10 tips to enjoy the winter in Lahore
I've made a list of ten things you must do to ensure a well-spent winter in Lahore.
If you look for stories about Lahore on The Express Tribune Blogs, you’ll find several blogs, most of which would indicate liveliness of ‘zinda dilaan-e-Lahore’ (zealous people of Lahore). Through this piece, I intend to share with the reader my experience of winters in Lahore.
The following are a few of the many things (in no particular order) you can do to maximise the pleasure of winter in Lahore:
1. Kashmiri chai:
Have Kashmiri tea; have lots of it. If you can’t make it at home, there are many places in Lahore where it’s available, especially in the winter time.
The best place to get Kashmiri tea I've found is Abbot Road. If you can make it at home for breakfast, you’ve found true love. Other items which go nicely with it include baqar khani, cake rusk and naan khataee.
Kashmiri chaye is best served saltish (so much so that if a Kashmiri sees you putting sugar in it, they’ll be offended).
There are several famous fish joints in Lahore, some of which only operate in the winter. So, let me provide them with free marketing and name a few; Sardar, Basheer and Siddique.
There often is a debate about which one of the three is the best. When my mother was asked this question, she responded that good fish is the one which doesn’t smell fishy and none of the ones I have mentioned above smell bad. In Gawalmandi, you can have Siddique’s and Sardar’s fish.
Sardar originates from Gawalmandi, but now there are several Sardars there and in other various parts of Lahore. Many of these Sardars say ‘Hamari koi aur branch nahien hai’ (We do not have another branch). Hence, I can’t comment on the authenticity of them all, but since I can remember, the oldest shop is in Gawalmandi and I love it.
Siddique Machli Farosh’s original location is at Garhi Shahu, but its branches are also in Allama Iqbal Town and Gawalmandi. ‘Bashir Darul Mahi’ was originally at Mozang, but now its branches are at Gaddafi Stadium and Johar Town (Molana Shaukat Ali Road).
In case I’ve missed a location or two for the above mentioned famous businesses, let’s consider it a limitation of free marketing. But let’s not limit having fish to just these three joints; many other restaurants sell great fish too, and my amma jaan makes it the best!
Driving in misty and foggy Lahore is an experience of its own. Although driving around in Lahore these days due to all the construction work in progress isn’t a joy ride, but Mall Road and Canal Road late at night are very beautiful. This joy is not limited to car drivers. I’ve seen bikers enjoying a good ride in the chilly winds too.
4. Ice cream:
I heard a friend of mine say the other day,
"Ice cream ka mazza hi thand mein hai."
(Ice cream is most enjoyable in the winter.)
My only suggestion is that instead of having packaged frozen desserts like non dairy ice cream, go for real ice cream! Enjoy the good life.
Call me ‘paindoo’ but I categorise frozen yoghurt as ice cream too.
Although Hareesa is originally a middle eastern dish, in Lahore it is considered to be a Kashmiri delight.
Amratsari Hareesha on Nisbat Road is the best. This place also only operates in the winter. If you haven’t had it yet, you must try it.
Getting out of bed on a Sunday morning in winters isn’t easy, but once you’ve done it, make a little more effort and go out to get some fresh and hot halwa puri.
My breakfast last Sunday also included paaye, chanay and kulchay. So here’s a simple rule for a great winter -- nashta in Lahore:
‘Kulchay, chanay, paaye. Halwa puri, chai. Aye haaye haaye!’
Various types of oranges - kinnu, malta, musambi - in the winter sunshine taste the best! I personally don’t really enjoy them without sunshine. If you think this sounds a bit impractical for people who work in offices, outside the offices during lunch hours in the winter time, kinnus are available and are sold like hot cakes.
Halwa made from carrots, petha (ash gourd) and daal are widely enjoyed in Lahore during the winter season. They're available everywhere. All the ‘sweets and bakers’ chains in Lahore have them. There are halwaais at the corner of almost every street.
So just enjoy. Don’t count calories; count your blessings!
This one is obvious. I am not doing anymore free marketing, but Mehmood Ali Kasuri Road has many good cafes. The best time to have this creamy treat, in my opinion, is after dinner.
Since almost all of the above tips include eating, one might think that I am suggesting walk to neutralise the effects of the food. Morning and after dinner walks in the park near your home or in a market or even in your street in the winter are a pleasant experience.
I wish you all a fun winter, filled with delicious treats and experiences!
PHOTOS: AREESH ZUBAIR
Read more by Aleem here or follow him on Twitter @aleemzubair