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Somali cuisine near you!

25557 Views 78 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  ModernNomad01
Idman restaurant, London, UK:

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Safari Express, Minnesota - USA

Safari Express success

The proprietors of Safari, the Midwest’s most adventurous African restaurant, have opened a spin-off in the Midtown Global Market. Safari Express offers fast food based on the innovative menu of the original Eat Street location, but with its own signature style.

The new restaurant is a buffet serving much of the eclectic menu popularized by Sade Hashi when he opened the original Safari on Nicollet and 15th Street in 2000. Safari quickly gained notice by adding a gourmet touch to East African dishes.

Safari Express is the brainchild of younger brother Jamal Hashi, who has worked alongside Sade the past several years.

“I got the idea in 2004 on a visit to Europe,” said Jamal. “I was in Stockholm, Sweden, and there was this amazing international bazaar. I thought Safari would really fit a mix like that, and when Midtown Exchange opened, I knew I had to get in there.”

And get in there the Hashis did, with considerable help from the African Development Center. ADC provided training, extensive technical assistance and financing over the past two years to help launch Safari Express, its fifth client business to open inside the Midtown Global Market.

That opening came in mid-September of 2006, after much anticipation. Jamal acknowledges that he had hoped to open in June, catching the wave of the Midtown Global Market’s grand opening. However, the financing and construction came together slower than anticipated.

“Challenges like that are what teach you,” Jamal said. “You’ve got to expect the unexpected. Adapt.”

He said traffic was brisk during Safari Express’ first week. At one recent dinner hour, the restaurant had a steady stream of customers, Jamal’s outgoing personality drawing people in, and the food — including a Safari Express signature dish called “green chokula” — bringing them back.

Mr. Jamal Hashi is serving one of his clients

“It’s different, it’s new,” Jamal says of people’s interest in Safari Express. “I think when you open a restaurant you need to ask yourself, ‘Why should people eat at here?’ For Safari Express, it’s the uniqueness. For most people, we’re exotic because we’re serving African fare, but even then we have a twist because we have our own taste that adds new flavor to traditional recipes.”

Indeed, with its fusion of ethnic dishes and a contemporary style, Safari Express has the catchy menu and brand awareness that has launched other immigrant-owned start-ups on Lake Street into local chains. Two such expanding brands, Manny’s Tortas and La Loma Tamales, are Jamal’s neighbors in the Midtown Global Market. Jamal says proximity to other growth-oriented entrepreneurs is one of the perks of being part of the market.

“It’s great meeting these guys and hearing their stories,” he said. “They’ve walked in my shoes, and I take inspiration from what they’ve done.”

Jamal said Safari Express has five employees on its busiest shift. He himself is a constant presence, working from 7 am to 9 pm every day, a schedule made a bit easier because he lives upstairs in an apartment at the Midtown Exchange.
good thread constantine,

there is a somali restaurant in Rinkeby (sweden) called Restaurant blue moon. I had a good time there, and wasn't expecting something that big and organised from somalis but still it was quite a shock.

I love bariiiiis, basto, laxoooooox (my mom is good at) and shax canaleh (yummy).

P.S! can HUSSEIN try to talk to his higher ups about letting us somalis (djibouti, somalia + somaliland) get our own section of this website like the ethiopians do.
so the closest Somali cuisine to me is 850km away :colgate:

That's close, I will go there for lunch sometimes
There are other nice Somali Restaurants in Streatham, London....about 5km from where I live.

Lovely Thread anyway
I've been to one in Beijing ! I just don't remember the name !
I had been to dozens in Nairobi Eastleigh.
Solay Bistro, Columbus - USA / Somali-Ethiopian cuisine

Vegetarian restaurant moves, expands menu to appeal to all tastes

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 01:13 PM

For two and a half years, Nadira Abdirahman dangled a carrot for the campus vegetarian crowd but few bit.

It seemed that her restaurant, Oatganic Natural Food Market just outside of South Campus Gateway, couldn't compete with pizza, burgers and burritos.

"They just didn't know where I was coming from," she said of the students.

Recently, she renamed her restaurant and relocated it to the Northland area, staying true to her vegetarian base while broadening her appeal with several meat dishes. Solay Bistro is located in the Columbus Square shopping center. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant seats about 100. Abdirahman said she had no such inclination to follow any dietary restrictions until a year ago, when she excluded meat.

"It's not easy," said the former omnivore.

Putting her son, who is a diabetic, on a vegetarian diet and cooking his meals helped her transition into the new nutritional program.

"I love my grains," she said.

Convincing her fellow Somalis to follow her lead proves to be a difficult sell.

"They're not vegetarian," she said. "I'm the only one in the community."

So, she's opened up her menu to goat, chicken, beef and fish. Most entrees are in the $10 range. Yet, her vegetarian menu still is extensive, offering such dishes as hummus, vegetable soups, wraps and vegetarian platters, such as green lentils served with injera, an Ethiopian bread.

Solay Bistro also bakes its own flatbread, sabaya, made from wheat and unbleached white flour. She said she offers samples to diners in an effort to persuade them to try vegetarian options, such as tofu, instead of a meat protein.

"They love it. They think tofu is chicken," she said, adding that the food at Solay is not spicy.

There is no alcohol but there is a selection of tea, pop, coffee and fresh-made smoothies.

The restaurant also sells related health-food items, such as supplements, honey and tea.

Some of those dishes look quite nice actually. The tastiest one looks like the last pic in the third post. Some of those dishes look very similar to other meals you can get.
Very nice thread!

My mom calls my dad Somali because he like's to put Moz in everything. :lol: I wanna see those dishes..
there is a somali restaurant in Rinkeby (sweden) called Restaurant blue moon. I had a good time there, and wasn't expecting something that big and organised from somalis but still it was quite a shock.
Do you know if there's any Somali restaurant in the inner city?
Maskali restaurant, Ottawa - Canada/ Somali-Djiboutian cuisine

Maskali restaurant is a little East-African joint right on the edge of Vanier (23 Selkirk, corner of Montreal Rd. and River Rd.). It’s a nondescript little restaurant in a nondescript little strip mall; a mall that also houses one of our favorite Chinese grocery stores. So we had seen the restaurant before, but neither of us had set foot inside.

First of all – the smells! Oh my god. We opened the door to the restaurant and were just about floored by the spices. It smelled soooo good. We haven’t yet got a sense of how good a business this restaurant does, but if people would just walk through their doors, they would have no trouble selling their food. And the price is right. At $6.99 for a good-size sandwich, it definitely fits the Cheapeats price structure.

But what about taste? The flavor of this food is to die for. Marinated spicy meats (chicken or beef) and onions fried up and rolled into a fresh piece of crispy homemade flatbread. Flavour and texture all in one bite! The beef sandwich was nice – if a little greasy – but the chicken was like heaven. So tender and so much flavor. We knew then and there it wasn't gonna be long before we headed back to this place.

Cue Friday night: And back we go. This time for a couple of platters. You couldn't ask for a more generous meal. We got a chicken platter for $10.99 and a lamb platter for $11.99 - both of which resulted in full-bellies.

The chicken platter featured a hind quarter roasted in spices and served along with rice topped with a flavourful tomato based sauce (think cinnamon and cardamom more than marinara) and some sort of marinated raisin chutney. The weak, iceberg-lettuce salad was a throwaway item, but everything else was delicious. The second platter held the same sides, swapping the chicken for stewed, fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb. Delish!

And there's still more to try on the menu. Dine-in or take-away. we can’t wait to head back for another dose. Sorry Arby's, you're gonna have to wait
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