Photo: via Dr. Brian Williams
I had no idea where it came from, no idea how it was made, or the process it took to package, all I knew was that at the time, it was the best coffee I had ever tasted, and it was right here in the capital of a country that had been at war with itself and others for more than 30 years.Kabul: best coffee, hands down.
As soon as I tasted it, in the storied expat hangout and eatery called Afghanistan Fried Chicken (AFC), I ordered another two.
My fixer, Mubine, exclaimed, “You’re going to ruin your appetite!”
I don’t care. I want more.
Right at that moment, AFC made Starbucks in Manhattan look like it peddled in the hot, brown water business rather than gourmet coffee.
The food was fantastic too. Lebanese, Afghan, Chinese, hamburgers (I guess you’d call that ‘American’ … or ‘Merican’) and yes fried chicken, all at AFC. Yes, the famed chicken street of Kabul, and one-time hangout for backpacking hippies, is still home to some of the best restaurants in which I’ve ever eaten.
No, I’m totally not kidding, American chain steakhouses seemed 2nd class, and stateside fast food was in a class of it’s own (possibly goat feed in Afghanistan).
Now granted, there’s some food that I would steer clear of (fish pulled from the river and fried in jet black oil. for one), but for the most part, the food was incredibly fresh and the coffee likewise.
And don’t get me started on the bread.
I guess there are advantages to turning food processing into a conglomerate, industrialized, centralized, food distribution system, sure — there are 300 million Americans to feed after all.
In Afghanistan, they’re not big users of industrial freezers, or preservatives. They’re not shipping 50 tons of hamburger meat 1500 miles. Most everything is supplied for local use (both geographically and timewise) — and tastes all the better for it.
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