahore. It isn’t just the unique and distinctive tastes but also the history, the cultural stance and the riveting views that you soak in besides the amazing food. Surely Lahore remains a wonder, it is entirely spellbinding to see how what you eat at these historic spots presents a plateful of defining memories you shall hold onto indefinitely.