While statistics show Houston is the most diverse city in America, nothing can quantify the warm food and hospitality Houstonians enjoy at the city’s numerous ethnic and national restaurants.
A prominent example of the wide array of cuisines Houston residents get to enjoy can be found at the Afghan Village Restaurant on the city’s southwest side.
Former attorney and U.S. military recruiter Omer Yousafzai opened the restaurant in 2012, making it the first Afghani restaurant in Houston.
Its signature dishes include Afghan flatbread baked on the inside of a metal drum, as well as lamb, chicken or goat meat seasoned with saffron, serrano pepper and cumin to add extra flavor and color.
Yousafzai uses traditional ingredients and cooking methods, bringing authentic flavor of the region to both native Houstonians and immigrants from around the world.
In a special with Eater, he said he took the inspiration for his restaurant from his time in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army:
“We were not allowed to eat (food) from outside (the base),” he said. “We were eating food in the dining facility. A lot of frozen food would come and, every once in a while, we would just give money to some locals and they would bring food from the outside.”
He continued in his interview:
“No matter what race, they loved the food. I said, ‘If they love it, why not open one over here?’ Since day one, I never seen a bad day.”
He also expressed his love for his adopted hometown:
“Houston, I wouldn’t trade it for any city in the U.S. Sorry, New Yorkers. (When) I was a recruiter for the military, I traveled all across the U.S. I’ve seen probably over 40 states and, no matter where I go, this place attracts me.”
See y’all there!