Homayoun Khamosh sells three-foot naan at Pamir Mart.
Handmade Afghan ravioli and rugs in sleepy, suburban Fremont? The Northern California city is home to the nation's largest Afghan American community and some of the best Afghan food and goods this side of Kabul. Afghanistan's cuisine has been influenced by Russia, India, China, and Persia, and its dishes star the rich, sweet, and tart tastes of cardamom, cilantro, rose water, and homemade yogurt.
The storefronts on Fremont Boulevard may look plain, but inside their shelves are stocked with pomegranate juice, sugared chickpeas, apple tobacco, and other goods imported from Bombay, Cairo, and numerous points between.
At the Pamir Food Mart (510-790-7015), you can buy long loaves of Afghan naan warm from the oven. Bring a hearty appetite and sense of adventure to Salang Pass (510-795-9200), one of four Afghan restaurants on the boulevard. Don't miss qabili pilau, Afghanistan's national dish of baked brown rice with lamb and raisins; aushak, ravioli stuffed with leeks and spices; or the burani kadu, soft pumpkin sautéed with garlic and cardamom. Across the street, carnivores should check out the De Afghanan Kabob House (510-745-9599), where every plate features skewered meat.
Photography by Sean Arbabi
This article was first published in March 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.