Thought not; neither did we until we heard of langars – a Punjabi word translating as ‘free kitchen’ – which can be found in every Sikh temple (Gurdwara) all over the world.
For curry lovers and travellers who miss delicious authentic Indian food, this is fantastic news.
There is no booking necessary and everyone’s welcome to visit these langars. Primarily they’re offered as a lifeline to those that struggle to buy food. It’s also a great place to meet new people.
Many people could do with a free meal every now and again to help them get by, so this concept from the Sikh community really is awesome. The food served is healthy and vegetarian – to cater to anyone – so if the option is between a cheap but stale sarnie or a free curry, we know which we’d choose.
Considering the nation’s love for a curry, along with high unemployment and rising food costs, it’s bizarre that so few of us know about these langars.
The concept was started by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, which for 700 years has held strong principles of equality, hospitality, service and charity. Everyone at a langar eats side-by-side, often sitting on the floor, putting aside all social status.
All langars are run by volunteers, and to increase awareness of this contribution from the Sikh community to British society, November 1-7 will be the first ever National Langar Week. A week dedicated to free food – awesome!
During the week, the Sikh community will hold events to spread the message that anyone’s welcome to come to eat at a langar. Getting peckish? Find your local event on www.LangarWeek.com.
Langars serve from dawn until evening, so they may not replace your local kebab shop after the pub, but they’re definitely tempting for a unique lunch outing with friends.
Mmm, free masala…