If you’re looking for something a little more local than hash browns and fried eggs for breakfast, Cafeteria Al Qariyat might be right up your street. With branches across Jeddah, Cafeteria Al Qariyat Al Zahabiyya has managed to create a name for itself in the breakfast sandwich market focusing on traditional ingredients and recipes common across the western peninsula of Arabia.
Manned by a team of Yemeni cooks, their speciality is the kibda or lambs liver sandwich which is stewed with tomatoes and herbs which make for a rich and creamy filling for breakfast. Optional toppings of hot sauce, cheese and pepper are also available should you want to spice things up a bit. We did, and we were not disappointed.
We dropped in around 9:30 am on a weekday to their Khalidiya Branch and were surprised at how busy the place still was, heaving in fact, such that we almost had to push our way to the cashier to order our two liver sandwiches. The cashier almost oblivious to the pressure around him seemed rather laid back, obviously a daily occurrence for him, chewing slowly on his toothpick, he took our order. For three Saudi riyals one gets a choice of white or whole meal buns, and according to your choice, these are then stuffed with copious amounts of the stewed liver which is served from a giant wok on view to all at the front of the sandwich shop.
Other sandwiches are also available including the traditional Shakshooka (fried eggs cooked in a sauce of tomatoes onions, peppers and spices), egg sandwiches, tuna, cheese, and an assorted mix of all of the above.
A variety of teas are also offered to the work time crowd, including black, mint, and green teas. However If you’re looking for something a little cooler, there’s also a tiny juice bar in the corner where the staff whip up fresh juice smoothies like guava, strawberry or mango.
Despite the crowds, the time it took from ordering to receiving our sandwich was quick, probably less than five minutes, and moments later we were back in the car and on our way. Biting into the sandwich the tenderness of the liver was immediately apparent, no chewiness, unlike elsewhere, and the tomatoes and herb juices made for an excellent sauce, (we also added hot sauce- which gave the sandwich a good kick). My only complaint here was the bread used was a little too fluffy for my liking, but then one hardly expects to see gourmet baguettes in a local sandwich shop – although it would be nice!
They must be doing something right considering the number of people who passed through the doors while we are there, but each customer seemed to be ordering entirely different things. Which only makes me wonder whether I’m missing something, I think the Shakshooka is next on my list! I’ll be back!Cafeteria Al Qariyat Al Zahabiyya,
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