Now you might be thinking that bacon and eggs is a full-of-protein and heavily-meaty breakfast…

I think I can guarantee your outlook will change, after your first time to have ‘nihari‘!

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

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

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.

Its always a good idea to taste-test before seasoning, whether its a simple soup broth full of noodles you’re eating, or this mini-breakfast platter of beef – at Waris Nihari you can feel the thick texture of the stew, almost gravy like, taste it and enjoy the accents of nutmeg, fennel, and black pepper, before you add on more seasoning yourself.

best nihari lahore
Season with ginger, chilies, and lime

One of the greatest reasons to eat nihari, along with being a hardcore dose of meat and butter, is truly the seasoning – so now its time to add in huge amounts of ginger, chilies, and finally a squeeze of the juice from a lime or two.

The seasoning really bumps up the flavor, and gives this already amazing dish a contrast that’s nothing less than mind-blowing.

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 to those travelers who may be wary of eating street food.

The water and oil in the curry broth boil for hours (maybe even a day!), easily killing any harmful bacteria that may be inside. Aside from (at times) excessive amounts of oil or butter, Nihari is a clean food.

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 at Waris Nihari cost 2400 PKR (fresh and puffy tandoori roti comes with the meal free of charge).

Surely for any residents of Lahore, but in my opinion any traveler out there serious about breakfasts of hearty food, nihari stands out among a long list of foods worth waking up for.

For me, Nihari is even a dish worth traveling for, and I hope you add it to your ‘Food Bucket List’ today.

Thank You!

And here, let me just take another opportunity to thank our friend Ali Naqi Hamdani from Pakistan Travel Mart.

Thanks to Ali, not only for his incredible restaurant selections 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

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

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  • Subrato

    2 months ago

    Reading this post, I realized that there are manything unknown. Thank you.

  • Julia Mia

    9 months ago

    Nice Blog and it is really very knowledgeable…keep posting blog like that.

  • Joel Bruner

    9 months ago

    Hi Anna, thanks for the message! Cheers

  • Keiran Potter

    10 months ago

    This looks beautiful and now I am hungry. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  • Ahmad

    1 year ago

    Oh nehari, my favourite dish, bar none! Oddly enough the worst I’ve had was in Lahore quite some time ago, the Food Street one was a bizarre cylindrical bundle of meat strips in the middle of a plate of thin gravy. However there are plenty of good places locally (Manchester, UK) that serve a good nehari. Next time I’m in Lahore (my ancestral home as my parents were born there) I may visit this place, but it’s in the old city, and I’m not a fan of hustle and bustle of that area, age and softie Brit life style have taken their toll on my tolerance of the place. The solution is to send someone to go and get it for you, it won’t quite be as fresh, but it will do.
    It is worthy of note that the Lahori breakfast is something you were meant to have to get you ready for working the fields in 40 degree temperatures, not to go to work in an office!
    Nice article, will read more of your entries.

    • Joel Bruner

      1 year ago

      Well, first of all, I am very happy to read this comment (as its obvious you love Nihari!) but I can’t believe that you’ve only these negative experiences with Nihari in Pakistan! Im sure on your next trip it is worth trying again, and Im sure you will love it! All the best, thanks again for your in-depth reading and sending of such a response, take care, and safe travels home!

  • Nikola

    2 years ago

    Very nice post thanks for sharing keep it up.

  • hifza jabbar

    2 years ago

    its been a pleasure that u LOVE PAKISTAN

  • Wahid kalo

    2 years ago

    Please send me more info
    To get the passport

  • Suheil ayoub

    2 years ago

    Can i have more details to to have the singapore citizens

  • Asra Kidwai

    2 years ago

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

  • Aajtak live

    2 years ago

    Nice mark

  • Wahid

    2 years ago

    Can you send more info pls

  • Mohamad El Hajj

    2 years ago

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

  • Waleed Zaman

    2 years ago

    Waris Nihari looks great,gonna try it for sure!

  • Waleed Zaman

    2 years ago

    Waris Nihari looks great,gonna try for sure!

  • Larry Irabor

    2 years ago

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

  • Ziad Chamma

    2 years ago

    Hi please send me more information about the sangaphorian passport

  • Naveed Ajaz

    2 years 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

      2 years 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

    2 years 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

    2 years 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

    2 years 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

    2 years ago

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

  • ak

    2 years 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

    2 years ago

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

  • Yohanes

    2 years ago

    Jon

  • Jaspal Singh

    2 years ago

    It seems like Delhi or Amritsar type of food.

    • Ahmad P

      2 years ago

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

  • Shaziya

    2 years ago

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

  • KA

    2 years ago

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

  • Mohammed Asif

    2 years 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.