It was a very rainy and wet February day in Orange County when it was time to do a food tour of Little Arabia on Saturday. KPCC/LAist Food Editor Elina Shatkin and freelance writer Dakota Kim (LAist, Vice, New York Times, etc.) joined Raad Ghantous of The Raad Life and Rashad Al-Dabbagh on a three-stop tour for some sweet and savory offerings of Anaheim’s Little Arabia, which included Aleppo’s Kitchen, Le Mirage Pastry, and Olive Tree Restaurant. A few days later, we invited food writer, Joshua Lurie of Food GPS on a tour of Little Arabia, which included Al-Tannour, Victory Sweets, Cairo Cafe, and Le Mirage Pastry.
Here are a few favorites from both tours:
Muhammara at Aleppo’s Kitchen: a hot pepper dip originated in Aleppo, Syria. The principal ingredients are usually fresh or dried peppers, usually Aleppo pepper, ground walnuts, breadcrumbs, and olive oil. It may also contain garlic, salt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and sometimes spices (e.g. cumin). It may be garnished with mint leaves.
Bouza at Le Mirage Pastry: an ice cream known for its elastic texture and resistance to melting. It is claimed to be one of the oldest forms of ice cream, and is most commonly found in the Levant. The ice cream is usually and traditionally made with an ingredient called sahlab, which provides it with the ability to resist melting. In Al-Hamidiyah Souq in the Old City of Damascus, there is an ice cream store named Bakdash that is known throughout the Arab world for its stretchy and chewy ice cream. It is a popular attraction for tourists.
Kabsa with lamb shanks at Olive Tree Restaurant. Kabsa is commonly regarded as a national dish in the Arab Gulf. The dish is made with rice and meat. he spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg.
Pistachio Knafeh at Victory Sweets. A Palestinian dessert. Crunchy shredded phyllo filled with pistachio instead of the traditional stretchy, gooey cheese.
Member at Cairo Cafe. AKA Egyptian sausage. Mombar is sheep intestines (beef sausage) stuffed with a rice mixture and deep fried in oil.