A Corpus-Based Linguistic Analysis of the Menus in Lahore's Elite Cafes and Restaurants


  • Iram Sagheer University of the Punjab
  • Ayesha Gulzar
  • Fatima Suri
  • Komal Mahmood


Cultural Imperialism, Corpus Linguistic, Cultural Homogenization, Identity, Cuisines, Menu


Food makes a strong connection between a person and his culture. However, the culture is greatly influenced by the language, and a person can be easily identified by his food choices. Food is also a source of globalization, for example, we can easily find Chinese, Japanese, and Italian cuisines in Pakistan. The elite cafes and restaurants in Pakistan are offering menus with unique languages that do not represent our culture and social norms. One cannot find Pakistani cuisine with its traditional name on the menus of elite cafes and restaurants. They are under the influence of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is the attempt to dominate another culture in our own traditions and values. This resulting cultural homogenization affects the lifestyle of people too. The menu writers are using international languages and cuisines to attract consumers. The names of the dishes and beverages are so weird and bizarre that a person can’t get an idea of what the actual dish is without reading the description of the food item. The research aims to study the menu cards of fifty-five (55) elite-class restaurants and cafes in Lahore, Pakistan. Using purposive sampling in this corpus-study, we have analysed 200 names of different dishes and beverages from these upper-class eateries. The study clearly reveals that Pakistani cuisine and its traditional names are subservient to the international cuisine in Pakistan. This is a major threat to Pakistani food culture and lifestyle that needs to be taken into consideration by the restaurant owner and menu writers. They need to dwindle the availability of international cuisine more than our Pakistani food and the use of international language in naming their food items. The results of this research are an eye-opener for the protectors of Pakistani food culture.