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Fresh Crabs, On A Boat. In Pakistan.

I still have to meet someone that, when asked to describe one of their most memorable meals, will tell you that it was had in the middle of a commercial port …but if I were asked that same question, you would hear me tell you about a memorable crab feast I had for the first […]

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Quick Snack: A Russian Samovar at the Ukrainian Frontlines

The front lines of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine are bleak, particularly in February. The areas around Debaltsevo, hotly contested between Ukrainian troops and separatists/Russian forces, are rolling hills of frosty farmland, now sallow and muddy. The Ukrainians are hunkered down in [redacted], taking shelter where they can and using makeshift stoves, the local coal […]

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Quick Snack: Noshing at Putin’s Press Conference

Every year, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a press conference for international media at a government building in Moscow. The media arrive early for security screening and to set up their equipment. As President Putin tends to answer questions for hours (this year it was 3, but has been as long as 5), a buffet […]

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Quick Snack: Coffee and Dates in Saudi Arabia

The hospitality in Saudi Arabia is legendary; good thing, too, as the cultural conservatism that abounds makes it difficult for a girl like me to enjoy other food- and drink-based activities. Obviously, there are no bars (there aren’t even movie theaters!), so that’s out. Going to a restaurant is an isolating experience: the main dining […]

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(photo by Omar Omar)

Food on the Frontline: Syria and Iraq

Syrian food is fantastic, and as diverse as its neighbors in the Middle East: creamy hummus, fried kibbeh balls stuffed with spiced meat, rice dishes baked in phyllo dough, meatballs glazed in cherry sauce, flatbreads, baklavas, honeyed sweets, tea.  Sadly, none of that was available on the frontline, where the Syrian Kurds faced off with ISIS. […]

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Iraq, the Land of Plenty (of Rice)

Road-tripping through Northern Iraq, I’ve stumbled on some interesting regional specialties amid the kebabs and hummus. In Serchinar Restaurant in Zahko (not far from the Syrian border), a platter of grilled meat was served with endless side dishes, including this bright green concoction I’d never seen before: Turns out it was banana slices served in […]

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Grazing Along the Turkey-Syria Border

The border between Turkey and Syria is 500 miles long, dotted by hundreds of little villages and anchored by small, fully-functioning cities (complete with airports). There’s plenty of street food: kebab stands, men slinging long footprints of cheese or meat-strewn pide (flatbreads), little storefronts and carts where you can grab a cone of chewy, dense Turkish ice […]

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In the Land of Mezze, Matoug is King

Gaza is full of Middle Eastern cafes slinging hummus, tabouleh, and grilled meats. In fact, I have yet to see a restaurant here that is NOT full of mezze and kebabs. No Tequila Sushi Boom Boom in these parts.  With so many restaurants serving so many of the same things, it comes down to the […]

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In Gaza, When the Fire Ceases, the Bakery Reopens

For weeks, Gaza City has been a ghost town, as people shuttered businesses, locked their doors and took shelter.  But the recent ceasefire has felt different to residents here — they believe this one will hold — and beginning Tuesday, intrepid owners tentatively reopened their cafes, markets began to bustle, and city dwellers emerged to […]

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