Old Anarkali Food Street: Lahore’s Oldest Culinary Pride 


Old Anarkali Food Street in Lahore is a bustling hub known for its mouthwatering dishes and vibrant atmosphere. Situated at the heart of the city, this food street has long been a favourite spot for locals and visitors looking to indulge in authentic Pakistani flavours.

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As you wander its lively lanes, the tantalising scent of grilled meats, spicy curries, and sweet treats fills the air, inviting you to explore the diverse culinary delights on offer. 

The food street’s charm lies not just in its delicious offerings but also in its rich history and cultural significance. Here, traditional recipes passed down through generations come to life, showcasing the unique blend of spices, techniques, and flavours that define Lahori cuisine.

Whether you’re a food lover seeking new gastronomic experiences or simply looking to soak up the vibrant ambiance, Old Anarkali Food Street promises a memorable and flavourful journey through Pakistan’s culinary landscape. 

Graana.com has prepared a detailed guide on Old Anarkali Food Street, mentioning its historical roots and the must try dishes for visitors. 


Historical Roots of Old Anarkali Food Street


Historical Roots of Old Anarkali Food Street 


Originally known for its vibrant market and historical significance, Anarkali has been a hub of activity for centuries. Named after Anarkali, a legendary courtesan, the area was historically renowned for its bazaars, where traders, artisans, and locals would converge, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with commerce, culture, and community. 


Transformation into a Culinary Destination 

Over the years, Anarkali began to transform, with its narrow lanes and bustling bazaars giving way to a burgeoning food scene. What started as a few food stalls gradually evolved into a dedicated food street, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The aroma of spices, sizzling grills, and sweet delights permeated the air, signalling a culinary renaissance in the heart of Lahore. 


Diverse Culinary Offerings 

As Anarkali Food Street gained prominence, it began to attract chefs and culinary enthusiasts eager to showcase Lahore’s diverse culinary heritage. From traditional Lahori dishes like Nihari, Haleem, and Chargha to regional specialties and international cuisines, the food street became a melting pot of flavours, textures, and aromas. Each dish served told a story, reflecting age-old recipes, techniques, and traditions passed down through generations. 


Cultural and Economic Impact 

Beyond its gastronomic offerings, Anarkali Food Street played a pivotal role in preserving and promoting Lahore’s cultural heritage. The street became a symbol of unity, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate their shared love for food, culture, and community. Moreover, the food street generated economic opportunities, providing employment to countless individuals and boosting tourism in the region. 


Modern-Day Relevance 

Today, Anarkali Food Street continues to evolve, embracing modern trends while preserving its historical charm. Renovations, festivals, and culinary events have breathed new life into the area, attracting a new generation of food enthusiasts. Yet, amidst the changes, the essence of Anarkali remains unchanged – a vibrant, bustling hub where flavours converge, stories unfold, and memories are made. 


Food Vendors and Stalls 

Food Vendors and Stalls 

The food street is adorned with a plethora of stalls and vendors, each offering their own unique specialties. “Waris Nihari” is another standout, known for its mouthwatering nihari (slow-cooked beef stew) that’s been winning hearts for generations. The secret lies in their age-old recipe and the skilful use of spices. 

Walking through these stalls, you’ll also notice the bustling atmosphere – the clinking of dishes, the sizzle of grills, and the lively chatter of patrons. It’s not just a place to eat; it’s an experience that engages all your senses. 


Cultural and Social Experience 

Beyond the food, the Old Anarkali Food Street offers a glimpse into Lahore’s rich culture and social life. It’s a place where people from all walks of life come together, creating a melting pot of experiences. Families, friends, and solo travellers gather around shared tables to relish the diverse flavours and engage in hearty conversations. 

The food street often hosts cultural events and festivities, making it an integral part of Lahore’s social calendar. The vibrant energy of the place and the warm hospitality of the vendors contribute to an unforgettable experience. 


Must-Try Foods in Old Anarkali Food Street 

Must-Try Foods in Old Anarkali Food Street 

Old Anarkali Food Street in Lahore, Pakistan, is renowned for its rich culinary heritage and delightful dishes that have been passed down through generations. Here’s a list of 10 must-try foods when you visit this historic food street: 


Now, if you’re wandering around Old Anarkali and that irresistible aroma of fried chicken hits you, it’s probably the Chargha. Chefs take a whole chicken, give it a spicy marinade bath, and then deep-fry it until it’s crispy and golden. The best part? Breaking into that crispy skin and tasting the juicy meat inside. A side of tangy chutney takes this dish to the next level. 



Haleem is like a warm hug on a plate. Imagine a thick, creamy mixture of wheat, lentils, and meat, all slow cooked to perfection. The magic happens when spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves blend in, creating a rich aroma. Topped with fried onions, a sprinkle of fresh coriander, and a squeeze of lemon, it’s comfort food at its best. 




Nihari isn’t just a dish; it’s a tradition in Lahore. Picture this: beef or mutton that’s been simmering overnight with spices like cloves, bay leaves, and garam masala. The result? A flavourful stew that’s rich and hearty. When it’s ready, locals can’t resist pairing it with fresh, fluffy naan. Don’t forget the garnishes! Thinly sliced ginger, green chilies, and coriander add that perfect finishing touch. 



Lassi is more than just a drink; it’s a tradition. On hot Lahori days, there’s nothing better than sipping on this yogurt-based beverage. Whether you prefer it sweet with a hint of sugar or tangy with a sprinkle of salt and cumin, Lassi is the go-to drink for cooling down and refreshing yourself. 



Sheermal stands out with its unique taste. This bread is a bit sweet, thanks to a touch of saffron and sugar. Baked in a traditional tandoor, it’s soft, fluffy, and pairs perfectly with spicy curries and kebabs. Locals love it for breakfast or as a side with their main meals. 


Seekh Kebab 

The Seekh Kebab is all about that smoky flavour. Imagine minced meat mixed with spices, shaped onto skewers, and grilled to perfection over hot coals. The result is a juicy, flavourful kebab that’s a favourite among locals. Dip it in mint chutney, and you’re in for a treat. 


Phajjay Ke Paye

Phajjay Ke Paye 

Starting your day with Phajjay Ke Paye is a Lahori tradition. The dish features tender trotters simmered in a spicy broth until they’re melt-in-your-mouth soft. Served with naan or kulcha, it’s a hearty breakfast that gives you the energy to start your day right. 


Fruit Chaat 

For a refreshing snack, Fruit Chaat is the way to go. It’s a colourful mix of seasonal fruits tossed with tangy tamarind sauce, chaat masala, and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Fresh mint leaves on top add a burst of flavour, making it a favourite snack among locals. 




To wrap up your culinary journey, Falooda is a must-try dessert. Imagine layers of rose syrup, vermicelli noodles, basil seeds, and chilled milk coming together in a glass. Topped with a scoop of ice cream and nuts, it’s a sweet treat that leaves a lasting impression. 

Old Anarkali Food Street in Lahore is a treasure trove of flavours, with each dish telling a story of tradition, taste, and culinary excellence. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these dishes promise a memorable dining experience.


Tips for Visitors 

If you’re planning a visit to the Old Anarkali Food Street, here are some tips to make the most of your experience: 

  • Timing is Everything: Visit in the evening to enjoy the full culinary experience as the street comes to life. 
  • Budget Wisely: The food is affordable, so be prepared to indulge in a variety of dishes. 
  • Be Adventurous: Don’t hesitate to try dishes you’ve never heard of; this is the place to be daring with your taste buds. 

Preservation Efforts 

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to preserve the historical and cultural significance of the Old Anarkali Food Street. Efforts have been made to maintain its authenticity while accommodating the practical needs of a bustling urban environment. It’s a delicate balance that requires careful planning and consideration. 



Old Anarkali Food Street stands out as a popular spot in Lahore known for its variety of delicious food. Many locals and visitors come here to enjoy traditional Pakistani dishes like Nihari, Chargha, and Sheermal. The street’s bustling atmosphere and diverse food options make it a go-to place for anyone looking to experience authentic Lahori cuisine. Whether you’re a food lover or just curious about local flavours, Old Anarkali Food Street offers a tasty and memorable experience that highlights the best of Pakistani food culture. 


FAQs About Old Anarkali Food Street 

The following are the most frequently asked questions about the Old Anarkali Food Street:


What makes Old Anarkali Food Street unique? 

Old Anarkali Food Street stands out due to its rich historical roots and authentic Lahori cuisine. It’s not just about the food; it’s a cultural experience that offers a blend of traditional recipes, vibrant ambiance, and community spirit, making it a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike. 


Are there any specific dishes or stalls that are a must-try at Old Anarkali Food Street? 

Yes, there are several must-try dishes at Old Anarkali Food Street, including Nihari, Chargha, Haleem, Lassi, Sheermal, Seekh Kebab, and more. Additionally, stalls like “Waris Nihari” are renowned for their specialties, offering mouthwatering dishes that have stood the test of time. 


What is the best time to visit Old Anarkali Food Street for the full experience? 

The best time to visit Old Anarkali Food Street is in the evening when the street comes alive with vibrant energy, sizzling grills, and aromatic flavours. This time allows visitors to immerse themselves fully in the culinary delights and vibrant atmosphere that the food street has to offer. 


How has Old Anarkali Food Street evolved over the years, and what efforts are being made for its preservation? 

Over the years, Old Anarkali Food Street has evolved from a bustling market of Lahore to a dedicated culinary destination, adapting to meet modern demands while preserving its historical charm. Efforts are being made to maintain its authenticity, with initiatives focused on preserving its cultural heritage, accommodating practical needs, and ensuring its relevance for future generations of food enthusiasts. 

For more details visit Graana blog. 

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