The Pakalachian

This food truck dishes up Southern fare with a Pakistani twist.

Comfort foods from Appalachia and Pakistan come together in this Abingdon-based food truck with a decidedly down-home vibe. “It’s all very familiar, like mac ‘n cheese, on the one hand,” says Katlin Kazmi, coowner of the Pakalachian, with her husband Mohsin. “But we use the unfamiliar, too, for a whole new culinary experience.”

Think fried green tomatoes meet pakoras—or pot pie samosas.

Katlin and Mohsin, who met as students at Virginia Tech, married in 2014 and soon began blending the flavors of their childhoods in a home-cooking mashup. Mohsin, the son of Pakistani parents, grew up in New Jersey, while Katlin is from smalltown Castlewood, Virginia, near the Kentucky and Tennessee borders.

As they shared their playful food combinations with ever-enthusiastic family and friends, the couple was inspired to dream bigger. They commandeered a 1996 step van, outfitted it with the bells and whistles needed for a modern food truck, and the Pakalachian was launched.

Curry Me Down South, a tomato-based chicken curry served on Southern mashed potatoes with a dollop of cilantro chutney, is the dish that started it all. And dishes like Tikka My Senses—a chicken sandwich with the pop of their own Pakistani tikka marinade blend of over 20 spices—have become menu staples. Katlin and Mohsin aim for every dish to be half Pakistani and half Southern Appalachian, “whether by altering how the dish is traditionally served or by changing the cooking process,” says Katlin.

KIRK CHAMBERS

The menu changes with the seasons as Katlin and Mohsin—who also runs adventure trips to Peru, India, and Panama—source their produce locally.

“We are deeply connected to the area,” says Katlin, of their commitment to donate a portion of proceeds to local causes. “And we have loved creating an entirely new palette based on foods we both love.” ThePakalachian.com, TamaduaJungle.com


This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue.

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