I’m Back! (With Pictures of Souk al Hamidiyah in Damascus & Other Middle Eastern Food & Spice Markets)

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Dried Black Limes (Loomi)

Mike and I are back from the Middle East!  We had an amazing time and we want to thank all of you who expressed concern for us.  Since my blog is in no way political, I won’t get into the issues that are going on over there right now, but I will say that never at any point did we feel as though we were in harm’s way.  While there, we experienced quite a different scenario than the picture that the news painted; all I have to say is that in a world where television ratings are valued higher than truth, be careful what you believe on the news.  And get a second (or third) source if you can. 

I’m thrilled because I have tons of pictures to share with you:  pictures of old places, landmarks, markets, and foods.  I’m planning to divide the pictures into different categories and spread out the posts so they’re not overwhelming, and interspersed with the pictures I may add little tidbits of culture or information.  Of course, my first batch of pictures is mainly of food…after all, that’s what my blog is all about.  ;)

And I just have to say, I MISSED YOU ALL!  (And I’m looking forward to catching up on reading your blogs!)

The Souk Al Hamidiyah is a huge bazaar in Damascus, Syria that sells just about anything and everything you could ever want.  Inside and outside the Souk… 

A few of the foods being sold inside and outside the Souk…

Apricot Leather (Qamar al Din) is used to make drinks and desserts.

Raw (green) almonds are sold as street fare, typically eaten with a sprinkle of salt.  To me, they taste very similar to an unripe nectarine (but in a pleasant way :) ).

Yerba Mate is a hot herbal drink that’s drunk from a small, gourd-shaped cup and sipped through a metal filtered straw.  It came from South America and is now very popular in Syria…

A Selection of Yerba Mate Cups and Straws

Bakdash is the ice cream parlor I mentioned in this post.  Their Éma’a is incredible…

Rose-Scented Milk Pudding Topped with Almonds and Pistachios (Muhallibieh)

Making Éma’a…This Ice Cream is Very Taffy-Like Because of the Gum Mastic

It Wouldn’t be Éma’a Without the Pistachios

Pretty herbs and spices from other markets…

At first I thought this was pasta, but Mike told me it’s actually potato that you buy to deep fry into chips.  I was intrigued, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try it.

I’ll be sharing more pictures from our vacation soon!

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  1. says

    Welcome back! Your are so lucky to be able to see such beautiful places. That dried fruit looks gorgeous.

    I am amazed that you were able to make all of those posts while you were away; you must be really, really organized. I did not make half as many posts and I was home…lol

  2. says

    Welcome back! What wonderful picture. It’s amazing to see how they shop on the other side of the world. Very fun!! I enjoyed them a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  3. says

    What a treat to see your pics! It reminds me of the markets in Turkey. I will live vicariously through you until my next Middle East adventure. Can’t wait till your next installment.

  4. says

    Welcome back!!! I miss you :)

    Your pictures look great. I’m loving all the stuff you can pick up at the markets. I wish there was something like this where I lived. I would be in heaven!!!

  5. says

    Faith, I almost died without you! OK, obviously that’s not true, but I really felt your departure more than I expected. And I’m so glad you’re back!!! I actually never even considered you might be in harm’s way–what was going on where you were? Were you near Egypt? I’m really geography stupid so I’ll blame that for my obliviousness. Well, I’m glad you made it back OK, despite whatever turmoil was happening near you. Welcome home! The pictures are soooo incredible. I love the way they sell things out of rolled-down bags!

  6. says

    Welcome back, Faith! Glad to hear that you had a fun and safe vacation. The pictures are stunning… spice markets are such great subjects!

  7. says

    Wow! Everything looks fresh and fantastic. I would have a hay day with those spices and dried fruits! I’ve missed you and & I’m so glad you and Mike are back safe and sound. :)

  8. says

    I’m so glad you had a great time! Your pictures are so beautiful… I love all of the vibrantly colored different kinds of foods!

  9. says

    What beautiful pictures! I love getting to see things like these, I would love to experience them at some point in my life! Glad to hear your trip was so good despite the troubles going on. And can’t wait to see more pictures :D

  10. Fiona says

    Hamdillaah Salama !!

    Glad you both arrived back safely, I know you wouldn’t have missed this trip for the world. Your pictures are lovely, and make me want to visit Syria too. I look forward to sharing some of your family recipes!

  11. says

    I’m so excited your back Faith, I wasn’t worried for you (much) I was pretty sure most of what is blasted across the world is yet another media deal, BUT…, its awesome to hear all the same. Now., onto the good stuff. The photos……. OMG!!!! I’m about to dash off to work, but I’m coming back again this afternoon for some serious drooling girl, its like a little window into a world I’ll probably never see, but all those spices, all that culture, the architecture. I can’t wait for more pics of your holiday. Happy homecoming :)

  12. says

    Faith! These photos are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Thanks for sharing and I’m thrilled to here you had a wonderful vacation….but I did miss you!!!

  13. says

    Welcome back, Faith! The photos you’ve shared here are amazing and I look forward to seeing so much more. It’s good to hear that what we see on the news here is not the whole picture and that one should always seek other sources of information – well said.

  14. says

    wow! Love the pictures! I love how underneath the label for each herb it says what it is good for; I noticed a bag of sage that said “Lebanese sage”. Very cool, I know people in Lebanon who go there all the time and one lady who buys her fabrics there (she is a decorator). Glad you had a great time!

  15. says

    what lovely colors in these vivid photos! thanks so much for sharing, faith–it might be the closest i ever come to visiting myself!

  16. says

    Welcome back Faith! I’m so glad you are home safe and sound…how scary things must have been for you, even if you weren’t directly in harm’s way.

    Lovely photos. I am looking forward to catching up on all of your posts!!

  17. says

    Welcome back! Your pictures are amazing – I can imagine spending hours in the souk. I look forward to seeing more about your trip :)

  18. says

    Absolutely stunning photographs. Faith. I am speechless. The vibrancy and colours and bounty and beauty. This is an incredible photo essay. You know I have started (just this past January) my new business called Taste Tripping. I have never travelled here and would LOVE to. Would you (and your hubby) consider taking a tour for me as the guides? This is a serious question. Maybe one year from this trip. What an incredible experience you have had. You were gone a LONG time!
    I am truly, honestly, so sorry and so sad that I have missed reading your posts over the last two months, as I, too have been “away”. I would see them come into my e-mail, and delete them – with a heavy heart. I didn’t at first, but it became apparent I could never catch up. I am thrilled to be participating in the planning of an important local slow food conference in our area which has taken up way more time than I ever imagined it would. Important work, but I really miss the relationships I have developed through blogging and know there will be a hole from what I have missed these past two months. I am eager to cook, entertain, read, and write. Happy Easter and Spring to you and your husband!

  19. says

    Great to have you back and glad to hear that you had a good trip, can’t wait to hear more about your adventures. The pictures of the markets look amazing, thanks so much for sharing!

  20. says

    I’m so glad to have backtracked on some of your missed posts…especially this outstanding one with the breathtaking photos. You captured the essence of the people through their amazing myriad of treats and I for one am rinsing my eyes from them.

    Faith, I glad you’re home safe and that you had a lovely time with Hubby ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  21. says

    Hi Faith!

    Glad to hear that you and Mike are home safe and sound, even though you said you never felt you were ever in harm’s way. Sorry I’m so late at commenting. I’m trying to catch up on my blog reading from our vacation.

    Wow! Look at all those amazing photos you took. I am dying to have that ice cream right now. And those chips looks to tempting. Can you imagine, freshly fried chips? Sorry you didn’t get a chance to try them though. Can’t wait to see more pics. Glad to have you back!

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