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cairo-fiteer with eshta wa assal copy

Yesterday, my new best friend (I love making new best friends), Susan Hack, wrote up a post about our koshari meal at Abu Tareq in Cairo and other street foods I like and she rightly said that my favourite, together with koshari, is fiteer, so, I thought I would post about an amazingly good fiteer I had recently (sadly not with Susan) in Sayida Zeynab. I had seen and tasted almost eveything I wanted to in the two days I was in Cairo except for fiteer, so, I asked where was a good fatatri (fiteer maker) and was sent to one that did not look promising, dark and dingy and without any character but it was the only one and I decided to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did. Their fiteer was just perfect and even though I was going to lunch an hour later, I couldn’t resist eating far more than just the taste I had promised myself. I nearly finished the simple fiteer topped with eshta (Arabic clotted cream which in Cairo is made with buffalo milk) and honey in the top picture and had far too much of the fiteer mushaltat (several fiteers, one inside the other) in the picture below. Totally scrumptious.

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There are many places I return to whenever I visit Aleppo. I go at least once to have ful medammes at Hajj Abdo. I stay at Yasmeen d’Alep, and if I am not, I make a point of going there to sit in their peaceful courtyard and have a chat with the lovely owners Badeeh & Hannadi Qudsi; and I always walk up to Sahet el Hatab in Jdaydeh at around 9 am to watch the pita bread being made and then spread right on the pavement to cool before being packed. The process, as you can see from my not so great clip, is fully automated, from kneading the dough, to dividing it, to rolling it out (first into ovals, then into perfect circles), to putting it in the oven, to taking it out of the oven and sending it to the sales window or the packing floor, with the loaves going from one place to the other on a conveyor belt. The only thing that is not automated is placing the dough into the dividing machine and then packing the bread.

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ful medammes copy

Another great trip to Syria with a wonderful group. We had great fun despite being driven by possibly the most stubborn and moronic driver ever. He and his uncomfortable bus (supposedly VIP) were the low point of an otherwise lovely trip.

As usual, the food was delicious with one of the great hits being breakfast at my favourite fawwal (ful medammes specialist) where lovely Hajj Abdo makes the best ever ful medammes. Like Hanna, Hajj Abdo is a wonderful old man who’s been making ful medammes for over fifty years; and he is still personally in charge of the making and serving of his speciality. Here he is in action. What you see him doing in this clip is what he does, almost non-stop, from 7 am to 3 pm every day.

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