Most of my memories, happy and sad, are related to my teen years and early university. It was the best time of my life. I spent my childhood in Saudi Arabia with my family. I didn't like that place and the whole fifteen years I spent there are like a giant memory black hole. I hardly remember the place. I never speak about it and it doesn't feature in any way in my life. Moving back to Syria was the best thing that ever happened to me. New friends, new school and a huge sense of belonging to the place.

Now-a-days, part of every holiday I spend in Damascus is a visit to my teen years food haunts. The sights, smells and flavours bring back so many happy memories. The food occasionally doesn't live up to the memories but that might just prove how much our taste change as we grow older.

One place in particular is an exception. My memories of that shop dates back to my childhood. It was part of our summer holiday tradition to go with my mum to eat Sujuk sandwich in Sirop my favourite Armenian place on Al-Salehiyeh pedestrian street.

Sirop is a little gem of a shop. The place has not changed an inch since opened in 1963. The bright outside exterior takes you into this tiny shop. The smell of sujuk and pastirma spices fills the place and force into ordering couple of their tiny but absolutely delicious sandwiches. They serve a very small menu of sujuk, pastirma, Kashkaval cheese and Halloumi all served in small soft bread rolls pressed flat in a sandwich maker.

Apart from the great food the place is worth a visit just for the retro feel it offers. Their original cashier machine is worthy of a place in a museum. Next time you are in Damascus make the effort to go grab a sandwich. You will not regret it.

Syrian Fajitas(ish)

I was never a fan of fusion cuisine. I am still to try a fusion dish that tastes better or even comparable to its ancestors. Usually it is the flavour combinations that ruins the experience for me.

Personally I always found that fusion between two geographically close cuisines works better than two wide apart. May be because neighboring countries use similar ingredients so when you fuse the two cuisine, flavours don't come out of place.

So for somebody with such views to post a fusion recipe is a bit hypocritical, but I really love this dish and felt obliged to share it with you.

The recipe is definitely more Syrian than it is Mexican. The flavours and ingredients combinations is Syrian while the style and cooking methods is Mexican. I am not sure if that qualifies as fusion cuisine strictly speaking. See and judge by yourself.

Here is my Syrian Fajitas recipe:
Beef steak 500g (I use Sirloin steak)
One red pepper
One yellow pepper
Large onion
Pepper 1/2tsp
Paprika 1tsp
Chilli powder 1/2tsp
Allspice 1/2tsp
Dijon mustard 1tsp
Vegetable oil

Parsley and Onion Salad
One red onion
Parsley 70g
Juice of half a lemon

Tahini Sauce
Tahini 4tbsp
Juice of half a lemon

Two large tomatoes

8 Tortillas

Start by slicing the steak into this strips. Marinade for an hour if you have time in all the spices, salt and a little olive oil. Slice the onion and peppers into similar size strips. Heat a large frying pan or wok until very hot. Start by frying the onion in a small amount of vegetable oil for a couple of minutes. Don't over cook as the vegetables need to be a bit crunchy. Add the meat and continue to cook then add the peppers and cook for another couple of minutes.

While waiting for the meat to marinade prepare the sides.

Chop the parsley and slice the red onion very thinly. Mix together with the lemon juice.

Add the tahini, lemon juice to a bowl and start mixing with a spoon. The mixture will become stiff and light in colour. Add a little water and mix again. Add the water small amount at a time until the mixture loosens to the consistency you want. It needs to be fairly loose but not water-runny. Add salt to taste.

Thinly slice the tomatoes. Warm the tortillas.

Serve the meat and all the side dishes and the warm tortillas. Guests can make their own wraps on the table. This recipe is enough for four people.