Yemen Hadhramaut is a small restaurant tucked away from the hustle and bustle of mainstream Rayyan. The restaurant is located in Old Rayyan,(Qatar) on the way to the Al Shaqab Stadium and Rayan Municipality Office, facing the Old Fort.
This restaurant is a recent addition to the otherwise bumpy and boring route of my daily commute. Always rushing by, I had bookmarked this place to checkout later but kept forgetting. Exhausted of the tastes in Rayan, we thought of checking this place out. The restaurant has a separate entrance and comfortable seating area for families.
In we went, sat in one of the cabins and came a man dressed in traditional Yemeni dress with a dagger/ khanjar around his waist. With a warm smile he greeted us in and got the menu card. The moment we saw the menu, I pulled out my mobile and started searching the dishes on Google. The server explained all the dishes mentioned in the menu and even suggested the best ones. And so we ordered the following –
As seen in the pic, the dish was brought in a sizable stone ‘well’ (can’t call it a pot!). A mildly spiced stew of huge mutton shank and other chunks, cooked to perfection, along with whole potatoes and marrow. It was a clear soup / sauce, very clean taste and the meat was succulent. This dish can be had either with rice or bread.
Egg and Fasooliya (Beans)
This is an egg based dish. Well cooked and smashed butter beans, mixed with onions, tomatoes, chilies and coated in egg. Another version of a shakshouka. Even though it was egg based, it was amazingly not at all eggy (I don’t like egg much) and the taste of the beans with aromatic spices was very enticing.
This dish sizzled its way onto our table, presented on a hot stone. Fahsa is a thick dark brown gravy with succulent shreds of meat braised in a spice mix along with onions, fenugreek stalks and other herbs. The dish might look like any other gravy coated meat dish but do not get deceived by the looks. A morsel of this dish scooped with a piece of taboon (tandoor baked bread) will melt all your pessimism away. The spice level was just fine, the taste awesome. I loved this dish.
Just like Egyptian Khoshery, Fahsa, once upon a time, was known as the Poor Man’s comfort food. It is said that the history of Fahsa dates back to the Ottoman period in Yemen. In Sana’a, there were alleys of restaurants specialized only in Fahsa… wonder what’s the scenario now with the mostly destroyed town!?!
Forgot to take a pic of this dish. Checkout the video below… ;D
Summary: I was expecting a regular Arabic / Khaleeji sort of dishes but Yemeni dishes are neither. They are miles apart from the regulars that we would think of in terms with Arabic or middle Eastern cuisine. Yemeni cuisine with all its history has found its way into my favorites list and hope to be in yours too.
If you live in Doha, do checkout this restaurant.
Have you got a Yemeni Restaurant in your city or vicinity? Have you had Yemeni food? Do comment on your experience.