Food
Café Aleppo Revisited

Café Aleppo Revisited

A moustachioed face emerged from a bundle of coats and scarves. Levon, talkative as ever, is warming his hands to the festive glow of a slowly rotating Döner kebab at Café Aleppo, Yerevan. Shwarma can take a while to prepare, especially with numb fingers. Business could be better. Customers don’t hang around in the cold weather. More»

Café Aleppo

Café Aleppo

The Aleppo Kebab Stall is a small, corrugated plastic booth slightly larger than its occupants, and only slightly narrower than the alleyway where it stands, in Yerevan. Barely avoiding the oncoming traffic, I crossed the street and squinted at the shop sign, miming the letters to myself in an attempt to decode the name. Ha-lep. Aleppo. Braving a heady perfume of cigarette smoke and shawarma, I poked my head through the window, and ordered. More»

Edible Multiculturalism

Edible Multiculturalism

“If more people eat here, they’ll be nicer to Jews.” So my father was fond of saying, whenever he’d bring my brother and I to Guys and Dolls, one of London’s first Israeli fast food joints. The hummus was excellent, the shawarma was even better. Thirty years later, London is sprawling with falafel places. More»

It's Called Comfort Food

It’s Called Comfort Food

Food is not what you normally think of while being tear gassed. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite, since the reaction your body has to the gas is to retch. If you had anything in your stomach, watch out because it might not be there anymore. I know I wasn’t thinking about food the last time I was gassed. Well, not any more than usual. More»

The Coffee Republic

The Coffee Republic

“Turkish coffee?” The throaty Armenian was clearly affronted. “Sure, it’s Turkish when I buy it. But when I make it, it’s Abkhaz coffee.” Insisting eyes awaited an apology, which I promptly offered. I never made the mistake again. More»

Wrong Side of the Mosque

Wrong Side of the Mosque

Driving into Old Lahore, the streets narrow, crowded with motorbikes zipping dangerously close to brightly-painted busses packed with passengers spilling out of their doors. Cracked concrete steps lead into doorways. Clusters of men sip tea served from steaming cauldrons in front of shabby looking cafés. More»

How Not To Eat Soup Dumplings

How Not To Eat Soup Dumplings

I’m standing in line to enter Taipei’s Din-Tai-Fung, one of the world’s most famed dumpling restaurants, when they arrive in a double-decker bus: rows of white people neatly stacked on top of each other, gazing out through tinted windows at a world that isn’t theirs. They begin clambering off the bus a little ways up from where I stand and even before they reach the line, even before I hear them speak, I know they are Americans. More»

Vegetable Alley

Vegetable Alley

About fifty meters east from the D exit of the Suzhoujie station on Beijing’s Number 10 metro line, is a small alley market. You walk along the main street, take a gated entryway for five meters, and there, parallel to the street, is a narrow alley with two stands. The first sells vegetables. The second sells peaches, apples, and lychee. A third uses crates on the sidewalk to sell brown hen and salted blue duck eggs, together with oil, pasta and a couple of common kitchen items. More»

Ikea Enters History

Ikea Enters History

Collegno is not the first place you’d choose to receive a refresher on genocide. A small working class municipality on Torino’s west side, in my household, its claim to fame is its Ikea. Step inside on a Sunday afternoon, and you’ll find the cafeteria packed with local families enthusiastically gorging on plates of Swedish meatballs. More»

Mao is on the Menu

Mao is on the Menu

Several blocks away from our apartment in Beijing’s Haidian district, a retro ‘red’ restaurant stands alongside the street. Its walls are decorated with photos of Mao Tse Tung and Zhou Enlai along with applauding Communist Party cadres. All the famous faces are here, with many enlarged photographs hanging on the walls and dining booths. More»