“Kinna sohna tenu Rab nay banayaa, Dil karay dekhda rawaan
Kinna sohna tenu Rab nay banayaa, Dil murda nahin lakh samjhayaa
Dil karay dekhda rawaan, Kinna sohna tenu Rab nay banayaa...”
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s melodies fill the air, adding to the magic of the sight before you: a restless ocean of people moving from stall to stall, entranced by the sights and smells of what is arguably one of Lahore’s most popular destinations.
With the Lahore Fort looming in the background and the Minar-e-Pakistan standing tall further afield, this is truly a hub of culture and heritage. It is said that Lahoris love food. You would know just how true that is if you’ve ever had the fortune of knowing a true Lahori (or are one yourself?) Food is to a Lahori heart, what paint is to an artist, and what the guitar or piano is to a musician. No funny business when it comes to food, mind you, or you won’t make it very far along the road to social acceptance here! And rightly so – for what better way is there to spend an evening than to enjoy a platter of tikkas and seekh kebabs, barbequed to perfection? And what better place to cater to these needs than the music, laughter and tantalizing aroma that pervades the atmosphere of Lahore’s very own Food Street?
There you stand, in the midst of it all, surrounded by the glorious flurry of activities that is a hallmark of the Food Street: chefs, in their aprons and tall hats, flipping tikka seekhs as the meat turns just the right shade of gold, rushed waiters expertly balancing dish upon dish as they run to the seated customers anxiously awaiting their slices of heaven. It’s like your own desi version of ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’, minus the food falling from the sky.
Stand by the entrance for a few minutes, and you can very well divide the unending stream of people into a few broad categories: the wide-eyed first timers, faculties overwhelmed by the sights and sounds they behold, the veterans expertly weaving their way through the crowd (perhaps navigating towards their favorite table), and those that are headed for the exit, casting longing looks backwards at what they’re leaving behind – untried delicacies and savory treasures waiting to be discovered on the next trip.
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