Saradedbek and his family run a local restaurant in Istaravshan, a city overlooked by hills in northern Tajikistan, serving traditional regional cuisine to customers including everyone from policemen to Lyuli, a Central Asian minority group distantly related to Roma.
He and his son serve the tables, taking orders and collecting money. His wife and daughter prepare the food in a tiny kitchen, helped by Ayna, their kitchen hand.
With a history of more than 2,500 years, Istaravshan is one of the oldest cities in the country. Like most of Tajikistan it still struggles to recover from the collapse of the Soviet Union. With average annual incomes of US$200 per person, many of its residents have left to work in Russia.
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