Food in Pakistan: Stepping up to the plate
One province is beginning to take food safety seriously - will it last?
Something catches the eye on Anarkali Food Street in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.
Bakers are pulling nan bread out of a tandoor oven, just as they did when the 200-year-old bazaar was founded.
One detail, however, is strikingly contemporary: synthetic paper hairnets, in a vivid shade of green.
“We are worried about the food inspector,” explains Muhammad Aslam, as he wraps dough around a stone.
The feared scrutineers belong to the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) , the first agency of its kind in Pakistan.
Founded in 2011, it has its work cut out: some restaurants use rancid cooking oil, keep raw chicken on the floor or try to pass off donkey as beef.
Such a scandal is the state of hygiene in Pakistan's restaurants that television shows about crime often feature exposes of particularly abhorrent eateries, using jerky footage from hand-held cameras.
The PFA's new chief, Noorul Amin Mengal, says it cannot hope to keep tabs on all Punjab's food outlets.
旁遮普食品监察局的新任长官Noorul Amin Mengal 称，该组织无法密切关注旁遮普所有的餐饮店铺。
On April 17th he proposed that restaurant customers conduct their own food inspections, using a smartphone app produced by the PFA.
But restaurants will be hostile to such intrusion: most of them do not welcome visitors to their kitchens.
Your correspondent asked to enter several in Lahore, in both down-at-heel establishments and ritzy ones, and was barred each time.