An Afghan Experience
Afghan Chopan Kebab
10756 101 Street
The Afghan Chopan Kebab restaurant (10756 – 101 Street) is under new ownership since last spring, and certainly looked worthy of a visit in my never-ending quest for authentic regional cuisine.
The menus were succinct: nine appetizers ($3.99-$10.95), fifteen entrees ($9.95-$24.95), eight sides ($1.99-$9.95), and four desserts (all $2.99, with tea). Most of the appetizers were something with a dipping sauce and since we were given a seeded flat bread (with dipping sauce) right away, we decided to pass. We ordered two entrees: Seekh Kabab (marinated ground beef with salad and rice) and Mantu (beef dumplings with a spicy vegetable sauce).
The Seekh Kebab was two long rolled logs of seasoned ground beef served over a massive amount of basmati rice and an enormous green salad. The beef was a bit crunchy on the outside and moister on the inside, but the flavour was excellent, balanced with the somewhat sweet rice and crispy salad.
The Mantu consisted of light steamed dumplings stuffed with ground beef covered by a spicy sauce, with mostly beans, lentils, and other legumes. The spice was curry-like, but not the typical Indian fare. It was topped with a light yogurt-mint dressing which really complemented the rest of the dish in temperature, texture, and taste.
Then, it was time for dessert. Jelabi was a sugary, sweet candy-like swirl, reminiscent of maple sugar in the snow, but classier with a faint savoury smell. Fernee was a rich milk pudding with more body than one gets from butterscotch from a box. It was creamy and sweet, but not overly so.
Afterwards came the “Afghan whisky,” the owner proclaimed, explaining that it was 100% pomegranate juice. The pure juice is very strong, rich, and dense. It was in the conversation over dessert that new owner Mohammed Sana talked about his commitment to good food and to bridge Afghan and Canadian communities.
If you can’t make up your mind from the menu, there is a $12 lunch buffet Monday to Friday. The website http://afghanchopankebab.ca provides the menu and more, with pictures.
John is a resident of Boyle Street.