Gourmet Traveller

Land of plenty

My family never had any grand plan to be in the restaurant game. Parwana began with my mother Farida (pictured above) and her intuition that, as migrants to Australia, it was increasingly important that we preserve the customs, flavours and essence of our Afghan cuisine, and also share it with those in our new home. She carried with her a generationally engrained love for her traditional food and the rituals that sit alongside it. This, combined with our experience as displaced people, witnessing first-hand the scattering effects of war on Afghanistan’s memory and culture, coaxed Parwana into being. In this way, Parwana was driven by commemoration, reconciliation and creativity, tinged with a mixture of loss and hope.

However, in hindsight, the strands of the idea had long existed in many guises, and had been finding their way to us to consolidate and express, well before we opened the doors to Parwana in 2009. The restaurant, and the food we shared, was a manifestation of the immense history of cross-pollination and cultural exchange that underpinned Afghanistan’s history at the centre of the ancient Silk Road. As time marched on and

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