Syria, Aleppo: where to eat meze and mahalabiya

Luxury Travel Tips

in a Syrian city Aleppo (or, as it is often called, Aleppo) I was recently (and go there periodically). The city is typically merchant, since ancient times. And it remains so to this day. How strong the ties with modern Russian merchants-businessmen are here can be judged by at least the number of signboards in Russian. And it’s all about wholesale sales. Candy, shoes, jackets, etc. So: I went on business, but in the end I had a great rest. The gastronomic weekend arranged for me by my Syrian partner and just a good friend Ali was a particularly vivid impression. But first things first!

I stopped at Mansouriya Palace. Probably, the best boutique hotel in Aleppo, an Arab palace with the mood of fairy tales of the 1001st night and classic Turkish baths. There are nine suites, each of which has its own mood and a certain historical reference. I chose Bedouin Suite Bedouin suite, which skillfully imitates the style of a royal Bedouin tent. Here it is:

Do not look at some wear and tear of carpets. It’s just styling. It’s very cozy there.

And in the evening Ali took me to a restaurant. One of the best restaurants not only in Aleppo, but in all of Syria, as it turned out. Sissy House it is called. He is Beit Sissi.

We ate a set of dishes under one common name “meze”(there is a Greek meze, Cypriot, Turkish and so on, and we ate, of course, the Syrian variation). I will say right away that the local cuisine is not at all for those who immediately get heartburn from pepper. Acute here is the basis of the basics. Tabbouleh is served first. This is a very specific salad of tomatoes, herbs, onions and some other components that I did not recognize, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. And then they bring (if I remember correctly): hummus (nut-sesame paste), muhamar (another paste made from nuts and crackers), beetroots (incredibly delicious puff pastry pies stuffed with lamb and cheese), yalanji (catlets in grape leaves), ganoush (eggplant caviar prepared according to a special recipe with pomegranate juice and garlic). And something else that I could not remember due to the fact that my taste buds were already overflowing with information …

And this is how the meze looks in one of the London restaurants ..

Well, for dessert here (as, indeed, everywhere in Aleppo, literally at every step!) mahalabiya. I actually ate this pudding with almonds and orange zest in Aleppo every day, as a breakfast. And I really fell in love with it in its various manifestations (in every restaurant, in every shop they cook it a little differently). But what mahalabiya tastes like at Sissi House is second to none. Ali told me that even Bashar al-Assad himself, after visiting this restaurant and tasting this blissful white jelly, demanded that a sufficient amount of mahalabiya be delivered to Damascus every morning from this restaurant. It is a pity that I do not have such an opportunity, otherwise I would also demand!

Thank you Kimberly for the mahalabiya photo!

Aleppo. Summary:

Where to stay: Mansouriya Palace – rating 4.
Where there is: Sissi House – rating 4.

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