DFAC Primer

DFACS are the Dining Facilities at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. There are 7 of them:

Niagara

Niagara has always claimed to have North American food. Up until very recently, this meant “a Pakistani villager’s idea of what North American food is like”. While the Pogos, chicken nuggets and anything else that went directly from the freezer bag into the deep fryer was authentically North American, anything with locally made sauce or spices tasted just a little bit funky. However, a couple of months ago they revamped the menu and the food is now much more authentically like home. That means, however, that the lines are really long. I’d eat here all the time but my impatient co-workers hate to line up.

Far East

Anti-intuitively, the Far East DFAC is located towards the western end of the base. Intuitively, it features Asian food. Sometimes it’s pretty good and often quite spicy to appeal to the palates of KAF’s Asian workforce. I like really spicy food but the Asian flavours often just don’t taste quite, um, good to me. The stir fry line is usually ok but, while one can re-fry beans, the pre-cooked then refried chicken or pork is just plain nasty.

Cambridge

Ah, the tastes of jolly old England. It is totally different than Niagara; while Niagara served “fries”, Cambridge served “chips”. If Niagara had “iced tea”, the Cambridge’s “chilled tea” was a nice change. Cambridge is best known for its desserts, particularly on Sundays (which is when they also serve the obligatory, tough as leather, overcooked roast beef). While the cakes (or puddings as the Poms call ’em) are always remarkably moistureless, there is always a bucket o’ custard to slop over the top. Cambridge is also the only DFAC with a nightly curry line. While the curries are usually pretty good, the meat, just like the stir fry meat at the Far East, is often reheated, overcooked and icky.

Luxembourg

A completely different experience from dining at Cambridge in that the dessert line is in a different place and they don’t have curry. The end.

North Line

A DFAC with an American theme, it has slightly different menu selections than the other DFACS. It’s main feature is short lines at breakfast and real BACON!

Independence Hall

Yet another American themed DFAC. I’ve only eaten there twice and both times they had run out of the menu item I wanted. It quickly went on our “do not eat at list” but I’ve heard they recently revamped their menu a la Niagara so it is worth a revisit.

UPDATE: We’ve eaten there several times and the food is adequate.

Monti

All the best restaurants have rocket barriers.

I’ve heard it’s identical to Independence Hall. It opened only a few months ago and I have yet to eat here. This blog will give me an excuse to do so.

UPDATE: The Monti isn’t half bad now. The Mexican food is particularly good if you know where to find it.

12 thoughts on “DFAC Primer

  1. Pingback: Salty Balls | Just DFACS Ma'am

  2. I just posted a link to your blog on facebook – I think anyone who has ever worked here would have a great laugh reading this.
    Just a couple of suggestions though:
    – Have an Archive or a Back to the Beginning link, so it’s easy for people to read through chronologically. Unless of course it’s already there and I’m just too dim to see it.
    – Have a Shameless Promotion page, for people to add links to any write-ups or shout-outs they do of your blog. I’d add a link to my facebook write-up… although it is rather ramble-y.

    Oh – and I think it’s time to update your Primer brief on the Monti.
    Enough productive procrastination from me!

    • Thanks Judy,
      I added the back to the beginning link and updated the Primer as you suggested. I’ll add the “shout out” page if I can figure out how to do it.

  3. Thanks for setting this up! I’m astounded by the new DFACs that weren’t there when I was there. I might suggest expanding to restaurant reviews (“TGIF’s bacon is not bacon, but beef jerky”). For those new folk trying to cope with the DFAC experience, I offer the Recipe for a BFC Sandwich. You can usually make it on any goven Morning at the Far East DFAC, or any other DFAC on a sunday. After enough of these I went home fatter than when I arrived!
    The BFC:
    Toasted Bread, Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup (optional)
    bacon/sandwich meat, fried egg, cheese
    cut in half diagonally, eat with a pop
    [BFC stands for Big Fat Contractor]

    • I’ve already started on the KAF Restaurant reviews, including TGIF. Just select “KAF Commercial Restaurants” in the Category pull down menu at the right.
      The BFC sounds delicious but I question having one pop with it…most BFC’s seem to be having somewhere between 2 and 6 cokes with breakfast.

  4. Not sure if this is still the case, but the North Line DFAC had an Aussie chef during the summer of 2010 and any differences in the food could be attributed to this. The Australians that I knew had picked up on the ‘Australian-ness’ of the place before they confirmed the nationality of the chef.

  5. Personally, I think Niagara is a pretty good DFAC. I’ve rarely been unhappy with the food. Indepence and Monti aren’t really that good, except maybe for breakfast. I think the Far East stir fry is awesome.

  6. Just an opinion, based on my experiences as of 19 June….

    Niagara- Not worth the hassle at all. Breakfast is terrible (im talking half cooked food), Lunch and dinner are passible considering that it is KAF. if you want the same type of food with better quality in half the time, go to North Line.

    Monti- It will do, but it pisses me off to no end that they have curry breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I hate that we cater to the Indians here, and not to the troops.

    Independence- the only thing i can say about this place is that i would like to take a can of gas and some matches and burn that place to the ground. NOT WORTH THE TIME or the food poisoning to follow (not an exaggeration).

    Far East- Too many TCS go here, its crowded, long lines, and it stinks. if your in the mood for it though, its not terrible. I just dont care for MSG and grease o my noodles all that often though

    Cambridge- Pretty good, considering. I like it overall, and rate it as the 2nd best DFAC on KAF.

    Luxembourg- best choice for Midnight chow, but they could do with some more selection.

    North Line- if you have the time, its the best chow on KAF. worth it every time, especially on Steak Night.

    None of these DFACS are up to the caliber of any Iraq chow hall, and its not like going to the corner diner back home either. There is better food outside of KAF at any of the smaller bases, other large bases (I can only speak for leatherneck, but I love that the Marines seem to have the DFACs doing a decent job), and most of the time its not even as good as an MRE. Not a joke.

  7. I can’t believe this last night I was trying to remember the names of them all..My favorite was the North Line..So many memories from them all. Cambridge was my least favorite..

  8. I left Afghanistan in 2012 after 5 years in the country. The DEFAC in KAF were always my favorite. I worked for the company that constructed Niagara, Cambridge and Luxembourg and the three I used to enjoyed. Sometimes I used to go to the North Line while small used to provide a change.
    I traveled throughout Afghanistan. During five years I ate at all DFAC from Kabul to Herat and south from there. It was good to read about the dining facilities.
    I recently returned from Nigeria and can truly say I missed the KAF DFAC food. The other bases I traveled to in Afghanistan never exceeded KAF Dining. The Embassy was the only other place where food was good.
    Nothing beats home food.

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