In al-Bughdadiyyah Ashargiyyah District on Al-Matar (Airport) Street, adjacent to a fuel station, and just across fromthe Tomb of Eve Graveyard stands (from what I’ve been told) the first Shawarma maker in Jeddah; established in 1385 Hijri (1965). Shawarma Shaker Al-Jazira has built a profound reputation of making the best Shawarmas in town.
Donâ€™t confuse it with the imitators that use Shakir in their names; only the ones named â€œShawarma Shaker Al Jaziraâ€ are the genuine ones. I say ones with an â€˜sâ€™ because there are two stores in the same block, about 300m apart!
The restaurant is divided up into stations. Customers simply place their orders at the cashier and take the receipts to each station for preparation. There are few seats and tables for single/males to dine in, but I donâ€™t recommend any to do so. I usually use my car as a dining room.
If there is no lineup, Shawarmas take less than a minute to prepare as they are pre-cut and mixed, Cocktails take about 2 minutes to concoct, and Oven-Baked Mutabbags take about 5-10 minutes to serve.
What exactly is Mutabbag? It is a square shaped pie stuffed with a filling which can be either savory or sweet. The Mutabbag Man stretches the dough, places a square spring roll sheet in the center (to strengthen the ultra-thin dough), adds the filling on top the spring roll sheet, and then folds the ends to enclose the filling. The Mutabbag is then either baked in an oven, or seared on a cooktop.
It is a rarity to find oven-baked Mutabbags, and this is the main reason I enjoy eating them here. On my visit I ordered a Sweet Cheese Mutabbag (6 SR) before placing an order for the Shawarmas. I have to say that every time I order a Sweet Cheese Mutabbag (at any Mutabbag place) I keep wondering what type of cheese they use. Is it really cheese or a mixture of dried milk with sugar and other additives? My question remains unanswered.
Chicken Shawarma (4 SR) is mixed with Tomatoes, Parsley, and Tahini sauce. The mix is wrapped in Arabic Pita Bread. It might seem like a typical Chicken Shawarma to the reader, but it actually is far from typical. The chicken is cooked right, with just the perfect amount of tomatoes and parsley, and the tahini sauce brings everything together.
The Meat Shawarma (3 SR) is atypical! It is what we (people from the Eastern Province) call it: Jeddawi/Hejazi Shawarma. The Meat Shawarma is mixed with so many ingredients and spices and then stuffed in a Samooli (Hot Dog) Bun, and then pressed on top of the grill. I canâ€™t really tell what exactly is in the mix â€“ I really donâ€™t care â€“ I just know that it satisfies my taste buds.
By the time I finished eating my Shawarmas, the Mutabbag was ready. The timing was perfect, but I had to wait for it cool down. Unlike most places that sear their Mutabbags, this bad pie is thick and oil-free.Read more