When Conflict Kitchen first started about a year ago (before my time in Pittsburgh), the feature cuisine was from Iran. By the time I discovered this place, they had moved on to Afghanistan, which is the feature country currently until the end of June, when they will switch to Venezuela. The work-study student who served us mentioned that North Korea would be next.
I've mentioned before that I'm a culture nerd; naturally, then, the first thing that piqued my interest about Conflict Kitchen is its goal of bringing awareness to the countries and cultures that we know little about. Secondly, I love sampling food from different countries, and food from such cuisines as Afghan and Venezuelan is definitely something worth checking out. And third, being a nerd in general, I love supporting University-initiated projects that involve students and enhance their college experiences, and this one is certainly a worthwhile cause.
For its Afghan iteration, Conflict Kitchen is serving Bolani, which is a turnover with a crispy crust and a savory vegetarian filling. I had hoped to try the pumpkin, but alas, they were out of it. Instead, I settled on the spinach while Lil Sis got one with the potato and leek filling. Each was served with a little container of Greek yogurt for dipping, which admittedly was actually a bit tough to do as the bolani was wider than the opening of the dipping cup. Regardless, for $4 per bolani ($7 for two), it was pretty inexpensive. I'm thinking Conflict Kitchen may not be breaking even here, so I certainly wouldn't complain about the price even if it were a bit higher.
|The Bolani Pazi Afghan Takeout|
The taste of the filling was on the subtle side but the yogurt was a nice complement. I'll admit it is hard to assess a food for which you have had no prior experience or knowledge whatsoever, and something prepared by students (not paid chefs) at that, but overall I enjoyed my bolani and the concept of Conflict Kitchen.
One thing I regret is that we were in such a hurry to finish our bolani that I had forgotten all about reading the wrapper! The wrappers are especially designed with interviews and other information about Afghanistan. Luckily, a picture of the wrapper is shown on their website, and I was able to read most of it by squinting really hard. Next time I go to Conflict Kitchen (which I plan on doing as I'm definitely curious about Venezuela and Venezuelan cuisine!) I will have to remember the wrapper!
124 S. Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
On the web: http://www.conflictkitchen.org