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A new mini food-street budding near Liberty Market

A PARALLEL food street for the middle and upper middle class is developing under the shadow of Liberty Market in the provincial metropolis, The News observed.

Here, sale of traditional pans (beetle leaf containing pieced beetle nut, rose scented sweetener or tobacco garnished rolls) and paratha rolls are helping a big food business to flourish.

The paratha rolls contain different kind of meet mostly chicken and cheese, salad and many other sauces. This item is now becoming a favourite of people instead of the Arabic food called shwarma in the town.

A large number of people prefer paratha rolls to the Arabic shwarma for having traditional taste, being cheaper and having some additional sauces such as imli and alloo bukhara chutney.

The market is situated right beside the Gulberg College for Women and the Gulberg Park. It opens up at dawn and keeps entertaining people until dusk. People from different classes visit the market mostly to eat paratha rolls or pans. However, a number of them also get a chance to eat other traditional dishes such as nihari, haleem, chaney, chicken etc. The market comprised only a few pan shops and a couple of small hotels that served the working class present in the Liberty Market and the nearby offices a few years back.

Nowadays, it has managed to catch a large number of customers from outside the area after a hotel named Karachi Silver Spoon introduced the famous paratha rolls of Karachi in the City of whose residents are famous for spending a massive sum of their total income upon hostelling and entertainment. The paratha rolls market started taking rush in the last few months and now it has reached peak where it is quite difficult to get a parking place in the same long street even if one visits the market at 2 am. The only way to be their and get served remains that one visits the place, order the paratha rolls and take a round of the street, come back and receive the packed paratha rolls order.

The place has become so famous that people now call it a mini-food street situated right in the heart of Gulberg. This place provides an opportunity to the residents of Muslim Town, Garden Town, Shah Jamal, Shadman, Jail Road, Cantonment, Defence, Gulberg, Johar Town, Model Town and many other nearby places to enjoy paratha rolls and pans. Issamuddin, a resident of Lahore Cantonment, said that he is a regular visitor to the mini-food street. He and his friends mostly visit the place during wee hours of the day after getting tired of studies and feeling hungry, he added. He further said this place is nearest to the cantonment area and, here, one could find almost all kinds of edibles throughout the night. This place also suits students well because everything is available here on quite cheaper rates.

He mentioned that most of his friends visited the place to eat paratha rolls, also purchase chicken, haleem or some other dishes for a change of taste. Issam stated they call the place a mini-food street mainly because all kind of traditional dishes are available here and it is closer to their localities as compared to food streets in Anarkali and Gawalmandi areas. Muhammad Baber, a resident of Garhi Shaho said that he is a working journalist and works at a media outlet situated closer to the place called by many of the visitors as mini food street. He added that he along with his other friends visit the street to eat paratha rolls together with a cup of tea and to smoke cigarettes in the place after getting off from the office late at night.

He further said that paratha rolls are getting famous among the locals and attract so many customers everyday that it has become a full food market that mostly serves its visitors with paratha rolls including other delicacies.

This market was so flourishing that one could find a massive rush on pan shops, public call offices, flower shops and different kinds of hotels while the market has also attracted so many street vendors who could be seen selling all kind of products including sunglasses, jewellery, decoration pieces and even socks and handkerchiefs throughout the night, he stated.

Baber added that the place is undoubtedly called a mini-food street as it provided more than half of Lahore with almost similar kind of things on very nominal charges as are available at the proper food streets. He further said most of the customers visiting the place belong to the middle class, as the food is cheaper and tastier for those who love traditional dishes. Gul Bano, a resident of Gulberg said that her family stay up all night as a habit. This has become almost like a culture as most of them indulge in studies, professional work or creating music nightlong and that they are regular visitors’t the street because they like the paratha rolls available there. She added that most of her family members now prefer paratha rolls over pizzas, burgers and shwarmas because the rolls carry a lot of extra flavour including imli that gave this dish an advantage upon other foreign foods. She stated that having bread fried in cooking oil gave the rolls an extra worth and taste while making it easier to eat and dig
est than the Arabic Shwarmas that had quite a dried bread and a few sauces other than meat and most of all, the dish attract people for having Desi taste.

The owner of Karachi Silver Spoon hotel, Tariq, told The News h e is running his hotel at the place for a decade but the business flourished with the introduction of paratha rolls that were famous in Karachi. He added he was not expecting that it would flourish to such an extent that makes the place a mini-food street. He further said that Lahorites appreciated paratha rolls more than expectations and now he has dozens of employees that work around the clock to keep serving the customers. His hotel serves a lot of other dishes including the Shwarmas and so was the case with other hotels, which are working in the street with similar names to attract the customers but most of the customers still liked to eat rolls, he expressed and maintained that space remained their major problem as it was quite difficult for the shop owners to entertain such a large number of visitors without proper sitting place.

It is pertinent to mention that a tussle between Gulberg Town administration, the mosque place and PHA continues time to time due to the massive activity as the government blames the hotels for encroachment in the area and creating problems for the local residents. However, Gulberg Town Officer (Regulation) Rizwan Chaudhry told The News that the flower shops and the hotels were tenants of the mosque and it was the mosque administration that protects their encroachment in the park and public places.

He added that the town administration continues operating against the encroachments in the area every now and then. Rizwan further said that the government never wanted to destroy a business opportunity and an entertainment place for public but the development of the place as a mini-food street was only possible if the hotel owners cooperate with government and then sit with the town administration and tell them their demands and problems.

Source: The News

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