Afghanistan

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Chainaki is a warming stew for harsh winters and tumultuous times

Rows of teapots slowly simmering the chainaki, a traditional meat soup that’s the ultimate winter comfort food for Afghans. Photos: Hikmat Noori

There is a certain method to having the chainaki, a wholesome meat soup made in a teapot, called “chainak” in the Afghan language of Dari.

First, you take the large naan that comes with every serving and break into tiny pieces; fill your bowl with as many as you like. Then, you open your teapot filled with a deep red-orange lamb soup made with tomatoes, onions, fat, and spices, cooked over a slow fire, and pour it over the bread.

“You cannot just dip your bread into the bowl of soup; that’s not how it’s done,” I was told the…


Through coups, invasions, and battles, the demand for bread is as strong as ever

Assadullah inspects freshly baked naan before putting it on display in Kabul, Afghanistan. All photos by Ivan Flores.

With additional reporting by Ajmal Omari

It’s 4 a.m. on a cold November morning and still pitch dark outside. The streets of Kabul are deserted, and the only souls on the street are the few Afghan soldiers patrolling heavily militarized checkpoints nearby. But there is a bustle of activity ongoing in the small bakery run by 64-year-old Assadullah, who like most Afghans goes by only one name. …


In a tea-drinking culture, coffee and cupcakes are signs of social change

April 18, 2019 — Kabul, Afghanistan: A woman takes a photo of her coffee and cake to post to Instagram. All photos: Ivan Flores

The two-story Cupcake Coffee Shop has no shortage of customers, here for an array of cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and specialty coffee drinks. Yet the shop, with its open coffee bar and wood-paneled walls, isn’t in Chicago or Manchester, or anywhere else in the Western world: It’s nestled in the heart of Kabul, the war-torn capital of Afghanistan.

Co-owner and manager Mohammad Hussain Gulzara, 23, says he noticed that other Kabul cafes were always crowded and provided a limited menu, so he opened this one over a year ago.

“Things are changing. Places like this is such a good opportunity for…

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