Bahrain is rich in tradition. And the good thing is the government, and the people, are extremely pro-active in maintaining that tradition.
While conventional methods of shopping in the open markets and the suq may have taken a back seat, what is thriving are the traditional street cafes in all parts of the country, particularly in the capital, Manama and the ancient epicenter of Bahrain – Muharraq.
One such place is the Haji’s Cafe, tucked away in one of the old city’s lanes. When I went there at breakfast time on a working day, the place was crowded with office-goers, tourists and shop workers. Though there was still a lot of room to spare, the entire lane the cafe occupies presented a rather festive look.
While what they serve is something we can easily make at home, what sets such places apart is the rich culture and tradition, the ambience, the conventional furniture, the servers and the feel.
Truly one of the best places I have been to for a slice of Bahraini life.
To top it all, two people can have a meal to their heart’s content for less than $10.
Now, that’s value for money – with all the freebies thrown in!!
A quick trip to the little shop round the corner from my office for “breakfast” is an option each day during a break in work but it was only yesterday that I noticed the “colour” on offer.
These pictures were taken as I waited for my order of “samosas” to be prepared. The incredibly busy place has this, and more, with sweet and savory delights from across the Sub-continent available.
And this is not the only one. In Bahrain, one is never far away from anything “Indian”, with Indian owned shops, businesses and establishments everywhere, making sure we are never away from “home”.
That said, a standard Indian breakfast here is not only very filling, it is also good value for money, at a dollar, or less, per person.
Pictured are the several kinds of traditional Indian sweets and savoury snacks available, apart from, of course, the breakfast!
Nothing like a traditional Bahraini breakfast at the start of a working day. And that’s what happened today.
It always happens. I start work very early in the day and that means no (or a very hurried) breakfast. That also means I have to ‘exist’ on tidbits (and the occasional tea and coffee at “peepa” time).
But that was not to be this morning. Having finished work on the month’s magazine issue, I had some spare time and that prompted me and a colleague to take a 15-minute walk to the Old Suq. And what better way to celebrate the rapidly changing weather (it’s actually getting pleasant now) that parking ourselves at the Manama roadside cafe and having our fill.
Work could wait (there wasn’t any in the day, anyway) but this opportunity does not come often, especially on a weekday.
We ordered liver fry and tomato scrambled egg along with plenty of local leaf and the traditional ‘khabas’ (bread). Of course, there was Sualimani Chai (Black tea) to wash it down with.
It’s an understatement to say we had a great time. We absolutely loved it, especially since it’d been a while since I had this stuff.
The rest of the day was, well, well-spent after the perfect beginning.
And, just for the record, we spent a dinar and a half only ($4) for the spread!Value for money, certainly.
As for the “peepa time”, that’s quite another story!
Watch this space!!
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