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Karahi Gosht, Pakistani food found in Lahore

The Culinary Center of Pakistan: Try These 11 Foods in Lahore

Lahore is Pakistan’s second largest city, but probably its most diverse and renowned city. It has been the capital of several different empires, and these influences have made Lahore the cultural capital of Pakistan (and competes with Karachi as the culinary capital as well). The city is well-known for being one of Pakistan’s most progressive cities with stunning architecture and vibrant Sufi Shrines. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm of the Lahori people known as Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore (translated as Zealous of Lahore).

Lahore also has a rich food culture. Lahori cuisine includes a variety of foods that you won’t as easily find elsewhere. In fact, Lahore is quite famous for its food. And so, trying the local food should be a top priority for visitors.


Traditional Food in Lahore

To find the best food in Lahore, you may want to seek out help from friends or even strangers. One of the very difficult things for me is that the food may be called different things and English spellings may vary. This is because Punjabi is the primary spoken language for around 80% of the people living in Lahore. But Urdu, which is the official language of Pakistan, is widely spoken, as is English. And much of the food in Lahore is common in the nearby area of northern India and called something different there.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are some of the most popular foods in Lahore that you should definitely try.

I highly suggest visiting the Fort Road Food Street (Location), a popular spot for tourists who want to easily try a variety of local Lahori foods. The Anarkali Bazaar (Location) is also a great market for traditional Lahori cuisine.

1. Halwa Puri

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Halwa Puri: Authentic Pakistani Food in Lahore
Halwa Puri Breakfast

In Lahore, halwa puri is a beloved delicacy eaten for breakfast every morning. And you might not find any better than at Zafar Halwa Puri Shop (location). It consists of a sweet semolina based pudding (halwa), and fried unleavened flatbread (puri). It may be served with a side of chickpea curry.

For an authentic Lahore dining experience, you should sit on the street and have your fill of fresh puris at this outdoor eatery. Halwa is an all-time favorite sweet breakfast meal that everyone may enjoy. Halwa puri is the perfect way to kick off a lazy weekend.

If Zafar Halwa Puri Shop is a bit of a drive from where you are, the city has plenty of places to find great halwa puri. Other well-known spots are Capri (location) and Bundu Khan Restaurant (location).

2. Nihari

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Beef Nihari: Authentic Pakistani Food in Lahore
Beef Nihari

As a meat-lover, one of my favorite foods in Lahore is Nihari. It is a stew made from beef, lamb, goat, or chicken and has a spicy sauce with minced ginger, onions, and lemon.

Nihari is originally from northern India (specifically the city of Lucknow) but is popular throughout northern India and Pakistan. Nihari can be found all around Lahore but you can find it at places such as:

3. Channay (Choley)

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Murgh Cholay: Authentic Pakistani Food in Lahore
Murgh Channay (Cholay)

Channay (often spelled chaney or chanay or called cholay) is prepared with a piece of chicken (Murgh Channay) or mutton (Gosht Channay). The dish’s flavor is enhanced by using black pepper, which is a key spice in the preparation. In Lahore, you’ll find Channay throughout the city.

Chicken is slow-cooked in a chickpea stew to create a dish rich in traditional spices and served with naan or khamiri flatbread.

Goga Naqeebia in Model Town (location) is a popular spot for murgh channay among Lahori locals. Get there early as this is a beloved morning dish.

4. Paya

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Beef Paya, Authentic Pakistani Food in Lahore
Beef Paya

Lahore is known for nutrient-dense food, and this paya is one such Pakistani food. The hooves of a cow, goat, buffalo, or sheep are boiled with onion, garlic, and various spices. Nowadays, using a pressure cooker to speed up the process is common.

Mano Siri (location) is a great option for paya in Lahore.

5. Daal Chawal

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Daal Chawal (also dal chawal or dal chaawal): Authentic Pakistani Food in Lahore
Daal Chawal

Daal Chawal is a delicious spicy lentil curry with rice, making it a simple dish to prepare. It’s a common dish that can be served with every meal.

You can find Daal Chawal pretty much everywhere in Lahore, but Qalendri Daal Chawal (location) in Faisal town is a favorite.

6. Falooda

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Sweet noodles (vermicelli) are used as a basis for falooda, which is served with kulfa (a kind of ice cream). It’s a very refreshing dessert to eat, and since it’s served cold, it’ll make you feel even better on a hot Lahori day!

Yousaf Falooda is the pioneer of falooda in Lahore and the most popular spot in the city. If you head to Anarkali Market you can find many of the great foods in this post, but I suggest waiting in line at this falooda shop for a tasty treat.

7. Laddu Peethi

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A popular Pakistani street food in Lahore that is typically sold from carts is Laddu Peethi. These are lentils (or I believe any dal) that are deep-fried until crispy on the exterior and tender on the inside. They can resemble falafel or fritters in appearance and texture. They are commonly served with a chutney that can be sweet or sometimes also spicy, so you might want to try a small taste first.

8. Lahori Fried Fish

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Fried fish isn’t unique to Pakistan. But Lahore is 1200 km (750 miles) inland from Karachi on the Arabian Sea. And yet, its known for its street style fried fish.

Lahori fried fish is popular, particularly during the colder months. It can be served with any type of chutney, or naan if you want to make it a full meal. Find it at places like Babu Fish Corner (location), Siddique Fish Corner (location), or Haji Sardar Fish (location).

9. Anday Wala Burger

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Anday Wala Burgers: The Famous Street Food in Lahore, Pakistan
Anday Wala Burgers

The Anday Wala Burger is one of the most famous Pakistani street foods. Anda means “egg” and so this is literally an egg burger. You can find stands selling these legendary anday wala burgers in every neighborhood throughout cities like Lahore and Karachi.

To make these burgers, you first need the kebab patty, usually from ground beef or mutton (but can also be vegetarian), cumin, and chilis. Then heat the bread with ghee, add the patty, sauces, salad, and finally the egg.

I would consider the anday wala burger a must-try food in Lahore.

10. Pathoray

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Pathoray with Chick Pea Stew. Also known as Chole Bhature. Pakistan Street food in Lahore
Pathoray with Chick Pea Stew

Pathoray is a street food very similar to puri, except that it is a leavened bread (contains yeast) and so it puffs up to become much larger. It is a typical breakfast food that is often served with chickpea stew (see channay above).

11. Karahi

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Chicken Karahi: One of the most famous dishes in Pakistan an popular in Lahore
Chicken Karahi

Karahi is a kind of curry that is prepared in a deep pan that is only used for this meal. It contains a variety of spices and vegetables, such as onions and tomatoes, to enhance its taste and aroma. From chicken and mutton to seafood, Karahi is packed with protein! 

In Lahore, you must visit Butt Karahi for the greatest Karahi. In Lahore, you must visit Butt Karahi for the greatest Karahi. Try their desi chicken karahi with Makhan (butter), and you’ll never want to eat Karahi from anywhere else.

You should be aware that this recipe requires around 45 minutes of your time to prepare, so plan accordingly when you come to try it! There are three locations where Butt Karahi may be found: Gaddafi Stadium, Lakshmi Chowk, and Bedian Road in DHA.