Best shawarma this side of Damascus

Apparently Syrians used to drive for miles just to eat here, and now Al Farouk, one of the most famous Shawerma joints in Damascus, is available in Beirut.

I read about Al Farouk’s “temporary” closure in Syria and subsequent move to Lebanon in a Wall Street Journal piece by my friend Nour Malas.

Tender, savory, all white meat, with a hint of citrus. I have to say it’s one of the best Shawerma’s I’ve ever had:

The Syrian Shawerma is significantly different than the Lebanese version. Instead of the bulky pita, Al Farouk uses a thin saj bread. There are no french fries and the garlic sauce and pickles are slightly different.

LBC has also done a piece on Al Farouk, claiming 20 employees have moved to Beirut to run the new branch, which is located just around the corner from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hamra (map).

So far, I’ve eaten at Farouk about three times. Employees say business is going well, but they are still eager to get back home. A couple of weeks ago, the manager told me they would reopen in Damascus “within days.”

A couple of nights ago, the head chef told me: “We are re-opening in Damascus tomorrow.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if that date continues to be pushed forward as the war drags on. Al Farouk is one of several Syrian establishments that have re-located in Lebanon, according to Nour’s article. Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece for Al Jazeera about how Syrian television companies and production crews have also begun operating here.

The tragedy of the war is immeasurable. But it is nice to know that some business owners have found ways to survive, create jobs and offer new culinary and cultural exchanges in Lebanon.

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