Have you tried Afghan food?

This was my first time trying food from Afghanistan. It was at a new restaurant in Vancouver called Zarak. The place has high reviews and my initial impression was positive. They clearly invested into making the space nice and modern.

The first thing I noticed was that our server was extremely knowledgeable. She provided a lot of info about the dishes on offer. I also noticed attention to detail like citrus in the carafe.

I started with the Kabul cocktail which was ok but a touch sweet. The presentation was very nice.

Before I talk about the food, this was my first time having Afghan cuisine so I have no idea as to the authenticity or how this meal compares to “really good” Afghan food. We started with the chilled eggplant and naan. The bread was fresh and delicious as was the rest of the dish. They should give more naan though and we ordered extra.

Next, the fried chicken.

Bolani flat bread and potato

Afghan chips

Next came a pair of dumplings. One filled with beef and the other spicy veggies. I preferred the beef.

Next was lamb shank.

Followed by Uzbeki Palaw which was a rice dish with lamb.

Beef kebab with good spices and flavor.

Chicken Qorma which was like a curry.

We also had the brussels sprouts which were nicely charred and full of flavor. Overall, Afghan cuisine reminded my of a mix of Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian food. This makes sense geographically, and is one of the reasons why food is so interesting. The dishes were full of spices and some had heat. Everything was cooked very well and tasted great. The service was good. I would return to try other things on the menu.

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