November 20, 2011

Bamiyan: Afghan Food Adventure

I recently finished reading "The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart.  In 2002 he walked across Afghanistan, many times depending on the kindness of villagers for room and board.  His journey made me curious about food in Afghanistan, so this week I decided I would find an Afghan restaurant to have an adventure of my own.  I found Bamiyan in Murray Hill. This place stands out on the corner of 3rd Avenue & 26th Street, it has an elaborate design with mosaic tiles decorating the entrance.

In Rory Stewart's travels he seemed to eat a lot of Afghan bread, so I was looking forward to tasting the bread.  It was warm flat bread, crispy on the outside and soft/fluffy on the inside. 

For my appetizer, I tried the Boulanee.  These are very thin savory pastries stuffed with just a few pieces of scallions inside.  They were light, obviously with strong flavors, incredibly addicting.  These are served with a tangy yogurt sauce.  I didn't love the combination of the scallion turnovers with the tangy dipping sauce, so I finished the fritters off just on their own.  Although the yogurt sauce was great with the bread.

Kabuli Palow with Lamb
On to my entree, the Kabuli Palow with Lamb.  This seems to be a classic Afghan dish, so I definitely wanted to try it.  This is baked dish made with basmati rice, lamb, carrots, and raisins.  The rice had a strong saffron aroma.  It's an interesting dish, each of the items have strong individual tastes that don't necessarily meld together but somehow it works.

I wish I would've had room for dessert, I'm curious to taste an Afghan dessert to finish off the meal.  I'll just have to go back to Bamiyan and continue exploring Afghan cuisine.  It was great to do this food adventure after reading the "The Places in Between" and following this young man's journey across Afghanistan.

I hope you are taking the time to enjoy some new foods and exploring other cultures through their cuisine.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

Bamiyan (This place has changed its menu to Persian inspired food since I last visited)
358 3rd Avenue (at 26th Street)
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212.481.3232
Closest Subway Stop: 28th Street (6)