Cycle 3 – Item 341
11 (Tue) December 2012
at Ali Baba
-Itaewon, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Project 30/30/30: 41 of 45 (see also 45/45/45)
Throughout the past November, I challenged myself to eat 30 dishes from 30 countries over the course of 30 consecutive days – and succeeded. I will continue the project until I run out of dishes or countries or restaurants or steam or money, aiming for 50.
Egypt is the 41st country.
Ali Baba is an Egyptian restaurant. Yet another in the recent series of unique establishments – “the only one in Korea, as far as I know” – representing a specific national cuisine.
The menu seemed similar to those that I’ve seen at other eateries relating to neighboring countries in the region, including Lebanon and Dubai.
Ta’amiya is a type of Egyptian fritter. Better known throughout the world as “falafal.” Typically, it consists of ground chick peas and/or fava beans plus aromatics (e.g., onions, herbs) and spices (e.g., cumin, clove). As a snack/appetizer/meal, it can be served on its own or accompanied by flatbread, sometimes wrapped in sandwich form along with various toppings and condiments.
The ta’amiya at Ali Baba was pretty good. It had a light and crispy texture on the outside, not a trace of grease despite the deep-fry. The sesame seeds in the crust added pop, as well as a strong nutty flavor, to each bite. Within, the beans were soft and sweet. Combined with sliced tomato, cucumber, and onions, topped with yogurt and chili sauce, and wrapped in pita – components all included in the basic order – it made for a tasty, well-balanced, and fulfilling dish. Not too bad at 13,000 won (+10%), though certainly no bargain.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)