It is mid September in Bahrain but the sun still proudly shines throughout all the Gulf. We all know what it means, longer time for shorts and shades, tanner skin, beachwear show offs, ice creams with fruit toppings, you know, all other perks of living in Middle East. When most of people are whining about the heat (for God’s sake, what do they expect for living in this place? snow?), I who happens to love every moment of summer take the advantage of it by walking every day back and forth to work. Seizing the moment as this might be one of the thing that can remind me of home: being sweaty at the day time. Stick around with deodorant!
This weekend is supposed to be technically the last weekend of summer, so why don’t we have a little bit summer moment. Anything would do. Camping, beach party, mountain adventure, a golf match, or just simple thing like I did this morning: having breakfast. Hold back and relax, you might have breakfast every morning but guess who can have the real Arabian breakfast this morning? Of course not you! Well, unless you actually had.
It was the Manama Souq where I was heading this morning. Along with my family, we arrived at the famous city landmark, Bab Al Bahrain (literally means Gateway of Bahrain) around 8.30 AM, our version of perfect breakfast time. The magnificent white gate was welcoming us as we parked the car right in front of it. Some pigeons were eating anything they could find on the ground, A lot of people were passing by or just hanging out around the circle fountain behind the gate. It was beautiful summer morning.We walked deeper through the small alleys to get to the place. The alley was definitely smaller than Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley but my excitement was much bigger instead. Right in the middle of the alley, at least 10 benches were placed where it was fully seated by people, enjoying their breakfast. The place was more like an Arabic version of tavern, it was traditionally interesting and magical, as like what I love about markets. Besides the outdoor area where you could see the real market life, they had 2 other indoor areas for family and we chose the left one where we usually went to as it was not our first time to be there. Weekend was always a busy time there, we needed to wait for like 15 minutes to be seated as it was full, not just with locals but also people from other Nations.
Just one second after we sat, we couldn’t hardly wait to order our favourites as usual: It was Baked beans and cheese, Dhal, Scrambled eggs, Ommelete, Jibun with Pineapple jam, and of course Chai for the drink. I know, I know, most of you are not familiar with those food, but once you taste them, you’ll just love them.
Let me tell you an interesting fact. In Indonesia, rice is a main food and is literally used in any kind of meal, anytime, even breakfast. What I learn here, rice is also a major thing but for breakfast, the famous Kubus bread is the one to chew instead. Any food that we ordered earlier come with this complimentary of this Kubus Bread, the round big bread that you can just rip off anyway you want (1 bread is more than enough for 1 person for breakfast, I swear!), a plate of Onion and Lemon, a plate of Cucumber and Tomato, and a plate of Random Leave that we don’t really know what (Sorry!).
We had our table covered by disposable plastic cloth, not because it was not fancy, but so that it was clean, because guess how we ate? Yes, we had none of personal plate, we ate it directly on the table!
We had to wait quite long for the food which was understandable do to their business. But when the food arrived, the Hunger Game was on! First each person should take the breads and put them right in front of you. Then just ripped it off and chose with what you want to, and in this case, everything was suitable. You could go with delicious scrambled eggs, or got tasty with baked beans. You could even go sweet with jibun which literally means cheese and pineapple jam, and just combine everything. They were all fine.
I took the first bite with the baked beans and put cucumber and tomato as my favourite. The second bite of my version had always to be jibun and the jam. loved them. As for the taste when you put different stuffs in the bread were incomparable. Each of them had their own great taste that you couldn’t just go with one thing, you always wanted to try everything. Don’t forget the chai, their version of milk and tea which was lighter to the Indonesian, Thai, or Malaysian version.
I have had experience with South-East Asian and Western breakfast most of the time but before I got to the Middle East, I had never experienced any Arabic style and what could be better to had it in the actual place. We got the great food and experience. Combo. Not to mention that they are healthy and vegetarian. This Arabian breakfast is definitely favourite. And they’re cheap to, according to the standard here, of course. Now I understand why this place was busy
After the breakfast, we took some walk around the place. Manama Souq is actually a really huge market, where you can find literally everything. Clothes, electronics, jewelry, souvenirs, you name it, they have it. It was mentioned as one of the very first Manama’s downtown as it’s literally in the heart of the city which now had been renewed by the government. Besides the magnificent white gate with pictures of old-self around its columns and walls, they had this modern shopping center inside it with some restaurants too.
See the rest of it by yourselves through some pictures I snapped. Manama Souq is literally a tradition with a modern touch.