PESHAWAR: Visitors continue to throng the popular Namak Mandi Food Street to enjoy traditional foods amid rain and chilly weather, as social media users appreciated Peshawar foods with warm comments.

The visitors from Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and tribal districts could be seen at the food streets set up at various locations in the city and enjoying the taste and flavour drenched in hospitality and warmth.

Experts on local tourism said that the number of people visiting the provincial metropolis had increased by 60 per cent since the onset of winter as many visitors from big cities and tribal districts rushed to Peshawar to enjoy the traditional food.

Ali Marjan, a salesman in Namak Mandi, told Dawn that Peshawar city had rarely witnessed such an enthusiastic crowd despite downpour and chilly weather. He said most of the visitors rushed to place orders for their favourite mutton karahi and barbecue, while others relished traditional kebab rolls sizzling in a big steal pot and sprinkled with juice of orange and lemon all over.

Mr Marjan said that one kilogramme of uncooked mutton was available at Rs1,700 and cooked mutton barbecue per kilo along with red bread, salad and raita had been served to visitors for Rs2,000. Peshawari Qehwa or green tea, and sweet dish could only complement taste of the diet, he stated.

Gulbat Momand, who runs a tea shop in Namak Mandi, said that unbelievable rush had been seen during the last two weeks in restaurants at the food sites. He said a small group of foreign visitors also showed up a week ago who filmed the restaurant service ethics and cleanliness and some of the foods, including pulao meat mountain and spicy kebab.

The food streets in Namak Mandi, University Town, Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Board Bazaar and Hashtnagri witnessed crowds of visitors as restaurants remained open till late in the night.

Experts believe such trend could prove beneficial for local restaurants and boosting soft image of the province.

Taj Rahman, owner of a food shop in Hashtnagri Bazaar, said it seemed Peshawar city was gradually reclaiming the status of a favourite tourist spot.

He said that he had been monitoring websites of the local food streets for the last three months where encouraging comments were being received regarding hospitality and food quality.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2022

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