Norwich restaurant Lucky Tandoori prepares takeaways for UN troops in Sudan
A Norwich restaurant has prepared the ultimate takeaway – for UN peace-keeping troops 3,000 miles away in Sudan.
Kabir Miah, who runs the Lucky Tandoori in Dereham Road with his son Akthar, worked six hours through the night to prepare the unlikely order of lamb biryani for 150 servicemen based in Darfur.
This morning it was due to be transported to London, frozen and packaged and put on a six-hour scheduled flight from Gatwick to the Sudanese capital Kharthoum. There it will be transferred on to a UN flight to Darfur, arriving at 4pm tomorrow local time.
Escorting the feast all the way from the kitchen to Darfur will be Bangladeshi businessman Mustafa Azim, 45, who placed the order for his cousin Mustafa Kabir, who is a squadron leader in the Bangladeshi airforce serving with UN peacekeepers.
Mr Azim, who runs an international company involved in the scrapping of old aircraft, trained as a pilot at Norwich airport in the 1980s and during his student days worked at a previous restaurant of Mr Miah 'who taught me everything I know about Indian food'.
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Now based in Bangladesh but frequently travelling around the world, he said: 'My cousin and his troops will not be able to rush home for Valentine's Day.
'So suffering from the Valentine's blues and having to put up with their canteen-style food, he asked if I could fly to Darfur with a laptop he wanted - and pick him up 150 curry meals for good measure.'
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Mr Azim had not been back to Norwich since 2007, but immediately thought of his old friend who opened his present shop in Dereham Road in 1991.
Mr Miah's son Akthar, 36, said: 'In the past my father has cooked at the House of Commons and for an Indian pop star and even been part of a world record, creating a curry for 13,500 people.
'But initially, he was a bit hesitant about taking on this challenge. After all, we are only a small family business.'
Mr Azim, who praised his friend's food as the 'highest London restaurant quality', also had some dishes prepared at a curry house in the capital.
He explained there were considerable hoops to jump through before all the food could be flown out the country - for example the content of the dishes had to be carefully logged for customs.
Once it arrived, the curry would be prepared on gas stoves in a big tent and enjoyed not only by the Bangladeshi servicemen but the British, Dutch and other nationalities working alongside them.