Sana'a Yemen: Who said there is no free lunch?

While staying in Yemen there are many different local favourites to sample which are different from the other parts of the Arab world. One of many kinds of local Yemeni food, like "Salta" which is a kind of soupy meaty dish in a hot bowl made of stone! 

"Kepsa" is a nice flavourful rice dish with meat, which one eats with a spoon or in my case, with my fingers.Sharing your meal with a friend across from you is fun as the portions are big and served on a big plate. There also is a spicy red sauce, and something called "Helba" which is an acquired taste in my opinion. It tastes similar to a herbal preparation called "kava", from Polynesian cultures.

There also is a delicious milk tea which I feel is made best in the Arab world! I never could get enough of it.In Sana'a as well as other places, fresh fruit drinks like mango, lemon, or cantaloupe (each was an equivalent of 25 cents US a drink!).

I wandered around the old city a bit to find a particular restaurant which I spotted earlier but couldn't find it, so I went to a small shop and, in my rusty Arabic, asked about that restaurant. The shop assistant pointed to some direction but told me that I will have lunch with them in their shop instead! He grabbed my shirt and I followed him further into the shop where I  saw many guys and an old man already sitting on the floor with a spread of interesting food prepared, and they were just starting to eat and welcomed me to join them all!
                     ( internet photo but my experience similar )

 What fun! I practiced my now rusty Arabic (I don't speak the Yemeni dialect at all) with them and had a lunch with locals! Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch!!

In the  restaurants which locals go to, it is mostly a "man" place (although I did at one time see a table of female tourists together)- lots of loud noise, guys all sitting around staring and smiling at me, trying to coax me to join them with their lunch,- then after finishing eating, it is a group thing to wash your hands together at the sink in the back of the restaurant. If you like fast food which has a local experience there are many restaurants just outside the Bab al-Yemen to try.


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