Flavors of Syria

June 22, 2018 11:27 AM Swasti Gautam


Sheriqi Bassel was born in Syria and he clearly remembers being surrounded by the rich Syrian food culture for most of his childhood. Sheriqi’s early memories are of his mother making authentic delicacies for him. He says his life back in Syria usually involved large family gatherings and lots of food. He has always been a food lover and enjoyed indulging in homemade food with his friends and family back home. 

When this scribe asked Shreiqi why he moved to Nepal, he replied with a smile, “My wife.” Back in 2007, he migrated to Dubai from Syria for work. There he fell in love with a Nepali girl and married her.  He visited Nepal several times after his wedding before finally deciding to settle down in Kathmandu. “I loved this place, its culture and the people too. That is why my wife and I planned to settle down here,” says Sheriqi. His passion for food led him to think of opening his own restaurant in Kathmandu and that was how Taza was born. For the first two years, Taza actually had a Syrian chef. Sheriqi also cooked at the restaurant for a year. Then he gradually trained a few Nepali cooks to make Syrian food. 

According to him, the concept of hospitality is extremely strong in Syria. They can delightfully cater to any number of guests and make you feel at home and welcomed at the same time. This strong desire to create a welcoming environment can be clearly reflected in this beautifully decorated restaurant as well. At Taza, Sheriqi himself welcomes and serves each guest. He even takes out time to talk to the guests about his country, his adventures, his love for food, and everything else in between. He uses lessons taught by his mother to make delicacies that remind him of his beautiful country and give us a taste of a culture and place we aren’t familiar with.  

The food they serve is nice, wholesome, and attractively presented as well. The restaurant also has a huge variety of cuisines. Yet, according to Sheriqi, this is nothing as compared to the varieties they have back home. There may be restaurants in Kathmandu that serve middle-eastern dishes but Taza is one of the few restaurants in the valley that offers authentic and mouth watering Syrian food. 

Hummus

Rating: 5 stars

This exquisitely garnished dish is not only a treat to your stomach but also to your eyes. Hummus is actually a creamy dip made primarily with chickpeas and other healthy ingredients imported at this place from the Middle East. A beautiful red colored spice named Sumac is sprinkled on this dish which gives it a slightly sour taste. And some olive oil is added on top to enhance the taste and freshness of this cuisine. 

This popular Middle Easter dish is now being loved by people all across the world. Hummus is usually an integral part of all mezze meals in Syria and Turkey. 

Hummus is served with soft bread, some cucumber slices, and tomatoes at Taza. In the Middle East, this dish is also consumed with fresh green vegetables, cucumbers or onions. This beautifully blended paste is not only authentic and delightful but also satisfying and addictive. 

Toshka

Rating: 4 stars

Toshka at Taza is made of pita bread stuffed with minced chicken meat and cheese slice. The slices are properly grilled on a flat griddle and is served with chilly and plain garlic sauce. This is a light yet a very filling recipe. 

The best thing about this dish is definitely its bread. It is made in a unique Syrian style with milk, a bit of sugar, salt, flour and yeast. The dips go perfectly with the dish adding more flavor to it. 

Shawarma

Rating: 5 stars

The Syrian style Shawarma served at this place is absolutely delicious. It is also one of the bestsellers of this restaurant and is definitely the yummiest Shawarma in town. The chicken used in their Shawarma is marinated overnight and is then placed in a ‘Shawarma making machine’ that roasts the meat slowly in low heat. Small and juicy pieces of chicken are then chopped and wrapped in flat bread with mayonnaise and green salad. 

Adequate amount of seasoning is used in the chicken which does not allow the dish to be too spicy. The juiciness of the chicken blends perfectly with the crispy and fresh salad. One helping of this Syrian style Shawarma is more than enough for one person. Overall, this dish can be a perfect start if you are new to Middle Eastern cuisines. 

Taza’s specialty 

Like the name of this restaurant suggests, they cook and serve fresh food every day. It is also one of the few restaurants in town that serve delicious halal food. Their menu also has a wide variety of vegetarian food so this place is a delight for vegetarians as well. 

Taza, a cozy and beautiful place near the Himalayan Bank in Pulchowk, is a place you must visit. If you do not understand the menu, the owner will happily give you recommendations based on your preferences and taste. 
 

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