Afghanistan is at the crossroads, and this comes across in its food, with various influences from China, India, Russia and the Middle East. Afghan Village, near Hillcroft (Little India) in Houston, is a great spot to try Afghan cuisine for the first time. I’ve included a few dishes below that I’d recommend trying.
- Bouranee Baunjan – an eggplant dip, with naan
- The dumplings, called mantu, were like a mix between a Nepalese momo, a Russian pelmeni, and a Uyghur (Chinese Muslims) dumpling. Covered in chickpeas and sour cream.
- Pulau – rice with raisins
- Kofta – beef kebab in a tomato sauce, honestly tasted like meatballs.
- Kahwah – a cardamom and saffron green tea popular in the Caucasus region.
- Yogurt drinks are also popular in this region, but we didn’t try the one here.
Afghanistan’s food culture really focuses on hospitality. The workers here were so kind, stating they wanted us to “experience the real culture.” They gave us free apps, rice and hot tea and encouraged us to sit in the traditional area – the dastarkhan – an area on the floor covered with a rug and pillows. Tip? Wear pants when you do this. Though this cuisine was not my favorite – with less complex flavors/spices than the SE Asian cuisine I tend to focus on – Afghan Village is a spot worth trying. Kind people. Good food. But a misunderstood region and culture.