Karachiites and Lahoris have been competing with one another about who’s city boasts the best food in the country, since the dawn of time itself. However, no matter which side of the debate you’re on, one thing is for certain, both cities have some iconic food that you have to try!
With that being said, here’s our non-exhaustive list of food you must eat if you’re in Lahore.
Paaye from Manoo Siri Paaye in Sultanpura
Lahoris swear by the paaye from Manoo’s. Hoards of people (pre-pandemic) could be found enjoying paaye with freshly baked naans at the eatery at any given time.
Falooda from Baba Ji Kulfi Walay in Muslim Town
This place has been around for quite some time and has consistently served the yummiest rabri, kulfis and falooda.
Besan-Fried Rahu from Bashir Dar ul Mahi in Mozang
We love a good desi fried fish, specially when it’s fresh and it doesn’t get any more desi or fresher than the fried Rahu at Bashir’s. Served next to a delicious aalu bukhara chutney, this is perfect dish for chilly winter evenings!
Taka Tak from Cafe Riaz in Samanabad
If you don’t know what Taka Tak then you’re in for a little bit of a surprise. This is Lahori-style stir fry containing, goat’s brain and kidney, as well as loads of vegetables. This is all then minced and cooked live on a large pan, and the sound this makes is where the dish gets its name. With that history lesson in place, go try it at Cafe Riaz since they’re the best in the business.
Nihari from Waris Nihari House in Anarkali
Nihari is the staple of a Lahori breakfast. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying this is what a Lahori eats every day. Just on days they want to go all out, and when they do go all out they do it at Waris Nihari.
Karahi from Butt Karahi in Lakshmi Chowk
Our absolute personal favourite! Nobody does a mutton karahi quite like them. Tourists and locals flock to the eatery in equal amounts every day. What’s amazing about this place is that not is the end product, cooked in butter, absolutely delicious, but that you get to be a part of the process from the beginning as you are encouraged to choose your own meat and watch it be cut.
Chanay from Jeela Chanay Wala in Amir Road Shadbagh
Whether you order plain chanay, murgh (chicken) chanay or mutton chanay, Jeela Chanay Wala gets it right every time. Just by including the perfect blend of spices that complement the texture of the chanay, Jeela makes this seemingly simple meal absolutely delectable.
Pista Badaam Ice Cream from Chaman in Beadon Road
If you’re from Lahore you’re probably rolling your eyes at how obvious this one, and if you’re not you have to try Chaman! The ice-cream parlour is synonymous with Lahore for decades and is beloved by the city. We recommend trying their pista badam.
Anda Shami from Rangeela Burger on Main Mall Road
Let us answer the question all the Karachiites reading this are thinking. Yes, an Anda Shami is the same as a bun kebab, and the best place to get it is Rangeela Burger on Main Mall Road.
Samosa Cholay from Best Samosa Shop on Ghalib Market
This one had us on the fence when we first heard of it, but boy did we change out mind after we tried it! A samosa is great on its own, but adding some chanay and chutney, takes it to a whole new level.
Dumba Karahi from Ilyas Dumba Karrahi at Truck Adda in Sabzi Mandi
This place is so famous that if you simply get out of car in Sabzi Mandi and think the word dumba, someone will point you in the right direction. No seriously, everyone knows exactly what you’re looking when you get to area and ask for dumba karahi, and for good reason. The karahi itself is one for the books!
Jalebi from Grato Jalebi
No winter evening in Lahore is complete without jalebi, and not just any jalebi, but specifically Jalebi from Grato Jalebi. Grato serves jalebi that is twice the size of regular jalebi, topped with even more sugar.
Qeemay Walay Naan from Khan Baba Restaurant in Chauburji
If you like qeemay walay naan, then you’re going to love the one’s baked at Khan Baba restaurant. They really are the best stuffed naans in Lahore.
Halwa Puri from Taj Mahal in Taxali Gate
If we’re being honest, almost all places in the city do halwa puri really well. However, the halwa, puri and chanay served at Taj Mahal are just notch above the rest and therefore, something you have to check out!
Samosa Chaat from Sheikh G Samosay in Township
A hidden gem in the heart of Township Sheikh G Samosay is a must visit! With a small and subtle shop, Sheikh G’s is a place you could likely just pass by if you didn’t pay attention, but don’t let that happen, because you’ll be missing out on the best samosay and samosa chaat you’ve ever tasted!
Are there more more hidden gems we’ve missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!