Long before war propelled Afghanistan into the headlines of the 21st century, this rugged, mountainous Central Asian nation captured the imagination of the West as a key thoroughfare to the Far East – the latter helping to explain why this landlocked nation’s cuisine is so focused on hospitality. For two millennia, Afghanistan (which borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, China, Pakistan and Iran) was the place where important trade routes between India, China, the Middle East and Europe converged. Marco Polo crossed the country en route to China; Arab travellers and the British passed through on their way to India. A rich culture took hold at this crossroads, and with it a varied cuisine that has survived centuries of war, invasion and internal upheaval. Strife-torn Afghanistan is now an undeniably poor country, but as expatriate Afghani food lover Ryla Smith says, 'some of the poorest countries in the world come up with amazing dishes". No matter how hard-pressed, the Afghans treat their guests with immense respect and will go to great lengths to serve them the best food possible.
14 Feb 2013 - 5:50 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Long before war propelled Afghanistan into the headlines of the 21st
century, this rugged, mountainous Central Asian nation captured the
imagination of the West as a key thoroughfare to the Far East – the
latter helping to explain why this landlocked nation’s cuisine is so
focused on hospitality.
 
For two millennia, Afghanistan (which
borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, China, Pakistan and
Iran) was the place where important trade routes between India, China,
the Middle East and Europe converged. Marco Polo crossed the country en
route to China; Arab travellers and the British passed through on their
way to India. A rich culture took hold at this crossroads, and with it a
varied cuisine that has survived centuries of war, invasion and
internal upheaval. Strife-torn Afghanistan is now an undeniably poor
country, but as expatriate Afghani food lover Ryla Smith says, 'some of
the poorest countries in the world come up with amazing dishes". No
matter how hard-pressed, the Afghans treat their guests with immense
respect and will go to great lengths to serve them the best food
possible. More