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1st April, 2024

It’s time to change that.

Last Thursday, I roped in volunteers from this community for a Sudanese iftar in Deira. After handing out 600 meals to a labour camp with Magical Smiles UAE, we hit Al Fananeen.

Fananeen is not for newbies. It’s as old school as it gets. You need context and technique. I’m hinting at a possible VIP meet-up soon.

My first encounter with Sudanese food was many years ago. Slow-simmered foul with white cheese and sujuk dipped in fiery peanut dakwa at Foul Abo Al Abbas in Karama.

In 2022, that love affair blossomed over a Sudanese iftar at Al Kandaka in Qusais. The German-Sudanese family behind Al Nassma camel milk chocolate taught me the ropes. Dip your fingers into the dakwa to coat them with chilli and then scoop up—
Juicy chunks of meat shaya.
Or floppy gurasa pancakes drenched in salona.
Or jiggly aseeda perched in taqliya.
Or falafel smashed into foul with sesame oil and white cheese.
Or creamy peanut butter salads like salatat dakwa or salatat aswad.

Or, all of the above.

Back then, I was just emerging from my obsessively-sanitized COVID cocoon. But I threw caution to the winds and joined the family to feast communally—with fingers, from common plates.

Come February this year, Zool Mashawi’s agashe and shuya at Global Village had me hooked. There was no turning back.

This Ramadan I’ve enjoyed two Sudanese meals. One homemade, and so hauntingly good, it left me chasing down those flavours at Al Fananeen.

For Sudanese food veterans, Fananeen’s agashe and gurasa with chicken hit the spot, rounded off with the sorghum-based abreh. The peanut butter tomato and onion salad, salatat dakwa, was solid. But the fûl and salatat aswad didn’t hit home this time.

I’m no expert on Sudanese food, but this path feels familiar. I’m falling for another culinary world. Expect more Sudanese food, maybe even a “how to order” cheat sheet, to find its way into my Monday chats with you.

With prayers for peace—especially for the most vulnerable in Palestine and Sudan,


P.S. Magical Smiles UAE needs more support for the labor camps. To sponsor a meal or help distribute, contact them over WhatsApp. They also run initiatives to help workers all through the year.

Arva Saleem Ahmed
Founder and Chief Executive Muncher
Frying Pan Adventures



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