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Taste of Afghanistan Celebrates Diversity of Flavors and Cultures, Kicks Off "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures of the National Museum, Kabul"

On May 8, 2008 the Embassy of Afghanistan celebrated the many flavors and cultures that have come to represent Afghan food in the “Taste of Afghanistan,” an event in which local restaurants explored the diversity of Afghan cuisine. This innovative event promoted Afghanistan's rich culture and history by highlighting the tastes, spices and diversity of Afghan cuisine.

Known as one of the world’s first experiments in fusion cuisine, Afghan food combines elements of Indian, Persian, Mediterranean, Chinese and Turkish food to create memorable and delicious dishes. From the traditional bread Naan to the elaborately flavored rice dishes known as Palao and the large variety of kebabs, Afghanistan’s location as a crossroads of civilizations is evident in its food. Additionally, Afghanistan’s roll as the heart of the Silk Road, a historic trading route, allowed ingredients to flow from east and west and back. Without Afghanistan, Europeans may have never tasted carrots and tomatoes and would have gone without spices such as saffron, cardamom, coriander and cumin.

During the event, over 200 guests sampled variations of Afghan dishes cooked by local restaurants, including Bamian Afghan Cuisine, Afghan Restaurant, Café Bonaparte, Spezie, Café Napoleon, Mie N Yu and the National Gallery of Art. The event served as a kickoff for the upcoming exhibit at the National Gallery, “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures of the National Museum, Kabul,” which will highlight artifacts and treasures drawn from Afghanistan’s rich historical and cultural legacy. In celebration of the historic exhibit, the restaurants featured in the “Taste of Afghanistan” will be serving special Afghan dishes throughout the summer.

Ambassador Said T. Jawad spoke at the event, expressing his pleasure at being able to share Afghanistan’s culture and cuisine. “Washington, a cosmopolitan city, is truly the perfect setting for the US premiere of 'Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul,' which shows how a rich heritage and culture was covered by the ashes of war and neglect,” he said.

The Ambassador thanked National Geographic, the National Gallery and Destination DC for their partnership and support in promoting Afghan culture and cuisine. He also introduced the attendees to several gentlemen from the National Museum of Kabul, applauding them for their courage and devotion to Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. The gentlemen are part of the Afghan exhibition committee that traveled to the United States earlier this month to oversee the design and implementation of the exhibit. "They have risked their lives to preserve and protect Afghan culture," Ambassador Jawad told the audience.  

Speaking about the upcoming exhibit, the Ambassador said, “Hidden Treasures will show you the Afghanistan that exists beyond the headlines, a country of immense beauty, rich art, ancient culture and breathtaking landscapes. Afghanistan is a mosaic of Western and Eastern culture, everyone from Alexander the Great to Buddhist monks to the rajas of India have contributed to our history. I encourage you all to visit the National Gallery this summer, so that you can witness for yourselves the shinning heritage and history of my country.” 

 

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