Greek philosopher Plato once said, “No town can live peacefully, whatever its laws, when its citizens do nothing but feast and drink.” In the best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love, the author and protagonist Elizabeth Gilbert challenges this hard-hitting moral stance by questioning instead, “Is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition but to find the next lovely meal?” While Gilbert speaks of Italy and its obsession with food, one cannot help but feel a sense of deja vu and think, ‘Hey! That’s us too!’
Nothing brings us Pakistanis more joy than the prospect of a delicious meal. And if there’s anyone who wishes to deny that fact, they can observe for themselves, how hoards of people will pile into the confines of a restaurant or cafe at its opening. A grand testimony to this was the opening of Noodle House, the international chain of oriental food, at Gulberg’s Hotel One in Lahore.
Socialities, fashionistas, models and the who’s who of the city, had no qualms about hogging the counters where the Noodle House staff stood in a race against time to toss an assortment of meat and vegetables in an array of sauces. As a tantalising aroma of ginger and soya wafted through the air, some — like the young brood of eccentric designers who’ve taken fashion by storm — felt no shame in lifting off the generous platters of food in tiny boats and devouring the delectable prawn wasabi and crab cakes in one swift move. And why should one be ashamed of bestowing such ardent appreciation on, perhaps, the most beautiful thing in life: food.
Oriental food of any kind: Thai or Chinese never fails in the country (yet another proof, perhaps, of the Pak-China friendship) and when a global chain like Noodle House, that most people have already developed a taste for in their frequent trips to Dubai, makes an advent, you know it’s a sure shot win.
And it’s understandable, after all, who else offers Chicken Siomai in Pakistan? And, let’s not get started on how in that merry marriage of Wasabi Prawns that sharp twang of wasabi hits the pallete along with the tender succulent white meat of that beautiful of all shellfish: prawn. Oh, the Lemongrass Crab Cakes with those delicate shavings of Thailand’s most fragrant and favourite condiment (lemongrass) with just a slight hint of soya lends crab, a new lease of life. Wash these and a generous helping Bakmi Goreng (stir-fried noodles) with refreshing mint cooler and don’t hesitate if you have to repeat the whole process again — it will only lighten your senses.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2011.