As a foodie city, Lahore has a number of famous establishments that are must-visits for anyone exploring the city. One of them is Molvi Gol Gappa, an eatery famous for its laddu peethi. The dish consists of a deep-fried lentil fritter served with various chutneys.
Eat Pakistani Street Food at New Anarkali Bazar
There, you’ll see cooks in small, open-air, hole-in-the-wall restaurants preparing everything from roti to dal. Rashid and Adeel took me to a small, unassuming spot for chana dal, Desi chicken dal, chapati, raita, and some salad.
There, you can order several different types of halwa, including plain halwa, khoya halwa, and saffron halwa. For a change of pace, I went with the khoya and saffron, the latter of which contained the expensive spice along with dried fruits and nuts. If you want, you can also try their mutton kachori and chicken kachori, which are flaky biscuits stuffed with meat.
Visit the Jahangir Tomb Complex
If you decide to make your way to the Pakistan/India border for the Lowering of the Flags Ceremony, I suggest making a stop along the 30-minute drive. Roughly fifteen minutes from the border is a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Shalimar Gardens. Outside the site is a street food vendor selling sweet pakoras and a dish called qatlama.
The butt samosas at Butt Sweets and Bakers, however, are much larger than a typical samosa. They’re huge and crispy on the outside with a doughier texture on the inside. The aloo, or potatoes, in the middle are nice and savory. It contrasts well with the sweet and sour fruit chutneys.
23 Abul Hassan Isfahani Road
Lahore, Punjab 54000
The qatlama is like a large, thin, deep-fried pizza crust covered in a bright red masala. It’s basically oily, fried dough. It sounds simple enough, but the flavors are outstanding. It’s very fatty and extremely flavorful, and a nice snack to eat on a day trip.
The chill, relaxing atmosphere was perfect for the food, which included lamb rice; mutton karahi; and plain, garlic, and flaxseed naans. The lamb rice was made with tender yellow rice, raisins, and juicy chunks of lamb. Adding raita made it creamy!
The Resolution, which passed on March 23, 1940, led to Pakistan becoming its own independent state in 1947. The national emblem of the country, Minar-e-Pakistan is seen as a manifestation of post-colonial national identity.
Akbari Sarai and the Tomb of Asif Khan
At Al-Rizwan in the bazaar, you can try their amazing aloo parathas and chicken parathas, which have an amazing texture and almost look like pizzas.
One of Lahore’s most famous streets is Temple Road. This busy area is lined with shops, restaurants, and other businesses. Along the streets are butchers, food vendors, and restaurants. One of them is Jaidi Pan Shop, where you can buy fresh juices, ice cream, tea, and coffee. But I was there for their dense but energizing sweet paan, which gave me a jolt of energy!
Another extremely popular dish you’ll find throughout Pakistan is halwa puri. This breakfast item actually consists of several different elements: a flaky puri, a sugary semolina dish called halwa, and chana. It’s both sweet and savory. One of the best places to try some in Lahore is Sadiz Halwa Puri.
Explore the Walled City of Lahore
Most impressively, my barber only had two fingers on one of his hands. But that didn’t stop him from doing an incredible job. After he expertly shaved my head and face, he gave me a quick face massage.
There are lots of spectacles to see on the streets of Pakistan when you visit. One I came across again and again in nearly every city is chicken chargha. This dish consists of whole chickens cooked on vertical spits around a charcoal grill.
I’ve visited dozens of mosques around the world in my travels. As is customary, you must remove your shoes when you visit. As I walked around the wet, rainy courtyard completely barefoot, I couldn’t help but admire the architecture and the precision of the designs carved into its walls.
Gurda Champ Shop
Along with Kacha Hall Road, another fantastic place to explore daily life in Lahore is nearby Beadon Road. Like on Kacha Hall Road, you’ll find a number of electronics shops along the narrow and bustling street. But there are also lots of places to grab quick and delicious snacks.
Shahi Hammam Royal Baths
Throughout my twelve-day trip through Pakistan, there was one dish I kept seeing everywhere: paya. Paya is a meaty stew made from goat legs and goat brains in a savory broth. You can find this delicacy almost everywhere in Pakistan, but it’s a specialty in Lahore. My guides throughout my trip told me I should wait until Lahore to try it, and I’m so glad I did.
The leg meat had been slow-cooked for a long time, which left it tender, buttery, and practically falling off the bone. But my favorite element of the paya was the brains. They were simultaneously spongy, creamy, and buttery, and went down so easily. Grabbing them with the naan and allowing it to soak up the gravy was one of the most incredible flavor experiences I had in Pakistan. Of all the things you must do in Lahore, Pakistan, eating paya is near the top of the list!
I loved the light and spicy chana dal and the tasty, ghee-rich chicken dal. Adding raita added a minty flavor and creamy consistency to the dishes, and the salad served as a crisp, fresh palate cleanser!
No trip to South Asia is complete without having some biryani. This complex, layered rice dish comes in seemingly dozens of regional variations and is one of my favorites. To try some in Lahore, head over to Waqas Biryani House along Kacha Hall Road.
It reminded me of my time in Chandni Chowk in Delhi, easily the most tightly-packed location I’ve ever visited in my life! Everywhere I looked, I saw customers carrying televisions and computers on their shoulders.
King Chargha House
If you’ve followed my blog or YouTube channel for a while, you’ll probably know that pani puri is my favorite South Asian snack of all-time. These little, crispy balls of leavened flour usually come filled with potatoes, chickpeas, onions, various chutneys, and jaljeera water. It makes for one of the most mind-blowing flavor and texture combinations I’ve ever experienced in my life! They go by many names throughout the region, including fuchka and golgappa.
The history of Lahore dates back to ancient times. By the Middle Ages, it had been controlled by the Hindu Shahis, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, and Delhi Sultanate. That was followed by the Mughal Empire from the 16th to 18th centuries and the Sikh Empire in the early 19th century. It then became the capital of British Punjab during the British Raj and later was instrumental in the independence of both India and Pakistan.
Wazir Khan Mosque
Pir Mansoor Colony
A little ways down the road is Amritsari Sweet Shop, a spot that dates back to 1947. I’m not a huge sweets person, but I’m always down to try South Asian sweets like patissa, gulab jamun, rasgulla, and barfi.
Enjoy Lahore’s Famous Chana on Anakarli Food Street
Both countries have an immense amount of national pride, and their rivalry has been well-documented over the years. As we arrived at the stadium, I bought a Pakistan flag from a vendor while my friends got the national colors painted on their faces.
Qila Gujjar Singh
Lahore may be very much a foodie city, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything else to offer. One of the top historical sites in the city is the Jahangir Tomb Complex, located in the historic Shahdara Bagh precinct northwest of the Walled City. It’s named after the fourth Mughal emperor Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim, better known as Jahangir.
The sweet pakora had a nice, crunchy exterior and a soft middle. It came covered in sesame seeds, which added a nutty earthiness to the sweet dish. I recommend washing it down with some doodh patti, a rich and creamy variety of chai made only with milk. I can drink chai all day, and this one is one of my favorite things to do in Lahore, Pakistan!
At Akbar Milk Shop, the most popular dairy shop in Lahore, you can try some sweet malai, which they prepare in massive vats.
Its exterior walls are made of red sandstone imported from the state of Rajasthan. The pietra dura is quite intricate and features images of flowers and other geometric designs. Of course, the centerpiece is the marble casket inside, which is adorned with verses from the Koran.
Check out the Top Things to See and Do in Gujranwala, Pakistan
BONUS: Enjoy Bun Plaster at Hameed Bun Plaster
If you’re still in need of something sweet, head toward the end of the road to Chaman Ice Cream Shop. It’s Lahore’s most popular ice cream parlor for a reason! They sell many unique flavors, but I went with their chocolate and vanilla.
Elsewhere on the site is the Tomb of Asif Khan, Jahangir’s brother-in-law. The tomb was built between 1641 and 1645. Built with brick, it initially had a marble and sandstone veneer, but was damaged and plundered by Sikhs during the 19th century.
Inside the bathhouse are nine rooms. One of them is covered in plaster, a remnant of a failed British plot to convert the hammam into a church. There were once 21 rooms, but many of them have since been destroyed.
BONUS: Get a Haircut and Massage in the Walled City of Lahore
This bazaar was built by Akbar the Great, the third Mughal Emperor. He began the spice trade between Lahore, Delhi, and the city formerly known as Calcutta. There, you can see vendors selling everything from chilies to black pepper to dozens of varieties of rice!
Further on, you’ll come across a common sight in bazaars around the world: butchers dismembering carcasses and cutting up animal organs. You can also see the rather shocking sight of fresh goat heads arranged on tables, as well as more mundane things like cups, jars, vegetables, and dried fruit.
During my time in the Walled City of Lahore, my guides and I came across a street barber. The barbers in Pakistan and India are legendary for their skill, not only as barbers but also as masseurs. I’ve enjoyed many haircuts, shaves, and massages from them over the years, but this was my first time getting a shave in an alleyway!