Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lahore, Qaddafi Stadium Eateries and I

Whenever I visit Lahore, a place I was born and raised as a young man, I always want to walk over my footsteps and go place I had walked in my early childhood and youth. Not to mention the places where that 'special' food peculiar to Lahore is available. Recently while I was in Lahore and knowing my special appetite for the Lahori food, a few friends suggested me to go to Qaddafi Stadium eateries for a change.

Fazal Din Dera - scroll down to read more about it

Although, Qaddafi Stadium is the venue of many internal cricket matches, it is also famous now for many a eatery that have opened around it. I have known of these eateries but could never find time to go there. So I decided this time to give the place a try. Having met a few people and friends and finished with the 'sightseeing (which though was a nightmare due to excessive construction going on in Lahore),' I finally made it to Qaddafi Stadium eateries.

The first dish that was 'suggested' to me was the 'Desi Murgh cooked in Makhan (native chicken cooked in butter)' at the Butt (this word is in Urdu and not English as in in English the word may sound offensive). Well we waited for the delicacy anxiously, the taste was nto at all impressive. And while I was recommended by friend, I do not recommend to my readers. Though the taste of dishes in individual and many may not agree with me about mine disliking it. So have the dish at your own risk as I did not find any presence of butter in the dish, though the waiter insisted that they used butter really, which I doubted.

The next dish suggested to us was Balochi Sajji. So we left the Butts and went to the Balochi Sajji house. But since it was almost close to one at night, they had already been closed. So we moved on.

The next place was Fazal Haq Dera for 'Paye.' Well the place was exotically decorated with traditional colourful wooden 'peedha' ( a chair like thing with a low seat and specially carved wooden legs and back, pained in different hues), and 'charpoys' (beds made of specially carved legs supporting wooden frame bordering a set of knotted ropes).

The charpoy (near left with a rounded cushion) table and two peedhas like chairs

The decorated backs of the peedha

The charpoy with the round elongated cushion

We settled down in one of the set of two peedha and a charpoy and ordered the goats 'Paye' (ends of the goat legs). And while we waited and I took photos, there walked in Micky Mouse. Yeah a life sized Mickey Mouse in a bid to entertain us and divert our attention from waiting for our food.

So while we waited, I photographed the Micky Mouse with my family and Mickey in turn gave us some sweets as an appetizer. And then in the meantime the paye came. And the dish was extremely tasty, just like the way it was recommended, beside being sizzling hot and aromatic. And we really devoured on it till the lase drop of curry was artfully scooped away by the freshly baked naans

Paye dish with its sticky curry [Photo: Brainbank/Flickr]

I wish I had taken a photo of the dish. However, I am sharing a photo above to show how the dish looks like. Paye is highly delicious and nutritious like all other desi dishes, but carry uncountable calories. So those counting on calories should be careful in eating such rich foods.
Chicken Sajji being cooked by in-direct fire of burning wood

Beside Paye, Fazal Haq Dera is also famous for its Murgh Sajji (chicken stuffed with rice and cooked with indirect heat provided to it by from burning wood) and other delicacies like seekh kabab and chicken tikka etc. However, Fazal Haq Dera's specialty remains the paye dish which we devoured and enjoyed in the cold January morning, as it was almost 1:30 AM. 

But my description of Lahore's many eateries isn't over as yet. I will talk about Clint Eastwood's smoky guns in time.

All photos above, except paye, are taken by me and may not be used without prior permission
via Jaho Jalal