KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Hot dogs, even the non-pork variety, are a rarity in Afghanistan. So it was particularly unusual when five vehicles painted to look like giant frankfurters — with bright yellow mustard zigzags instead of racing stripes — popped up on the streets of the capital city this year.

The food truck craze has made it all the way to Kabul.

Naveed Noori, a 25-year-old IT worker and university student, introduced Afghanistan to its first food trucks after studying the trend online and in Toronto, where his wife and baby daughter live. In May, Noori, along with his cousin and business partner Abdullah Karim, launched Lazeez, which means “delicious,” hawking hot dogs, burgers and chicken sandwiches out of the back of five customized three-wheelers outfitted with hot plates and mini deep-fryers.

On a crisp fall morning, Noori visited one of his trucks, parked on a busy thoroughfare in central Kabul. The hot-dog-on-wheels, with a yellowish sesame-seed bun for a roof, stood out in a sea of drab sedans, sagging minibuses, hand carts pulled by the striving poor and gleaming SUVs belonging to the very rich.

Several cars came to a halt, the drivers peering with puzzled expressions as other motorists swerved and honked. The truck driver, who doubles as cook, had donned a hair net and plastic gloves and was grilling burgers as smoke billowed from an exhaust fitted to the roof.

“People don’t know what exactly this is,” said Noori, who has close-cropped hair and a neatly trimmed beard. “At first some people thought it was a new kind of rickshaw. We had to say, ‘No, this isn’t for passengers.'”

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