Food and festivity are undoubtedly the two things Lahoris can’t get enough of. So, what happens when these two come together? You have ‘Lahore Eat.’
Being a big foodie myself, I have literally travelled to farthest places within the limits of the city, wherever I was told there was some nice food joint open. It’s so ‘serious’ that I have all my trips planned and timed around the availability of local cuisines. Thanks to the ever evolving food industry, the interest of aspiring businessmen, and the rich cultural history that Lahore boasts of, you can find a variety of food outlets in different areas. And, then there are the essentially elitist Haryali and Farmers’ markets focused on healthy and organic food stuff. Lahore Eat Festival is more public-friendly, and that’s why it wins me over every time it takes place in the city. This month, it returned for the fifth year running, and I just couldn’t wait to check it out.
Lahore Eat 2018 attracted huge family crowds, on the three days that it was held. It featured more than 80 kiosks, ranging from Japanese cuisines to Thai food, fast food, local delicacies — you name it. There were Mr Waffels, The Bawarchi, Aussie Grill, Delish Pizza Bar, Lahorelicious, Crepe D’affaire, Ban Kabab, Ice Curls, Nisa Sultan, Noodle Woodle, G.Y.M, Karamel Cookies, Arabi’s, and so many others.
Another good thing (to my mind) this year was the choice of venue. The festival had been set up inside the Fortress Stadium; this meant maximum security. Though, some people found the presence of the security teams as rather intimidating. I believe the arrangements were better (compared to last year’s event), and the arena offered greater space. Or, perhaps, it was because the stalls had been arranged in way that people could move around easily.
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Lahore Eat 2018 also offered musical performances for the entertainment of the visitors. The performers included Akhtar Chanal, Ali Azmat, Asim Azhar, Aura, Fuzion, and Asrar, among others.
Although this edition of Lahore Eat was definitely improved, the people attending the event had a few suggestions for the management. Saira Ali, 21, said, “It’s a wonderful event to be at. From food to music, I and my friends are loving everything. But I think that most of the brands that are brought here are far too expensive. They could’ve done with more affordable ones; this would make these stalls popular among the common people as well. Students like me felt left out for sure.”
Having said that, this year’s event saw a lot of diversity, in terms of the kind of people who showed up — this one clearly wasn’t for a particular class or age group. From young teens to older people, you could find them all here.
Omar Hadi, 12, who was attending the festival accompanied by his grandfather and younger sister, said it was “the best [food event] I’ve ever been to. The cheese fries are my favourite, and those offered here are totally yummy.”
This year’s festival also had stalls displayed amazing arts and crafts. Lahore Eat concluded Sunday midnight, and the happy visitors returned to their places, already looking forward to another, maybe improved, edition of the festival next year.