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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Arabic lunch

We took the car out for a spin the other day and explored the back streets of Al Sadd. An area that is more developed than the rest of Doha, a web of many nameless streets where restaurants, shops, apartment blocks and the occasional 5 star hotel is found.

The GPS on my phone gave us directions to Thai Snack, a restaurant that had gotten many rave reviews from the expat community. It was the place to go for a good green curry without paying 5 star prices for it. Unfortunately even my GPS system got us lost and we found ourselves driving into many dead end roads.

After making several 3 point turns, we finally found it. As fate would have it, we got there at 2.30pm when lunch had ended and the restaurant was closed. Bit bizarre that the massage center got a bigger sign board than the restaurant.

In 40 degree heat, this was not the end result I was anticipating so plan B was to find any lunch spot. We parked and walked along the same street, Al Mirqab and I entered the first shop I saw with people eating inside. A lady at the front counter waved us in and showed us to a table lined with a blue plastic sheet and dusty plastic daisies decorated the shelves.

The menu was local and cheap. 5 riyals for a falafel sandwich or 9 riyals for a plate of other hot meat sandwiches like chicken shawarma or livers. As we browsed the menu, a stack of hot bread and marinated olives arrived at our table. We tucked into those happily while deciding. I wanted the zaatar manakeesh which was a pizza dough with a topping of the spice zaatar ( thyme, sesame seed and sumac) but asked what the meat and cheese manakeesh was like. The waiter smiled and said matter of factly - "cheap meat ".

T also ordered a chicken sandwich to share. Tender chicken pieces, some salad and pickles, and potato chips were wrapped in local bread and served toasted.

Here's my zaatar manakeesh, a typical breakfast dish actually but can be topped with cheese, "cheap meat", spinach or cheese and it becomes an open pie. It was crispy and the spice combination smelt amazing.

Along with that, we got a salad and for drinks, a lemonade with mint for me and a fresh banana & orange juice for T. The total was 44 riyals. Result.

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