I write this piece to remind you of forgotten part of Syria and bring light to magical sides of Damascus, back to 2008.
If I wanted to write to you about lovely Syria it might take me a whole book and little more. I have traveled to 23 countries and three different continents in my life, but I have never seen, or felt as warm and happy as much as I did Damascus.
From old roads to the beautiful cedar trees that cover most of Damascus city, to the Umayyad empire legacy the city magic takes you back to 1000 years ago. At one small corner where horse carts park, ready to rent and take you for a ride down old roads, you find a little restaurant, Rahman Al-Damshqi.
This restaurant was built 120 years ago “when Othman Empire ruled the Arab world”. You feel and you smell traditional “ Shami, Syrian” food. Tons of different spices and home-made meals, and the atmosphere inside takes you back to old times. You feel the strong touch of the Umayyad era, with no tv or even modern signs. I choose to eat outside so that I can feel and live in the moment without technology, enjoying the ancient city. I can smell Kuba, a very traditional dish made out of groats stuffed by either vegetables or lamb meat, cooked with several spices and dried grapes, I can smell that dish very strong and it reminds me of home.
The Syrian and Shami cuisine is represented by that restaurant, I went there several times and I ordered Kuba “ for sure” and also Sahteen, a vegetable dish mix of Baqla, humus, green pepper, tomato, with a beautiful touch of sauce lamb yogurt. A piece of traditional Syrian bread is required and recommended. I believe they make that bread from magical ingredients. It is flat, long, white, and hot with butter and celery on the top and with unknown “spices”. I feel I want to eat bread until I fall over.
This is my advice to eat whenever you head to Damascus.
I feel sad that it suffer’s of war today and I’ll keep praying for peace there and everywhere.
As Zimmern says, ” If it looks good, eat it”!