Punjab – Your Ultimate Culinary Destination
LAHORE – The Punjab is home to the most diverse and richest cuisines in the world. The culture of catering and the love of traditional cuisine are deeply rooted in the Punjabis way of life.
The traditional range offers amazing staples such as vegetables, meat, breakfast, tandoori, meals, hot / cold drinks and sweets.
I believe the fundamental reason for its healthiness is the Punjab’s agricultural way of life, which dates back to 3,500 BC when the Harappan civilization emerged. It is the variety of agricultural production of the Harappan civilization that ultimately nourished the very ingredients of traditional cuisine. For example; The Harappans cultivated staple foods like wheat and rice, spices like mustard, and raised cattle like buffaloes and goats.
This laid the foundation for Punjab culture for centuries to come. Thus, it is the evolution of the whole range of agricultural products that has contributed and influenced the brilliance of Punjabi cuisine.
This is the very reason why it is known as the “breadbasket of Pakistan”. Although its agricultural products form the basis of its torch, the versatility of the single dish cooking methodology across the province makes it unique. Punjabi cuisine is the definitive blend of traditional and contemporary cuisine when it comes to cooking.
The predominant culture of foodie streets in the province’s urban settings has played a central role in this regard. I mean, who can refuse a quick service with the same aroma and taste of Punjabi or Karahi snacks. The Punjab enjoys four climatic seasons and each has its own delicacies to share with the ongoing cuisine for all seasons. Makki ki Roti with Sarson ka Saag, Lassi, Achaar and Gaajar ka Halwa are the best examples of seasonal culinary delights. Desi ghee or refined butter is used in most traditional dishes along with the various Punjabi spices.
The cultural diet in Punjab is similar to that of many Central Asian countries where bread and curry play a major role.
Besides the seasonal delicacies, the Punjab is also full of regional culinary specialties. In the Saraiki belt, Sohan Halwa, Multani Lamb Chops and Sohbat are popular all over the country.
During your stay in the central Punjab; Kasuri Falooda, Karrahi, Siri Paye, Naan Chanay & Bund-Pluster from Lahore, Kulfi and BBQ from Gujranwala are famous. Likewise, Dhoda from Khushab, Halwapuri & Burfi from Jhelum and Pulao & Tikkay from Rawalpindi are considered regional specialties. It is not only the wide array of food that makes Punjab an ultimate food destination, but also food culture.
Conversing about the restaurant culture, the exoticism and the purity of the traditional food of the rural Punjab of the Potohar in the south of the Punjab is much celebrated.
At the same time, the culture of Punjab’s food streets takes cooking to a whole new level.
This is the reason why Punjabi cuisine has spread throughout Europe, Australia, the Middle East and the United States.
The peculiarity that has contributed massively to its large-scale presence is its variety in tandoori cuisine. Traditionally, Tandoors (clay ovens) were used for baking bread, but now the term has evolved on a commercial scale for all types of baking.
A variety of breakfasts such as Halwa-Puri, Paaye, Nihari and Naan Chanaas, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for lunch and a full range of Tikka, Kebabs and Karahis for dinner make Punjabi cuisine healthy. The raw but extravagant aroma of Punjabi cuisine is supported by its organic ingredients, including the species. In recent decades, the Punjab has seen a surge in street food culture. Across the province, there is hardly any city that does not have its own food street. Among all, the gastronomic streets of Gawalmandi and Fort Road in Lahore stand out as the main food centers in the province. Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan attracts thousands of local visitors as well as foreigners to experience the essence of traditional gastronomy.
Here are some examples of prominent international Vloggers who have sampled different cuisines from around the world by sharing their authentic experiences in Lahore;
“It’s a place unlike any place in the world. It’s different. “Joe Hattab
“Lahore is the ultimate foodie destination.” Trevor James
“It really is endless fascination and excitement. You can walk around, the people are friendly and you can smell the food. Marc Wiens
Their response confirms the potential of culinary tourism in Punjab. Hopefully a day will come when culinary tourism will be properly marketed with rural tourism to provide visitors with the true essence of Punjabi cuisine. Government interventions such as the Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project (PTEGP) can contribute significantly in this regard.