Chapli kebab

1:20 PM, Biriyani Kebob House, Los Angeles


When we walked into Biriyani Kabob House in Upper #Koreatown, the owner was on the floor,  head down, in Muslim prayer.  The Latino cook pointed, “Wait.”   Jake Tapper was on a large TV, talking about the  hate march in Charlottesville.  My guest was a Pakistani journalist. We  ordered chapli kebab, ground chicken with chili and coriander, pressed flat on the grill.  “Where are you from?” he asked the owner. “Bangladesh.”   The journalist told me the chapli would not be as good as in his native Punjab.  “People come there just for the chapli.”  The Latino cook made fresh naan, then the kebab. He plated it with a lime green yogurt cilantro sauce and salad.  We ate.  It was hot, with fresh chili, minced garlic and onion, and fragrant with coriander and parsley.  “So is it as good as home?” I asked the journalist.  He smiled.  “It’s very good,” he said.  It was.  We watched footage on TV, people fighting over the  kind of America they wanted.  I had my answer.  I was sitting in it.  

A moment of prayer before taking our order.