When my dear mother rolled through town the other day, we had no plans other than enjoying all the food the city has to offer. Being nurtured by her home cooking and baking, I can only remember a few culinary adventures with ingredients used in non-German cooking. Like watching soy bean sprouts grow besides the kitchen sink for weeks and then spice up some salad.
When we found ourselves wandering around the sunny streets of Berlin, suddenly it was my turn to introduce her to some of the best food from foreign cuisines: like the culinary chickpea spectacle at Al Pasha, where some of the best hummus in Berlin is served.
The menu at Al Pasha is quite simple, with only a few signature dishes from Lebanon to choose from. But that doesn’t mean making a decision is any easier, so I tend to order loads – because seriously, is there anything better than a table full of warm bowls, with olive oil shimmering in the sunlight and you just dip your piece of flatbread into the creamy delight, trying to catch as much as you can?
We sat down in-between the hustle and bustle of Sonnenallee and our orders were quickly handed out to us, served with some lovely flatbread on the side: Mssabaha, a dish very similar to hummus but made with whole chickpeas. This gives the creamy mush a nice bite. And of course we got some Fatteh – a delicious mix of hummus, yoghurt, fried crumbles of flatbread and pine nuts. All in all, this lunch lasted way longer than planned. From time to time, we had to sit back for the occasional break in-between, thinking we were all filled-up only to get another spoon of the joy only chickpeas can bring.
What garnished this feast was Za’atar, a herb mixture made from a special thyme and sesame. It’s both used in Middle Eastern as well as Mediterranean cuisine. At Al Pasha, it’s served on a warm piece of flatbread. What might seem like a small pizza is in fact so much more. As soon as your tongue has touched the roasted herbs for the first time, you won’t want to miss this surprisingly crunchy seasoning anymore.
Still every day, and after already moving here some time ago, Berlin surprises me with new food discoveries like this, turning into instant favorites and I can’t wait to see what’s next.