Syria: What's on the Palate?

Perhaps because it's Ramadan, or because talking about the news is difficult, this week Syrian bloggers are focused on food. From the best recipes to those that make no sense at all, here's a roundup of this week's posts.

Abufares shares a favorite recipe:

Happy Ramadan to all!

It certainly is food time and I'm going to take you by the hand and help you prepare the best Tartoussi Samke Harra in existence. Samke Harra, literally means Hot Fish (hot as in hot & spicy) is a Middle Eastern dish prepared with subtle or major variations from Lattakia, Syria to Tyre, Lebanon. Well this is as far as my knowledge extends. If it is prepared by our Turkish neighbors up north or by our Palestinian brethrens to the south I am not aware of it. My favorite two varieties are the Tartoussi (Syrian) and the Tripolitan (Lebanese).

Be sure to check out Abufares‘ blog to learn how to make the delicacy.

Jar of Juice also shares a recipe:

Yesterday I tried out making Ravioli with Alfredo sauce and chicken. And it was totally awesome!

The recipe is apparently so appetizing that the blogger received this comment:

Yummy! Sounds delicious!
You are bad! You shouldn't post such things in Ramadan. I want that so bad now even though I am not fasting!

Mosaics, in discussing the intricacies of Syrian English, shares this anecdote:

Damascene restaurants, even little tiny ones with two plastic tables on a street corner, also oblige foreign visitors to Syria with a custom-made translation of their dishes; frankly, it’s cute. Annoying, but somehow cute. It becomes unacceptable when the more expensive ones do it. My mother was once looking at a dessert menu, wondering what “Grape” meant: was it the fresh fruit alone, or some concoction built around grapes? No no, answers the waiter: “It’s grape. Grape with sugar, grape with chocolate, grape Suzette, grape with whatever you like.” It took a while, but she finally understood it was a crepe. You see, neither English nor French are her first language, and I’m sure the waiter in question would never believe she speaks both fluently, since she had to ask what a grape was.

Maysaloon, on the other hand, discusses why he gave up pork:

Though religion is a factor, it is actually not the biggest. The main reason like I said before is that it is simply not part of my culture, the vast majority of Arabs and in fact most people in the Middle East and North Africa, do not have pork as part of their cuisine, the animal is considered to be filthy and unedible. Is this irrational? Why? Certainly there are societies where grasshoppers, lizards and dogs are eaten without the slightest concern. Why, I would ask, do these same people who disagree with me not consider eating dog liver sandwiches or lizard? They too are edible and this revulsion is largely irrational, or is it? Pork doesn't taste too bad, but I choose not to eat it now as a conscious decision based on my cultural and religous identity and moral values I have, not just because I was raised this way anymore.

Finally Ihsan Attar, from My Thoughts & Notes
gives us all a lesson on finding hummus abroad:

Simply, go to any supermarket…look for anything that has a photo of a camel and/or a bedouin in the desert….and you just found your meal!
P.S.: Hummus is NOT even a part of the Arabian cuisin! It's a Syrian/Lebanese food and those two countries are not identified by such tradmarkes!!


Photo Credit: Ihsan Attar

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