As the sun dips below the horizon, roadside eateries and stalls offering soups, broths and Kashmiri pink tea spring up across the garrison city as they seek to make the most of the change of weather and the ensuing change in food preferences.
In commercial centres and small corners across the city, these stalls are in the midst of a flurry of activity drawing large crowds. This continues late in the night including on the corners of both small and large markets across the city.
As in the case of everything else, the prices of winter offerings have also experienced a surge compared to last year.
A cup of Kashmiri tea costs Rs20 to Rs25 more as compared to last season. This season, one cup was being sold for between Rs175 to Rs190. Meanwhile, Peshawari tea and Quetta kehwa were available for Rs50 each. Notably, the pricing adjustments extend to other items as well.
A bowl of plain soup costs Rs160, while an egg-topped bowl ranges between Rs170 to Rs180. A bowl of chicken corn soup costs Rs200. This was around Rs150 last year. A small bowl of broth costs Rs110, while a bigger bowl was being sold for around Rs180.
Another popular winter street food is fish, which has also witnessed a surge in demand. Hawkers selling fish, including fried, remains extremely popular. This year, roasted fish was also available with prices ranging between Rs1000 to Rs1800 per kg.
Other treats such as samosas, pakoras and French fries that are available the year round also witnessed an increase in prices, with samosas retailed at Rs650 per dozen, while chicken samosas were priced at Rs750 per dozen.
Even the minimum price for French fries has gone up from Rs50 to Rs60.
A plate of fried, sliced potatoes costs between Rs100 and Rs150, which continues to be one of the most popular street foods in the garrison city.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th2023.