Thursday, November 4, 2010

Syria : Found and Tried The Fool

The other night I watched Bobby Chinn traipse around in Aleppo and Damascus (he also went to Bakdash), and one of the dishes he tried was the fool, or also spelled as ful or foul.

What's that? Well, it's a slow cooked mash of fava beans, flavoured with lemon juice, olive oil, paprika and cumin. I managed to have a taste of this dish in Aleppo, in one of the shops located near the Christian Quarter. There is apparently a very famous shop in that area where locals queue as early as 7 am to have it for breakfast, but we did not know where it was located as by then we had given up using the LP map for directions :P

Since I really wanted to try this dish, I settled for this shop.

The counter - I have no idea what the name of the shop is. If you want to know if the shop sells fool, look if they have a copper pot in front.

Stern looking man in an old picture - I am guessing he might be the owner or the person who started this shop.

The fool is cooked inside this huge copper pot that's shaped like a huge jug. I think this one is almost empty as it was already early evening.

This is how it looks like - served with bread, and a side of raw onions and mint (? I did not know how to eat these hence left it untouched). Doesn't look that appetising, huh?

How did it taste like? It is an acquired taste, for sure. Sourish, a little spicy with a creamy, oily texture. The beans added some bite. I kind of enjoyed it after a few bites. If only I was hungry then, I could've finished off the whole serving, but I wasn't, and the bread was a lot.

Come to think of it, I was rather unadventurous with the local food on this trip. Part of that was due to budget reasons, and in a way it's also because we were not familiar with what to order or look for.

The cheapest and most common choice? Falafel wraps. The best falafel for me was the very first one we had in Damascus, near our hotel, for 15SYP I think - it was hot and freshly prepared. After a few days, falafel fell off the popularity chart as our tastebuds started craving for something else.

Mmmmm, now I wish I can find falafel here.


  1. Yeah the SYP15 felafel was the best. And the worst was probably the one near the Aleppo Citadel.

  2. Julie - Ya, that Aleppo one was cold and chewy. We were there too early, the boy wasn't ready to open shop :)