Now you might be thinking bacon and eggs is a full protein heavy meat breakfast…

But wait until you have nihari!

Nihari is a rich stew from the Indian subcontinent, loaded with fall apart meat, ladles of desi ghee (clarified butter), and with a few extra goodies like bone marrow or brains.

When you’re in Pakistan, nihari is the breakfast of champions, and here’s one of the best places to eat it in Lahore.

Waris Nihari in Lahore
Chefs waiting to amaze your tastebuds at Waris Nihari in Lahore

So. You’re in Pakistan. Things are Looking Great.

You’re waking up in the exciting city of Lahore. Things are already going very well, because it means you have a chance to wake up to have Nihari.

When it comes to Pakistani cuisine, this dish is a champion. I would easily consider it a contender for one of the ‘Best Breakfasts I’ve ever had Anywhere in the World.’

We had Nihari a few times, and I must say that my worldview was changing a little bit each time. My favorite of all though, was in the Gawalmandi Market area, at Waris Nihari, open since 1960.

Red Nihari at Waris Nihari
The red oil is colored by the addition of so many dry spices

Nihari is like a mellow spice filled stew – the chef frying heaps of dry spices in vegetable oil and animal fat. Stirring ingredients all together in a pot so large that the chef has to stand on a chair, it was so exciting to peer over the side and look in on the stew.

The consistency is oozing and thick, full of ultra-tender chunks of meat literally floating in desi ghee, all colored a deep red from so much spiced oil.

The thing I love so much about the Lahori version of this dish (and pretty much every other edible in Lahore) is the liberal amount of desi ghee present in every stage of creation.

Beef Nihari in Lahore
Beef shank and bonus chunks of beef marrow, submerged in Desi Ghee

Liberal Portions of Sizzling Hot Desi Ghee

Just before serving, another smaller metal pan of desi ghee is heating separately, infused with ginger, and the chef ladles on the sizzling rich butter, hissing as it hits whichever chunk of meat is lucky enough to be on top.

nihari
Serious meat and butter!

Tender Strips of Beef Shank and Rich Masala

Usually using beef shank, each strip is so tender you can literally pull it apart using only a spoon. Besides beef, it is also popular to have the dish with mutton – which in Pakistan is actually goat meat.

Now you should always test your food, like a bowl or noodles, or nihari before you season it. At Waris Nihari you can feel the thick texture of the stew, almost gravy like, with accents of nutmeg, fennel and black pepper.

best nihari lahore
Season with ginger, chilies, and lime

But one of the greatest reasons to eat nihari, along with being a hardcore dose of meat and butter, is to season it with plenty of sliced ginger, chilies, and a squeeze of lime juice.

The seasoning really bumps up the flavor and gives the dish a contrast.

Check out my Pakistan travel guide!

Eating Nihari on Stainless Steel tables in Lahore
Street side seating for a Breakfast of Champions

Nalli Nihari (Brains) is Not For The Faint of Heart

The richness of Nihari is simply hard to describe. This is not a dish for the faint of heart, but nor is it a dish that needs to strike fear in a traveler wary of street food.

The water and oil in the curry broth boil for hours, killing any harmful bacteria. Aside from possibly excessively large amounts of oil, Nihari was always very clean.

Waris Nihari serving Lahore since 1960
Many restaurants in Pakistan have been cooking the same recipes now for several generations

Final Notes:

Each plate of Nihari costs anywhere from 500-800 PKR (US$4-6), our entire meal cost 2400 PKR. The basket of fresh puffy tandoori roti bread which comes with the meal is free of charge.

For any residents of Lahore who are serious about food (which in my experience means all of them), nihari stands out among a long list of foods worth waking up for.

For me, its even a dish worth traveling for.

And here, let me just take another opportunity to thank our friend Ali Naqi Hamdani from Pakistan Travel Mart. Thanks not only for his incredible restaurant selections during this big first day in Lahore, but also for his help in making our entire trip to Pakistan possible.

Waris Nihari
Address: 7 Abkari Rd, Urdu Bazar Anarkali, Lahore, Punjab 54000, Pakistan (google map)
Open hours: 8 am – 2 am daily (may close in the middle of the day)
Prices: We had 3 bowls and plenty of accompaniments for 2400 PKR

24 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Wahid kalo

    5 days ago

    Please send me more info
    To get the passport

  • Suheil ayoub

    6 days ago

    Can i have more details to to have the singapore citizens

  • Asra Kidwai

    1 week ago

    Great show!
    It’s really nice to see you exploring my city,my country’s cuisine 🙂

  • Aajtak live

    1 week ago

    Nice mark

  • Wahid

    2 weeks ago

    Can you send more info pls

  • Mohamad El Hajj

    2 weeks ago

    I’d like to migrate to Singapore
    What is the process

  • Waleed Zaman

    2 weeks ago

    Waris Nihari looks great,gonna try it for sure!

  • Waleed Zaman

    2 weeks ago

    Waris Nihari looks great,gonna try for sure!

  • Larry Irabor

    2 weeks ago

    How much do are have to invest to be a citizen?

  • Ziad Chamma

    2 weeks ago

    Hi please send me more information about the sangaphorian passport

  • Naveed Ajaz

    3 weeks ago

    When I was a kid my mum took me to Pakistan (Lahore as that’s where my family is from originally) and my uncle took me to one of these street vendors to have Nihari… There’s so much specialists foods in Lahore. It really is a foodies dream

    • Joel Bruner

      3 weeks ago

      Naveed, thank you so much for the support and comments. Yes, Lahore was a foodies dream and more, it was just a great place to visit, a lovely town.

  • Matthew Bailey

    4 weeks ago

    Wow, this looks like a really hearty breakfast. Thanks for sharing. Hope to make it there one day and try it in the homeland 🙂

  • ak

    4 weeks ago

    i currently reside in the u.s.; i cannot wait to see someone on the street or in the store who is wearing one of mark’s shirts; i haven’t yet; that would be a thrill!

  • ak

    4 weeks ago

    just amazing and impressive

    mark went out on his own with a camera and wondrous kid like heart … and ended up creating something way more exhilarating and quality based than tv shows ever manage to; what a shame! simple, humble, void of pomp …

    from the comments that people from all around the world leave it is clear that for many it is a celebrated family affair to follow mark
    great job, man!

  • Mrs.Usman

    4 weeks ago

    Mouth watring. …….yum yum. I miss pakistan

  • ak

    4 weeks ago

    slightly off subject

    really enjoying small details – that mark captures – like a blinker in the car, exiting or getting into the car, shoes, legs of a chair in a remote place … just basic small details of an every day life of just a simple human being, a human race … adds depth and at the same time simplicity
    mark always notices small details; always pays attention to his son and wife; no matter what

  • Abdul Basit

    4 weeks ago

    Amazing work your love of food and the description of taste is brilliant

  • Yohanes

    4 weeks ago

    Jon

  • Jaspal Singh

    4 weeks ago

    It seems like Delhi or Amritsar type of food.

    • Ahmad P

      4 weeks ago

      Its Beef, so you can very well decide which city type food it is.

  • Shaziya

    4 weeks ago

    Thank you Mark for visiting Pakistan,can’t wait for the third episode of your visit.

  • KA

    4 weeks ago

    Without any doubt it is best nihari in town. I can smell it all the way in canada😊

  • Mohammed Asif

    4 weeks ago

    In future you gotta make a trip to multan. City of saints. Summer for the best mangoes in the world. All round year is Hafiz ka sohn halwa. Made out of pure desi ghee. You made a start so many other places in Pakistan.