Outdoor dining returns to city

Lakshmi Chowk, other food centres, wear festive look after easing of lockdown


Asghar Saleemi May 28, 2021
Citizens in the provincial capital flock to the food streets in groups as the government eases restrictions after a long time. Eid festivities were marred this year amid curbs to flatten the curve of pandemic cases. PHOTOS: HAMMAD ELAHI/EXPRESS

LAHORE:

After the restaurant owners got permission from the government to offer outdoor dining, the food lovers of Lahore appear to be enjoying the facility anew.

People are seen in large numbers at various food points across Lahore, including Lakshmi Chowk, Ichhra, Mozang, Shadman, Township, Model Town Link Road, Saddar, Gulberg, old coty area, Allama Iqbal Town, Multan Road, Green Town, Johar Town and PIA Road.

The citizens enjoy the weather in the evenings along with their favourite food.

The people of Lahore have traditionally been known for their love for tasty food. Lakshmi Chowk is a hub of desi dishes, where food lovers come in the evening from across the city.

The routine hustle and bustle has now returned to the informal food streets in the provincial capital, including Lakshmi Chowk, after the permission to resume outdoor dining.

The visitors are found eating popular dishes like takatak, desi chicken and mutton karahi, kabab and biryani.

A customer at an outlet pointed out while speaking to The Express Tribune that all activities were halted during the recent Eid holidays because of the risk of coronavorus. "Now that the government has lifted the lockdown, we have come to have food with our friends."

He said there was no match anywhere else to the desi chicken karahi at Lakshmi Chowk. "I and my friends are enjoying the delicious karahi."

The citizens visiting various restaurants said they had missed the food as well as experience of eating together at the popular food spots during the holidays.

They said the atmosphere in the localities was a major attraction for them in addition to the taste and company.

Another man visiting a food point prayed that the liveliness of Lahore as well the whole country are restored at the earliest.

The restaurant owners were also happy to see the easing of the lockdown. Mohammad Niaz, who runs a restaurant at Lakshmi Chowk, said the lifting of the lockdown had resulted in return of life to Lakshmi Chowk, upon which he was very happy.

"The ban affected our businesses badly and left us with no customers, which led to financial problems. As our business has resumed, not only the citizens are enjoying delicious food but our income has increased significantly."

Hafeez Bhatti, the owner of another restaurant, said, "We are taking care of the coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the service. We are not only doing this ourselves but also encouraging our customers to wear face masks and maintain social distance."

The data depicts a better situation as compared to last month when record deaths were caused by the pandemic in the province. However, the situation rains alarming and the relief brought during the lockdown imposed in the holidays may prove to be temporary as the coronavirus wards in the big hospitals are filling up.

The situation improved during the Eid holidays. There was a lockdown in the province from May 8 to 16, that kept the spread of the virus in check and improved the statistics. When contacted, the department's spokesperson Sayed Hamad Raza said, "We are analysing the daily data and satisfied that we got maximum results in controlling Covid-19 in the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2021.

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