Cheap Eats 2009: Bamian Afghan Cuisine

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: The window swags and crystal chandeliers might make you think you’ve wandered into a wedding reception, but the kebabs, palaus, and vegetable stews speak of stellar home cooking, long-simmered and lovingly tended.

What to get: Boolawnee, crisp dough filled with leeks or potatoes; delicate dumplings stuffed with scallions (aushak) or ground beef (mantu) and topped with meat sauce and yogurt; bouranee baunjan, a soft mound of stir-fried eggplant; quabili palau, fluffy rice with shredded carrots, raisins, and lamb stew to spoon on top.

Best for: Couples or groups who want to make an evening of it—there’s live music six nights a week.

Insider tip: If you like your food spicy, make it known. Otherwise, dishes such as the karahi stir-fries will be timidly seasoned.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here

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