The next time you pay a visit to the busy market of Lajpat Nagar II; you might be surprised to see boards written in Pashto or Dari, which are some of the languages spoken in Afghanistan. With most people from Afghanistan settling in and around this area in South Delhi, it resembles a mini Kabul. Right from restaurants serving Afghani food, special super markets, chemists and even a dhaba, you will find all things Afghani when you’re here.
Heard of Afghani momos?
You must have had Chinese momos, but if you want to try the Afghani version, then do visit the Herat Restaurant (E-104 Lajpat Nagar II). The eatery serves momos with mutton filling, garnished with curd and mint chutney. The momos are priced at R150 for six pieces.
Other restaurants here include the Kabul Delhi Restaurant (E-104), where you can relish Afghani delicacies like Qabuli Uzbeqi, a non-vegetarian biryani and the Qaborgha Kababs, which are basically chicken kababs cooked with special spices. Right next to this restaurant is the Afghaani Dhaaba, which only sells Afghani rotis (the elongated ones) for R10 each.
A special super mart
In the basement of the Kabul Delhi restaurant is the Darwesh Super Mart. Mostly frequented by the Afghani residents in the city, the mart sells dry fruits and pickles that are specially imported from Kabul. Check out the Kabul variety of cashew nuts here (priced at R500 per kg). The mart also stocks general grocery items and goods of daily use. “The idea of opening this shop here was because many people from the Afghani community reside in this area,” says the owner of the mart.
Since medical tourism is one of the prime reasons for the Afghani community to come to Delhi, the place is abuzz with chemists. Most of their clientele includes the Afghani residents of the city. Even the prescriptions written by the chemists are in the Dari language. “I have learnt the language over the time. I used to face a lot of problems in communicating with Afghani people, so using this language was the only way out,” says Rak Kumar, owner of Wise Pharmacy in the area.
We don’t feel away from home here. We can see many people from our land in the Lajpat Nagar-I colony where we reside, Our landlord’s family is also very cooperating,” says Shaqib, 42, who has been living in Delhi from four years.
“Most people from the Afghani community reside here because it is near to hospitals like AIIMS, Apollo and Moolchand. Moreover, Bhogal and some parts of Lajpat Nagar have been home to Afghanis for many years now,” says Illyas, 21, who works at the Herat restaurant.