The mainstays of the Afghan diet are rice, lamb, and bread (nan). Islamic law forbids the consumption of pork and alcoholic beverages. Tea is the most popular drink. Kebabs or fish grilled over charcoal and served with salads and hot fresh nan flat breads are very popular food for picnics.
During meals, Afghans generally sit on the floor around a mat on which food is served in a communal dish. Food is eaten with the fingers of the right hand or a piece of nan (unleavened bread). Any business discussions occur after refreshments.
The traditional mode of eating in Afghanistan is on the floor. Everyone sits around on large colorful cushions, called "toshak". These cushions are normally placed on the beautiful carpets, a disterkhan
(table cloth) is spread over the floor or carpet before the dishes of food are brought. Food is usually shared communally; three or four people will share one large platter of rice and individual side dishes of stew (qorma
), or vegetables. Home made chutneys, pickles, as well as fresh naan
(bread) usually accompany the food. The traditional way of eating is with the right hand spoons may be used for puddings and teaspoons for tea. Because hands are used in eating, there is a hand washing ceremony before and after meals.
Afghans rarely eat in restaurants. A special soup served only on "Nawruz" the Persian New Year, is "haft miwa". This soup is made of seven fruits and nuts to symbolize spring.