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Nothing Good to Eat? Blame Immigration Restrictions: New at Reason

Friday, November 24, 2017 16:33
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foodThe Afro Deli feels like a cross between a Chipotle and a slightly upscale burger joint. It’s brightly lit, with colorful menus displayed on large HD televisions. Uniformed workers tap your order into iPads and deliver your food on reusable plastic trays. On the strip of Washington Avenue that passes through the University of Minnesota’s campus in Minneapolis, it fits right in between a Bruegger’s Bagels and a generic pizza place.

The restaurant looks 100 percent American. But the food is distinctly Somali.

As we sit down in a corner booth to chat, owner Abdirahman Kahin brings me a cup of tea from his home country. It’s milky and flavorful, a hot chai spiced with ginger and cinnamon. It’s delicious even at the end of August, but I imagine it would go down even better during the bitterly cold Minnesota winter. Later, I try what Kahin tells me is one of the most popular items on the menu: sambusas, a sort of afro-pierogi, deep fried and filled with a mixture of beef, lamb, spinach, lentils, and cilantro. It’s savory, but milder than I’d expected after trying the tea. “Minnesota spicy,” Kahin says with a grin, a concession to the tastes of the Nordic population that is a majority in the state, writes Eric Boehm.

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