Entries in Irvine (1)


Turkish food!

We now have a fourth restaurant in Mazar!  So along with the Royal Oak (truckstop fare and atmosphere), Delhi Darbar (Indian comfort food), and Ittifaq (pizza and burgers), we now can enjoy Turkish food.  I just got take-away from there last night...it seems to be the only thing completed yet in the soon-to-be-impressive Amiri planned community.  Amiri is one of the series of privately financed subdivisions going up on the east of town...if you're interested in their business model, think Irvine Corporation.  The food was good at any rate.  the Karishik Pide and ezme salatasi tasted just like they do back in Turkey.

Maybe the market for restaurants is not so big as I thought.  After living here a while it has become apparent to me, that only three NGOs including myself are based here, and that leaves embassy staffs and the UN and ICRC to make up the rest.  Kabul this is not.

Today whilst driving through town, my driver made a funny observation (we were looking at a convoy of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks).  "People don't like the WFP flower here because it's so dark and the bread doesn't look right."  My response was "obviously they are not hungry enough."  The observation was amusing because it is a reminder that this area was once relatively affluented.  Flour doesn't bleach itself but the fact remains that people consider normal what in places like India or the Middle East is considered a rather unnecessary luxury.  The other thing is that it's probably not the starving people suffering from food shortages in Kohistanat District of Sar-e Pol who are complaining--it's the urban customers buying bread from bakeries.  Bakery owners who, thanks to corruption at all levels, take their cut of WFP wheat.  Remember the flour is as good as any other but not bleached, but since people think that unbleached equals inferior quality, bakers acquire the WFP flour and cut it with the regular stuff to the degree they can get away with.  This leads to scenes of customers accusing the naanwalla of scamming them with WFP bread!