While deployed to Afghanistan I was able to taste real Afghan food. Sometimes there would be a potluck on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) other days our local national engineers would bring us kebob wraps from the local market, occasionally our contractors would bring us food either at the site or to a meeting on the FOB and there was always fresh nan (Afghan bread) available to compliment any meal.
Afghan Food, Yum!
The most common Afghan food we ate was kebobs. An Afghan kebob is made up of nan, rice, and most often goat or lamb. When we had kebobs we always had to watch for bones or other parts not traditionally in American food. It was always super tasty.
Afghan rice is similar to traditional white rice, but it was always an orangish color and had nuts and raisins mixed in.
There was an abundance of agriculture where I lived in Kapisa. When we drove on missions we would pass a number of corn, wheat, and poppy fields. During the harvest, they would put the corn on the top of their sod roofs to dry. I remember eating delicious pomegranates, melons, and watermelon. Our Provincial Reconstruction Team was working on ways to export Kapisa’s pomegranates. They were said to have no seeds compared to traditional pomegranates. I did not even notice a big difference, but they were super yummy.
We can’t forget to mention Chia (tea)
Chia (tea) was also a common staple in Afghanistan. It was a common custom to have tea with every meal and sometimes just tea alone was offered at meetings throughout the day.
One meeting I went to, I’m not sure what it was about ended with a full Afghan meal. My counterpart and I did not expect food let alone a full meal. It would have been rude to leave and not eat the food so we followed the customs of the country and enjoyed an amazing meal. And the nan was fresh so it was amazing.
Before we left for Afghanistan we had two weeks of language training that included nightly Afghan culture lessons. We learned a lot about the culture and the people of Afghanistan. The Afghans who helped run the class gave us a full Afghan meal to end the two weeks. We had so many yummy foods from Afghanistan. The rice I remember being the same as overseas, but most of the other dishes were not something I had a chance to eat. Overall, it was a great way to get immersed in the culture of Afghanistan. And we learned then Afghan food was really good.
Have you ever had food from a foreign country? What was it? Was it good?
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