Lahore Snaps XV: A City About Food

Fresh Berries in Lahore

Lahore, if you want to believe me, is a city about food. The second most popular gossip in Lahore is about specific sites/corners in the city and the specific foods available there. The first most popular being a vehement disagreement/challenge/let-us-go-RIGHT-NOW-and-SEE about that food-stuff. Or maybe, this is just my Lahore. I mentioned earlier that I have been reading memoirs of Lahore and it is seriously messing with my head. I know Lahore, intimately in some areas, cursorily in others; but I know Lahore. I can usually imagine any intersection, any particular cluster of shops or houses. As I read memoirs of Lahore (most concentrated on the 1940s and 50s), I began to notice some oddities in my recollections. I was somehow sublimating those memories as my own memories of Lahore.

Chai Khan

A. Hameed, noted writer, in his Lahore ki Yadeein (Memories of Lahore) (2000) describes drinking chai at Pak Tea House and a particular gentleman seated on the table over, who delightfully would lean over and openly eavesdrop on everyone’s conversation (everyone being people like Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and Ibn-e Insha). I swear I have that same memory. Except I am sure that I never met Qasmi or Insha. Almost certain, actually. There are other oddities – F. E. Chaudhry, one of the greatest news photographer of Pakistan, describes a meeting with Faiz Ahmed Faiz in the Pakistan Times office in his memoir Ab woh Lahore Kahan? (Now, Where is that Lahore?) (2009). I was there. I think.

Fish Being Cleaned by a Child. Look At Him.

My problems with memory seep into things other than Lahore. I mis-remember people. I forget that someone was funny. Or that I had already read something and that this spark of a misshapen “new” thought was really the blob of a half-memory. These things, the worry about these things, seem to prey on me only when I am not paying attention. Or when my attention is diverted by memoirs or by food.

Lunch

Nihari

The thing about food is, I am not actually a foodie or someone who cares a lot about gastronomic pleasures. All my food memories are people memories. All my taste-buds are conversation-buds. I like to be with my friends, my loved ones. I like to see them enjoy the food. Probably why I like cooking so much more.

So, when I say Lahore is a city about food – I am saying Lahore is a city where I like talking about food. That’s a quirk of my memory.

There will be more pictures of foods, but these are street pictures – taken hastily, in passing, walking, talking. Except for two meals which are documented in this series, I ate at home every day. I will post those later.

Pinjiri. I grew up eating this. God I need this. Everyday.

You can see a lot more street food on Flickr.

You can see earlier entries in the Lahore Snaps series here.

12 Replies to “Lahore Snaps XV: A City About Food”

  1. I love eating. And street food, in any part of the world, is always the tastiest.

  2. all my food memories of Lahore are related to people and conversations- my maternal grandparents and uncles, actually. it was so lovely to see these photos of lahore here in your write-up. shayma

  3. The food posts are yum. Now we can actually see the extra-ordinary wonders of Lahore street food.

    Also, if it’s conversations that you remember. Click photographs of the people around the table/charpoy/stall too!

  4. My family lived in Lahore for at least 1000 (documented) years. We were driven out at Partition. So, I have very mixed feelings about this.

  5. Hi,

    I basically reside in Switzerland in Geneva, but everytime I travel to Pakistan is for two things, 1st for my family and 2nd, for Lahori food, Its good to be here, everyone eats and all times :p

    Cheers
    Kinza

  6. haven’t heard of a creature called ahmed nadeem kazmi. or probably you’re just referring to a sort of hybrid of ahmed nadeem qasmi and nasir kazmi–your very own postcolonial rupture of memory, eh boy?

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