To Afghan or not?


Visiting Afghanistan is an illusion for most travellers. That distant, war-torn country with its fair share of beautiful places to admire and the food to enjoy. So what if you can’t take a long journey to visit this country but somehow try to get a piece of it? Well, food can give you some of this pleasure as has happened in a lot of cases with many other places as I believe. You may disagree with me in saying that it is not the authentic flavours or the surrounding, but this is as close as you get to it given the barrier.

I was in Auburn, Sydney trying to get to a different food outlet when I came across an Afghan restaurant. The idea of going is was still a question. What will the food be like, will I like it, etc. Anyway, decided to give it a go considering that I may not necessarily come across another Afghan place in the near future and be a bit more adventurous.

Place looked busy enough with two large groups already in and another couple trying to go. I didn’t feel very welcoming, probably because those who go there must be after the food and not the atmosphere so I go in. It was certainly a bit louder that expected with the other groups sitting either side of my table, but not loud in an annoying way, but more family style. As soon as I sat down, I see plates coming in for the other tables and tried to peek quickly to see what they were like and I must admit they looked pretty good. I’ve never had Afghan food so I had no idea what its like.

When ordering I was told their specials were recommended by SMH newspaper so I ordered exactly the same but the chicken option. Entree Ashak was nice and light and comes with a yoghurt based sauce with bread (more like the Indian naan’s). It was very refreshing and cooling (starting to wonder if this is partly because some parts of Afghanistan could be very hot and they use cooling ingredients in food to keep cool…). Also ordered only available afghan drink option, another yoghurt based drink with some sort of finely chopped greens (at least that’s what it looked like) with a hint of salt and lime in it (not sure if this was the case though), but it certainly was refreshing (once again!). As a main, ordered their Khaybar special which comes with rice and chicken skewers. Chicken appeared to have just cooked (but not raw) although a couple of more minutes could have done it for me. Rice was lovely, nice and fluffy, served with a big green chilly. Wonder what the chilli is for before I started, then realised its more of a condiment as the food lacked a bit of flavour for my liking. I would say its just the dish and not the entire range but until I eat there again and try another dish I certainly cannot say if this is correct.

Bottom line is a surprise turn to my visit ended up with a positive ending (well it could have always gone bad) and I will certainly visit again to try more. This place looked very clean and some of the artwork on the walls were absolutely stunning! It does make you visit.

Place: Kheybar Restaurant, Auburn

Khaybar special with Chicken
Khaybar special with Chicken

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