Kandahar Kabab: Culture Vacuum of Fast Food
5165 Dixie Road, Mississauga, ON
Tucked away in one of Mississauga’s many plazas is a fast food joint serving Afghan kababs. The place is literally set up like a McDonald’s. We were greeted by a fast food counter when we walked in, an open kitchen where meat was being grilled and rice was being cooked. The menu was advertised on TV screens over the counter and images of the food were also being featured on a screen beside the menu. I’ll admit that it completely sterilizes the cultural experience of eating Afghan food. Half the fun of scarfing down Afghan kababs is watching the meat twirl on questionably-clean spits in a greasy kitchen, smelling the spices, and listening to rude cooks yell at each other in different languages. On the upside, Kandahar Kabab has totally standardized the customer experience to quick, clean and efficient fast food counter levels. The good thing about this is Afghan food is packaged in a style that all diners understand (who hasn’t been to a fast food restaurant?) and serving traditional Afghan kababs in a fast food atmosphere may even open up the customer base to those who wouldn’t normally walk into a grimy, noisy and smoky kabab storefront where no one speaks English.
We were famished when we arrived and almost attempted to order everything on the menu. Luckily, we had a buddy with us who knew exactly which combos were the best. We ended up getting a few kabab combos, a plate of lamb chops and a few sides.
Most of the combo meals come with naan. Unfortunately, the naan tastes more like whole wheat pita bread instead of fluffy, fried dough.
The lamb chops were surprisingly tasty. With a charred and smoky outer layer, the inside of the lamb chops were tender and moist and well-seasoned. I would totally order this again.
Our beef kababs were also very delicious. The spices were a bit sedated but I guess it’s part of the sterilized fast food restaurant experience.
The garden salads were pretty standard. I did love the rice that was richer in fragrant herbs and spices than the meat was.
I would revisit. Kandahar Kabab is perfect for satisfying kabab cravings in a pinch. I wouldn’t pick it over any hole-in-the-wall kabab shop with meat rotating and roasting on dirty spits though.