Multan is one of the most ancient cities of Asian sub-continent. Its history can be traced back to the times of Mahabharata war. It has always been a camping place of warriors; Muhammad bin Qasim, the great Musilm warrior also stayed at Multan during his campaigns. The place where he stayed is now known as Qasim Bela town. There is a famous Persian saying about Multan “Gard, Garma wa Goristan”.
While some take its meaning as Multan as the ‘City of Saints, Sufis and Beggars’ others say it is Dust, Heat and Graveyards. Though, you will no longer found saints or Sufis in Multan but you will find lot Sufis tombs and graveyards. And there is no doubt about the dust and heat! The heat is unbearable during the days in summer but the temperature gets moderate during the evenings. Multan’s old city portion is just like interior Lahore; same narrow streets with old houses. But Multan’s garrison area is well-built and open unlike the congested Lahore garrison.
My story with Multan starts in the summer of 2000. My Dad was stationed in Multan and we had moved from the military capital of Pakistan, Rawalpindi. My father and I always love to discover the hidden areas of cities where we move to. Traveling in our good old green Vespa scooter we saw every bit of Multan, from the Muzzafargarh road to Bahawalpur Road, from Bohar gate in interior Multan to Delhi gate, from Hussain Agahi bazaar to Saddar bazaar. We saw almost every place of Multan (Petrol costed Rs. 25-30 per litre in those days). One thing everyone knows is that you can while travelling, you come across different types of food, and same was the case with us. As we travelled around Multan, we found different types of restaurants. During my half-decade long stay at Multan, I had the pleasure of eating at almost every scrumptious eatery of Multan. Now I’ve written this article to share my experience! I hope you will like and it will be helpful if you intend to visit Multan sometime soon!
Well. Afghani kebabs are popular everywhere! They are tasty and they are small, everyone like to have them! In Multan small sized Afghani kebabs are served with brown rice, Roti and Chutney. And they are enjoyable!
Baba Ice-cream and ‘Toshas’ of Saddar
When coming to deserts and sweets of Multan, Baba ice-creams serves as the premier ice-cream parlor of Multan. Even Ex-Pakistan President General (R) Pervez Musharraf used to specially order ice-cream from Baba Ice-cream during his visits to Multan as President.
Multan is famous for its ‘Sohan-Halwa’ but very few people know that Multan has another dessert known as ‘Toshas‘. Toshas are just Gulab jamans but it has different taste and shape. It resembles for BBQ meat in shape. You will forget Gulab jamans after eating them.
Chicken Pulao & Cholas of Saddar
There was a time when there only used to be chicken Pulao in Punjab but now you will found Briyani fever everywhere. I’ve not been able to find a single chicken Pulao seller in Lahore. But if you are in Multan and you love to eat Pulao then Multan Saddar is the place. Here there is a street where a portion of it has been occupied by Pulao restaurants (I’ve forgotten the street’s name but I remember that Kamran Stationery shop is located in that street). The Pulao is served with shredded boiled chicken; Channas and Shami Kebabs are optional. In 2003/4 a plate of channas costed Rs.6 while Pulao costed Rs. 15-20 (Cheap times!)
Apart from these shops, there is a Pulao shop behind the cinema in cantonment whose Pulao gets finished by 1 PM. The Pulao with chicken pieces used to cost Rs. 60-70 in 2003! But the Pulao is really divine!
Delhi Nihari and Qorma
People say Muhammadi Nihari is the best Nihari ever but those people have never tried Nihari and Qorma of Delhi Nihari. Located in the heart of Multan Saddar, Delhi Nihari serves one of the best Nihari and Qorma in Pakistan.
Jedi Khan was a young boy who wanted to make his mark in films but unfortunately he couldn’t be successful in his attempts on the silver screen. Unemployed and disgusted, he opened a restaurant in the ground portion of his home in a narrow street near Holiday Inn hotel (now called Hospitality Inn). Initially his wife used to make food and Jedi used to sell it. The food was good and it soon became a food hot spot. Now, Jedi (almost 50 years old) has cooks who make food and waiters who serve the food at a small café or Dhaba. Almost everything made at Jedi’s restaurant is delicious but chicken Pulao with Shamis and Channas can be attributed as his speciallity. If you are veggie-lover then you will love his daily vegetable dishes with fresh oven bread (Roti).
One thing you will find abundantly besides dust in Multan are the restaurants offering hicken broast/roast. But if you are looking for the best broast then Shangrilla (it is located near Mall road) is the place! If you’re a Lahori then you’ll forget the Broast of Lahore! In 2005, a piece of chicken costed Rs.60/- so you can now imagine the quality of it!
Tasty Tikka Shop (TTS)
Tasty Tikka Shop aka TTS is the dream place for Mutton Karahi lover! They have a special taste! I’ve never eaten Karahi like theirs anywhere else in Pakistan! Alongwith all varieties of Karahi TTS also serve BBQ and traditional Pakistani dishes.
I know you are drooling now and making plans to Multan and eat at all these places! Multan also has some other great places to visit! So do make a plan to visit the capital of Southern Punjab!