Lahore Snaps XI: Street Food

Posted by sepoy on February 06, 2009 · 4 mins read


Lahore, wouldn't you know, has a geography made entirely of food-stuffs. The natives, even as they partake of second-rate fare will tell you excitedly about the best versions to be found in such and such an alley behind the Civil Secretariat. They will eagerly offer to take you there, so you can admit, that what you are currently consuming is fit only for pigs. I love those conversations. I always tease them - making up fake categories to challenge their assertions. I love the minutiae of personal histories that enable someone to make a better chanaa daal than the other guy. That is the learned history that you will never read in your fancy books, gentle reader.

Then dare I admit that I spend all my time at home? That I didn't really venture out and partake of the famous biryani from Bhatti Gate or the Sri Pa'ia from Shahalmi or whatever from wherever. I shall and you won't think little of me, either. Because I did manage to get to the requests. There is a crew here in Chicago, and we all try to gather semi-regularly to eat Halwa Puri at Tahoora. Damn fine stuff. They wanted to see how Halwa Puri comes into being on the mean streets of Lahore.

It all begins with this gentleman,

Halwa Puri

who tosses the little dough patties into hot oil,

Halwa Puri

from whence they are fished out, after a swirl or two,

Halwa Puri

Halwa Puri

you add some chanaa,

Halwa Puri - Chanaa

some halwa,

Halwa Puri

and some lassi,


and you have halwa puri, with lassi. Breakfast of Champions.

The other street food that friends were curious about was the neon-glowing sweet called Jaleebi.


The secret ingredient in the radioactive material which constitutes Jaleebi is, well, sugar.


Into hot oil it goes, through a funnel, poured into the familiar twisty shapes.



and from it, it emerges. My father, back in the day, loved freshly oiled Jaleebis in Milk. Sugar.


The third, kinda iconic, food of Lahore is really a drink: Pomegranate Juice. Anar ka juice. Looking ahead, I will take you to Anarkali's "tomb".




And finally, I like the colors on this one.


There are lots more on my flickr site. Go see.


raver | February 06, 2009


Desi Italiana | February 06, 2009

Oh god, I LOVE pomegranates. Those are some big puris!

Blake | February 06, 2009

HALWA PURI! This Sunday? Sunday Sunday Sunday…

Szerelem | February 07, 2009

I have heard about that famous anar juice shop from Elizabeth. (Well, I gather it's the same.) But anyway, I want anar juice. Also those jalebis look amazing and make me miss old Delhi where you get the most amazing jalebis - and also jalebas.

aamir | February 08, 2009

In Pindi they have something called 'jalaib', which is at least five times the guage size than usual lahori jalaibi. And as you can imagine there is an assortment of jokes comparing sizes, shapes, juices etc

Nostalgic | February 08, 2009

Some shops on Murree Road in Rawalpindi also came up with something called a "Grato", which is a giant jalebi... wasn't too popular... the smaller version is so much better...

preoccupied « verbal privilege | February 09, 2009

[...] photo series on Lahore eating: street food, bakra mandi, and home cooking. Especially the latter, as I had the delight of a sharing a meal [...]

Global Voices Online Pakistan: Street Foods in Lahore | February 09, 2009

[...] Mystery posts some mouth-watering pictures of street foods in Lahore. Posted by Rezwan  Print version Share [...]

SP | February 15, 2009

EVIL! How I miss street food. BTW I made my own Foodie Map of Delhi on Google maps, do make one of Lahore for the benefit of anyone who makes it over there and doesn't have a historical knowledge of the culinary geography....

sepoy | February 15, 2009

Google map of the culinary geography, what a great idea. Do send me your Delhi version, and I will try and make one for Lahore.

elizabeth | February 15, 2009

ufff, best collaborative procrastination ever. we could have a series: the halwa puri culinary cartographies. i'll no doubt be engaged in serious research for the istanbul verison this summer.

SP | February 15, 2009

Ooh yes, please, I've been planning a trip to Istanbul for ages and the only foodie reference I really have in a restaurant that recreates old Ottoman recipes.

Sardar | April 23, 2010

Na kar bhai khajoor ka juice yad dela deya , Data Darbar road par daal ka bhi koi muqbla naheen ummmm

shayma | May 12, 2011

i still like having the anar ka juice in the large beer glass mugs. this disposable cup is too modern for me ;) so many things have changed- all the "pappu burgers" made w/ anda and shami kebab are gone from the Mini Market area where i grew up eating them for Rs 5 every week- now, to find them,one has to venture into the old city.