Street food vending varies with culture and religion but is commonly found all around the world. The food lovers are found to have strong acquaintance with these portable food stalls and hawkers. The ready to eat food by the road side hold the roots in Pakistan since ages. Food vendors in open streets, markets and public places serve thousands of hungry office workers, shop keepers, students and employees.
Some very popular road side scrumptious Pakistani street food includes chana chaat, fruit chaat, bun kabab, masala fries, daal chawal, sandwiches, BBQ rolls, Pani puri, jalebi, dahi baray, sweet potato, corn on the cob, roasted chick peas, BBQ liver, biryani, haleem, sugarcane juice, squashes, lemonade etc. In winters there is a special addition of roasted peanuts and chicken stock or yakhni on the streets. In Swat you will find boiled eggs and sweets made of dry fruits while Gujranwala’s popular street food is BBQ, fried or grilled chiras (birds). These food items represent and reflect the true culture and richness of the flavors in Pakistan. For this reason they have been an attraction for the tourists who visit Pakistan and comment positively on their travel blogs about the food they enjoy on the streets.
The popularity of road side hawkers has evolved the trends of Pakistani street food. Food vendors usually place their stalls in busy markets and streets where people from nearby gather and enjoy different varieties offered. Slowly this fashion was admired by the crowd and proper streets were allocated for these road side food sellers. Food parks and food courts were the next steps taken in the development of the changing trends of Pakistani street food. These areas are specifically dedicated for eating out on a street and buying food from these road side stalls. Typically pedestrianized food stalls, shops, hawkers and small restaurants are lined up serving different varieties of traditional and continental dishes.
Food streets have now become an important part of the social culture in cosmopolitan cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Dining out at such places is considered as fun and a medium of social interaction. The traditional dishes are offered at reasonable rates and provide a kind of entertainment for the family and friends. If we take a look at the recently developed food streets in Pakistan we can analyze the liking of such food and eating trend.
Gawalmandi Food Street of Lahore was the first popular food street in Pakistan and it was then followed by a food street in Islamabad with the name “Melody Food Street”. Another food street was developed at Anarkali for the food lovers in Lahore. Karachi had its very own food street since long; Burns Road Food Street has been a socializing and eating out point for families and friends for more than 50 years. Besides this the Boat Basin Food Street in Karachi and the recent additions of Port Grand Food Street and Do Darya Food Street are worth mentioning. These food streets offer something for everyone and they are no longer a hangout of just the middle class families but have turn out to be a socializing zone for all.