Food is a definitive part of most cultural identities, and for Afghans especially, it is a distinct extension of their customs of hospitality and pride. While a lot of the contemporary Afghan food has seen an incredible evolution inspired by those returning from years in refuge after tumultuous decades of war, for a lot of others, preserving the local cuisine is paramount to who they are. The tradition of an early-morning breakfast and chai is among those. Even as Kabul lies in slumber, before the break of the first light of dawn, Kaka Noori, as he is fondly referred to, begins the day’s work along with his crew of helpers, preparing to receive the first customers to their little restaurant for their signature soup, kalah wa pacha (literally translated to leg and head in Dari).

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