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22nd January, 2024

First, let’s celebrate.

We turned 11 last week. The bigger news: over 50 from Dubai Tourism joined us in Old Dubai to play secret agents around the stealthy alleys of Old Dubai. Evidence here. 11 years ago, we’d have never thought of serving groups more than 8 people—or at least not in any thoughtful or memorable way. Took only a decade, but I’m glad we cracked it.

Try what we did with Dubai Tourism with your team. Hit reply and I’ll fill you in.

Now let’s talk burnt fingers.

Ordered takeout from Ree7an* last night—musakhan, meat kefta drenched in tomato sauce, harraq osbo3*. The family stamped their approval, including two who had subpar musakhan experiences in the past. Sahar Hamad, Ree7an’s Palestinian-Jordanian chef-owner, gets it right with a focused menu. Don’t jump through the parking hoops that I braved on my first trip there. Takeout only.

*Some language fun:

→ 7 = throaty ‘H’ in Arabic. Exhale from your subglottis, HUH! As in 7ummus, 7abeebi (my love) or ree7an (basil). ‘H’ befalls the misfortune of getting butchered into ‘KH👺’ which sounds more evil than intended, but let’s leave politics for another day.

→ 3 = deep guttural ‘Aaaa.’ Don’t practice this one after a heavy meal.

Palestinian tour guide and friend, Dana, introduced me to harraq osbo3, or more correctly, 7arraq osbo3. Likely origin: Syria, but enjoyed across the Levant.

7arraq osbo3 translates to the ‘burnt fingers’ of a husband, who in a particularly dim moment, dipped his fingers into the pot as his wife was prepping the dish. Ironically, it’s served at room temp. Brown lentils, pomegranate molasses, thick hand-dropped noodles, fried onions, toasted bread and pomegranate seeds.

Great as a next-morning leftover, as I’m discovering right now as I type this newsletter.

Global Village meet-up update: it’s a tie between February 15th (Thu) and 17th (Sat). Missed voting? Cast it now, we’ll extend till tomorrow night.

With prayers for peace,


ps. I’m experimenting with a WhatsApp group for limited edition + need-to-know info for the serious foodie. No chit chat, just quick announcements, three a week tops, and even that’s ambitious. If you need another (actually useful) group in your life, hit this.

Arva Saleem Ahmed
Founder and Chief Executive Muncher
Frying Pan Adventures



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