This week on Dubai 92’s Cheap Eats episode, Farida visits her favorite shawarma spot in Deira.
What’s This Week’s Cheap Eat?
Located on Rigga Road, Farooj Al Shami features Syrian-style shawarmas at pocket-friendly prices: the chicken shawarma is AED 6 and the meat shawarma is AED 7. Farida is partial to their meat shawarma which features tender beef tucked into saj bread with creamy tahini, fresh tomatoes, parsley, red onions, and sour pickles. The shawarma is then immersed in savory meat drippings from the rotisserie before being transferred to a griddle where a flat iron presses on it, resulting in a toasty, crispy exterior that creates a harmonious contrast to the flavorful fillings.
You can find Farooj Al Shami on Google Maps here.
Tune in to the segment using this audio recap or check out the transcript below.
It’s Dubai 92, it’s the big breakfast, Jono here, on your Wednesday morning, which means it is time to catch up with Frying Pan Adventures and Farida joining us this week. Love this, it means we can find someplace here on our doorstep that’s not going to cost us a whole lot of cash, but it is going to delight our bellies and our taste buds. Farida, now we’re going to preface this with a little public service announcement by saying that this is controversial because you are tackling something that everyone has got a favorite one of. And this is… you’re taking a big risk here, Farida. What are you taking us to sample this week?
I’m so scared to say it. Shawarma!
You’re a brave woman.
I am, aren’t I? I mean, we’ve got over 200 nationalities in this country. So I’m sure there are a million different opinions on shawarma, which is why I shy away from saying this is the best place for shawarma. Instead, I’m going to say this is my go-to place for Shawarma.
Right. So tell us where we’re going to and what makes it so great.
So, we are going not too far from where I live, which is on Rigga Road Deira. There is a Syrian restaurant called Farooj Al Shami and incidentally, we feature their Shawarma on our Middle Eastern Food pilgrimage tour. They do the chicken. And they do the meat, the meat being beef. Chicken is amazing, but it is the meat shawarma that blows my mind away. So the meat shawarma is slightly more expensive than the chicken shawarma. The chicken shawarma is six dirhams, the meat shawarma is seven dirhams.
Okay, big difference. Big difference there. How big are we talking size-wise? Because it’s, I mean, again, it’s different folks, different strokes when it comes to shawarma. Some people like the relatively small-sized ones. Some people like a more sizable large shawarma. What have they gone for? More than a mouthful here? Are we talking quite a large enough for a meal?
I think Two Shawarmas will be enough for a meal. So it’s the regular-sized one. I’m pretty sure they have the larger ones as well. But I usually just go for the regular-sized ones. And what really for me makes the difference is the bread that they use because they’re not using the usual pita or the khubz. But instead, they’re wrapping their shawarmas with saj. So two layers of sage bread, they put the protein of your choice and the mixins and the mixins are really important because if you are a shawarma fanatic, you know that the mixins for the chicken shawarma is very different than the one for the meat shawarma. So the meat shawarma one comes in with the usual tahini, there are tomatoes, parsley, red onions, and pickles that go in there. They wrap it all in two layers of that paper-thin saj bread and then once the wrap is ready, the shawarma chef will actually bathe it in the meat juices that have collected at the bottom of the rotisserie. And then this is my favorite bit because he then transfers it onto this hot griddle and presses down upon it with a flat iron. So now you’ve got a slightly crusty exterior, which a lot of places don’t do.
No, they don’t. They miss the trick. I have seen some places grab the schwarma. And stick it onto the gas at the back. You know, you do see that happen now, but it doesn’t give you that nice crisp feel that you need from a shawarma. No, it really doesn’t. And because the bread is so thin, it crisps up really fast. And the great thing is their shawarma is not soggy.
Look, it’s a controversial one to go into, but honestly, so I think you were brave to do that first of all. The restaurant, Al Farooj Al Shami Restaurant. It’s in Al Rigga in Dubai. You can find the full menu online as well. Farida, a top tip from you as always this week, and thanks for taking on shawarmas.
My pleasure, Jono.
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