Afghanistan showcased in Oman

Khabouri and the staff at Wakha Restaurant (Muscat Daily photos)

Not just in Oman but the world over, most people relate Afghanistan with war. Food doesn’t come to one’s mind at the mention of the country and very few know how tasty Afghan cuisine is. That is because – among other things - not until recently, there was no restaurant in Muscat that served authentic Afghan cuisine. To taste proper Afghan food in Oman involved an extensive hunt, but no more so since the opening of Wakha Restaurant in Qurm.

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Located opposite the park in Qurm, besides enthusiasts of Afghan cuisine Wakha can also be a place of interest for those who want to know how war, music and food is closely related in the country.

“Our theme is based on war and music. Traditional Afghan music has been passed on for generations and is part of every celebration,” Qais Khalid al Khabouri, managing partner of Wakha Restaurant, told Muscat Daily.

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Wakha is where Shinwari and Afghani cuisines come together, according to Khabouri. “It is one of a kind where our guests can pick their cut of meat and the chefs prepare it the way they want to have it. Shinwari cuisine is renowned for customisation. You can have the piece of meat cut and cooked to your specification - a specialist butcher cuts the piece and the chef prepares your meat.”

Khabouri likens the preparation and presentation of food to an art form and accords kitchen personnel and chefs their due status. “They know why and how each spice and ingredient must be used to create exquisite dishes. We guarantee that all of our ingredients are fresh, organic and dishes prepared without the use of oil.

“With our food, we ensure an excellent dining experience like never offered before in Oman. Our food is a blend of Arabic, Iranian and Indian. It’s not as spicy as Indian food, but not as bland as Arabic food,” he added.

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Landlocked between Iran, former Soviet republics - Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - and the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan is strategically positioned for an incredible convergence of various distinct flavours. While onions assume a central role, meat is an essential element in most dishes; mint is used commonly to garnish Afghan preparations.

Khabouri and the staff’s efforts at Wakha are focused on helping guests appreciate authentic Shinwari and Afghan customs and cuisines. “Our staff will ensure just that and make it their priority to make sure that clients receive first rate service and are served food of the finest quality. Presentation, flavour and refinement are of essence here,” he added.

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