Monday, March 06, 2006

Lunch @ Dora

On Sunday yesterday, I took the bus again. Mrs. Cheek, Judy, Jeff and I were heading for Dora (read: Dowrah). It was the same bus service that took us to ABC Mall the day before. Passing the ABC Mall in Ashrafieh on the route back to Hamra, the bus took a right turn up to the Highway north of Beirut and headed towards the direction of City Mall. We got to Dora about 10 minutes later.

We got off the bus at a large roundabout where the Center for International Technology (CIT) is located. My first impression of Dora was of a down-to-earth part of an Asian city. In fact, the facade of conjoining shop-houses and low-rise buildings looks almost similar to older sections of Bangkok, Manilia, Kualar Lumpur and even Singapore.

Actually, Dora is the Serangoon (Little India) of Lebanon although its not usual to find many Sri Lankans and Filipinos here. It still puzzles me to find so many Indians/ Lankans here as if they suddenly popped out of nowhere. I mean, during my half year stay in Beirut, I have not seen many Indians working here. Filipinos are common, as most of them are employed as domestic helpers or waitresses. And then suddenly, I came and I saw hundreds of Indian/Lankans congregated here in this small town completed with the quinessential "mama" shops and restaurants.

We headed to one of these restaurants located at the second floor of a "mama" shop where we ordered lunch. Our lunch was roti Chennai and Tosai. For those who don't know and I only just found out, roti Chennai IS also known as ROTI PRATA in Singapore!

It is difficult to believe that I can get Prata here in Lebanon! And it's one of the most delicious prata I've tasted! The fish curry was excellent too. The ambience was as authentic as any prata shop in Jalan Kayu or Fong Seng, complete with oily tables and Indian waiters walking around taking orders and dishing out free masala and curry. The restaurant serves only kosong prata, but after some convincing (and some language help from Judy), the cooks were able to come up with 2 delicious telok bawang prata (eggs and onions) for me and Jeff. The price was reasonable too as each prata cost about 1,000 L.L (SGD$ 1).

After lunch we shopped for a while at the "mama" shops, where I bought some green beans for boiling soup. There was also a departmental store that markets the cheapest kitchen ware I've ever seen in Beirut.

We left Dora in the late afternoon. Mrs Cheek and Judy alighted before we did to continue their shopping in Ashrafieh Spinneys supermarket, while we continued on to Jeff's apartment. We hung out for the rest of the evening in his pad watching "Terrorism Week" on National Geographic and the movie "Blade 2".

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