In the historic center of Kabul is the busy Kafarosi Bird Market. Colorful birds flap their wings in bell-shaped cages surrounded by brown mud buildings.

Beyond the cages and crowds is Kabul’s oldest restaurant, which has been serving chainaki, the local lamb stew, for 70 years. It offers handmade chainaki served traditionally (clay teapot). According to the restaurant’s current owner, Wahidullah, the unique taste and aroma of his rich lamb stew come from the clay teapot. In addition to the meal, you can order tea in a separate container. “They are found all over the country where weary travelers can obtain refreshments after long and dusty journeys. They are also the meeting place for the locals (men) to meet and exchange news and gossip,” food historian Helen Saberi explains.

After the Taliban took over on August 15, 2021, the restaurant continued to serve its loyal customers delicious chainaki. “Years of war not only killed people but also these traditional recipes,” said Wahidullah. “I want chainaki to become Afghanistan’s ultimate comfort food.”