10 tips to enjoy the winter in Lahore

Published: January 9, 2013

A family warms their hands by a fire at a slum area of Lahore. PHOTO: AFP

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.

Homemade Kashmiri tea

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).

Kashmiri tea being prepared on Abbot Road, Lahore

2. Fish:

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!

Siddique fried fish

3. Drive:

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.

5. Hareesa:

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.

6. Nashta

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.

Halwa puri with chanay

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!’

7. Oranges

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.

8. Halwa

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!

9. Coffee

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.

10. Walks

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

Muhammad.Aleem.Zubair

Muhammad Aleem Zubair

A chartered accountant in Lahore who loves cricket, food, poetry and music . He holds expertise in Auditing & Business Advisory, teaches and conducts corporate training every now and then. He tweets @aleemzubair (twitter.com/aleemzubair)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://uth-oye.com Brand Manager of Uth Oye

    tip 11: don’t freeze to death.Recommend

  • human

    Amazingggggg Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    Other suggestion for Winters in Lahore:

    – Dinners at roof top restaurants
    – Garam Aanday (boiled eggs)
    – Soup
    – Dry fruits

    Other suggestions are also welcome!Recommend

  • Madhia

    these tips are not only limited to lahore, you can enjoy most of these in Islamabad as well.. :)
    Except for the fact that rosy and natural beauty can only be seen in Islamabad Winters :)Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/AreeshZubair Areesh Zubair

    “Don’t count calories; count your blessings!”

    waaah..!!Recommend

  • Paki Paki Pardesi

    Another good piece. i like the way you explained the things. Do consider to have one cigrette with garama garm kashmiri chai in the morning it will double the maza :) Thumbs up keep writing the stuff like this. We are enjoying to read you always. Allah Bless you. Recommend

  • Faizan Suhail Minhas

    I think the most important ingredient and gift of winters that lahori’s enjoy is missing.. u forgot to mention dry fruits:P
    Chilghoza & all type of nuts available in the market …
    quilts and dry fruits ..indeed a true blessing :PRecommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Madhia:
    “Mera paighaam mohabbat hai jahaan tak pohnchay.” If you feel like enjoying all this in Islamabad, that’s great. I know my readers who planned to go out to have fish after reading this in Karachi. So, Enjoy!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Paki Paki Pardesi:

    My official statement is ‘Smoking is injurious to health” but I get what you’re saying.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/BajiPlease Baji Please

    Haww you seem to have forgotten the ‘ogling, staring, gawking and gazing at chic Lahori girls’ part which should be the 11st most important tip.Recommend

  • Omer Shahid

    yummy……..
    i can bet to be a LAHORI you have to Enjoy all these things in winter :DRecommend

  • citizen

    last one : warm clothes and have lots of spare money to enjoy all this stuff .Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Add On:

    11- Garam Hamam: since the gas gysers have gone cold since stone age, if you want to take a bath find a Garam hamam.

    12- Obviously there is no gas to cook at home so Naan Choley from around the corner will be the best option.

    Deletions:

    Delete home made Kashmiri chaey, Bhai jaan choola mein gas aaey to pehley nahaney key liey paani garam kejiey aur phir jaldi sey normal chaey bana lein, is sey pehley key gas phir ghaib ho jaey !!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Baji Please: Baji please!!!Recommend

  • Aks

    The fact that 8 out of the 10 tips revolve around food proves that this article is about lahoreRecommend

  • Aks

    @Faizan Suhail Minhas:
    You dint notice the writers comment aboveRecommend

  • https://twitter.com/fazalwarraich Fazal

    Aye December tuu phir ajaa
    January te moun vi nahin dhon denda

    Good one Aleem !Recommend

  • Lubna

    @Muhammad: I was wondering about that too…. though as someone who grew up in Lahore and still considers myself a Lahori at heart, after reading this blog I am filled with nostalgia for those beautiful winter days of my childhood. Sadly the times have changed and not for the better really!!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/AreeshZubair Areesh Zubair

    one more suggestion:

    Bonfire and dance around the fire.

    (I guess the writer didn’t mentioned it as he is too old for this stuff :P )Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Aks:
    It is in a way sad (yet delicious) that most of the entertainment in Lahore revolves around food these days…Recommend

  • Khurram Malik

    Well you forgot Phhenian ( A form of Sayeyaan in breakfast) along with Doodh Jaleebi. Just like it is said that Karachi have the biggest Pukhtoon population in a similar manner Lahore have the biggest population of the people coming from Kashmir and becoming a part of Lahori life and in my view Azad Kashmir and Upper Punjab and culturally and Linguistically connected as well. From Nawaz family to many top Politicians all have Kashmiri origins and along witht them they brought Kashmiri cousine as well and that is why now Kashmiri Soup, Kashmiri Chai, Kashmiri Kulchas are now essentials in many households.Recommend

  • http://www.Saeedbaba.com Msaeed

    Nice and amazing
    to enjoy the winter wear a BunyanRecommend

  • Baba Ji

    wow …
    just came back from Lahore after a two week vacation … enjoyed every second of it !!!
    Lahore zindabaad :)Recommend

  • Mudassar Ijaz

    Garam garam lakshmi chowk ke butt ke halwayy, nisbat road ke kashmiri chaii, khalifa ke khataiyaa, garam garam BBQ aur fish….waahhh bhaee winters kamaal hai ;)Recommend

  • Abdullah Ahmed

    Great Photography….Recommend

  • The Khan

    That Halwa poori picture was greatness. :(Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Khurram Malik: Oh right… Phhenian. Kashimiris like them with chai also. Phhenian somehow have become more of a ramzan treat now. Dhoodh Jalebi is also a favorite of mine. Thanks for the suggestions.Recommend

  • Iraj

    ~~~ Superb and fascinating~~~
    Add Gajar ka Halwa too :)Recommend

  • Abdullah Ahmed

    Great Photography also, which makes it a complete article….Recommend

  • Sterry

    @Baji Please: By all means admire the well dressed and chic Lahori women without trying to be too overt or obtrusive or inappropriate. Lahori women just like women in Paris or Rome take great care with their clothes and appearance like nowhere else in Pakistan. As long as people can admire beauty without gawking like they do in other parts of the Muslim world, what harm is there in admiring beauty? By the way, I think the days of oggling, gawking and staring is noticed less in Lahore because the city has assumed a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan flair. The infrastructure including roads, bridges and new developments are certainly made Lahore the most dynamic, developing, stable and peaceful city in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Dani

    Oh! How could you forget “garma garam shira me dobkian lagati hoi GULAB JAMUN”Recommend

  • Lahori

    @Muhammad: Stop trolling and get a life, such negativity on such a nice article.

    Author u have made my day, I will surely have the Sardar fish tomorrow, yum yum. Followed by Kashmiri chai@Paki Paki Pardesi :)Recommend

  • Umair A. Khan

    Very nice, very nice. How much?Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    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.

    I am from Amritsar and I never heard of Hareesa. BTW what is Hareesa? and that too Amaritsari Hareesa.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Umair A. Khan: How Much?

    Machhi (Siddique): 460 Rs/kg (serves 4ish)
    Sabz Chai: 40 Rs/cup, 80 Rs/Wadda pyala
    Halwa: 240-320 Rs/kg
    Halwa Puri: 15-20 Rs/piece (halwa chanay complimentary)
    Hareesa: Single person serving 100 Rs
    Oranges (good ones): 8-10 Rs per peice
    Coffee and Icecream: Hasb e dukaan
    Drive: CNG N/A. Petrol 103 Rs/Ltr. (Better you use Mideastern rates)
    Walk: FreeRecommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Raj:

    There was a good number of Kashmiris who had settled in Amritsar in British era and a lot of them migrated to Lahore at the time of partition. So ‘Amritsari’ in Lahore often means ‘Kashmiri’.

    Hareesa is somewhat similar to haleem. Although our dish is a bit different from the Mid eastern one in terms of spices, but this wiki page gives a fair idea of it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harees Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Dani:
    You are right. How could I forget it. I think a piece exclusively about desserts in Lahore is in order!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Sterry:
    You’ve got some compelling arguments there. And your love for Lahore is commendable!Recommend

  • kHaN

    Wow! I am kindda desperate to go to Lahore for vocations. Heard that Lahore’s a paradise for food-junkies like me.

    P.S. Thumbs up to Mr. Aleem Zubair. We want more bearded people in the ET. Enough with liberals! Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @kHaN:
    Interesting observation Khan Sb. Although some might consider it ‘facial profiling’ (our local version of ‘racial profiling’).Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/AreeshZubair Areesh Zubair

    thanx for appreciating the PHOTOGRAPHY Everyone…!! !!Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    @Aleem:

    While many amritsari kashmiri muslims did migrate to Lahore in 1947 but vast majority of kashmiri muslims in lahore are local and residing there for many centuries.Recommend

  • stranger

    Will some one give me the recepie for Kashmiri tea please.Never had it in my life.Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    @Aleem: Thanks Aleem, your explanation makes sense.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @gujranwala789:
    Yes that’s right. And its the same for many other cities, including Gujranwala!Recommend

  • Muhammad

    @Lahori:

    Pai jaan article is good as far as reading is concerned but reality is bitter !!! Negativity or reality??? Recommend

  • http://blue.pk kamran ahmad kami

    first one is my favorite :) Recommend

  • http://oly.com.pk amjad bhukari

    third yummy :PRecommend

  • Munda Lahori

    arfter reading this blog, I had, Kashmari Chaye about 4 times, had Hareesa last night, and Halwa Puri for breakfast, now i am planing to go out for Pathay ka halwa, – Good going Mr Writer, Karcha krwa dia app nayRecommend

  • Ahsan

    Excellent article.. Some of the mentioned tips definitely make winters more enjoyable… Though i think Siddique, Sardar and Amratsari Hareesha on Nisbat Road would be particularly happy with the free publicity they are getting :)Recommend

  • Sarah Fazal

    Garam aanday toh aap bhool hi gai :D ! Good work!Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    and kebabs?Recommend

  • Ammar Shafique

    Hi Aleem. I did not know you are a blogger. But i am happy Chartered Accountants blog as well :pRecommend

  • Muhammad

    @Munda Lahori:

    Mind your Cholestrol Munda !Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Sarah Fazal:
    Didn’t forget ‘Garam Aanday’ completely. Have mentioned them in an unsolicited comment up there.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @RAW is WAR: Kebab (especially Bhaiyya Kabab) are a amazing in winter too. Refer to my previous blog for details on that.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/aleemzubair Aleem

    @Ammar Shafique:
    So now you know! I am not the only chartered accountant here though. And also, I am not the only one from our firm here.Recommend

  • Fizza Rizvi

    Hey, you missed mong phali? I can’t enjoy winter without themRecommend

  • Munda Lahori

    @Muhammad:
    Like the writer said
    ” Don’t count calories; count your blessings!”
    Lahori orr Roti choor dy aisa ho ni shktaRecommend

  • ss

    Nothing can beat Karachi’s sardi, where you go out in a single shirt, and say aaj bari sardi hai yar :p :pRecommend

  • Salman

    I remember last time I visited Pakistan a few years back, my cousin took me to Sardar’s machli. I met the man himself. The fish was perhaps the best snack, I had out of all the eateries I visited. His fish was truly something else.

    “Come on Lahories, Come on Lahories” – one pound fish!Recommend

  • Majid khan

    Aleem bhai late night liberty parathy bhool gaye, chicken cheese paratha, aalu waly Recommend