Dearborn is the Plymouth Rock of the American Arab community, but it is also the culinary capitol of Middle Eastern food. If you want to truly enjoy Middle East — or more specifically Arabian food, Dearborn is the place to go. The Arab National Museum has announced a new program called “Yalla Eat!” to introduce the public to some of the city’s best restaurants
By Ray Hanania
Even before Middle Eastern food was popular in America and the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet were as much as secret as the location of the Holy Grail, early American Arab immigrants would flock to the city of Dearborn which is viewed as the “Plymouth Rock” of American Arab settlement, to buy Arabian andMiddle East foods and food ingredients.
Today, thanks to companies like Ziyad Brothers Importing, and the huge growth of Arab restaurants in all 5o American states, most people don’t have to drive very far to get good Middle East foods. There are middle Eastern restaurants almost in every city. When I travel, I always try to document them, and share their existence.
But the center of Arabian cuisine remains the place where American Arabs fortified their American roots, the city of Dearborn, just outside of Detroit, Michigan.
Dearborn is the home to the Arab American National Museum, a wonderful place to enjoy or research American Arab history and culture. But it also organizes some great public programs, usually based around literate and other events.
Recently, they announced the launch of a new program called “Yalla Eat!” a program to introduce participants to some of the best restaurants in Dearborn.
It’s a great idea. I am a Middle Eastern Master Chef and no one makes grape leaves better than I do. (Arab men love to cook as much as or even more than their wives and Arab women.)
Yalla Eat! does more than fill your stomach with great food. It gives you a firsthand look at the Arab community in detroit, through the eyes of the Arab communities food and restaurant industry.
The museum explains the fun:
Through guided walking tours of Detroit’s historic Eastern Market and Dearborn’s Warren Avenue, participants learn the story of Arab Americans in metro Detroit, including the history of Arab merchants in and around Eastern Market and on East Dearborn’s busy commercial strip.
On the Yalla Eat! tours, you will meet small business owners eager to share with you the story of their family-run enterprises. You will savor the sights, sounds and delicious scents at bakeries, nut + coffee merchants and fruit + vegatable markets. Traditional Arabic hospitality is on fully display, as generous samples are offered.
Warren Avenue tours are generally offered every fall; they begin and end at Super Greenland Market, 12715 W. Warren, in the heart of the Arab American shopping district in East Dearborn.
In addition, AANM has published a Yalla Eat! Culinary Map of Dearborn for self-guided exploration. It’s available free at the Museum admission desk 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. To view the map online, click HERE.
Eastern Market tours, offered in late spring, begin and end at Germack Coffee Roasting Company, Roastery & Espresso Bar, 2517 Russell St., Detroit. *Note: Two of the Eastern Market stops are at active meat-processing facilities.
You need to book the tours through the museum so here’s the information on making reservations and getting tickets:
Tickets for Yalla Eat! tours are available in advance only on the AANM site; all participants receive a Yalla Eat! shopping tote, a Yalla Eat! culinary map of Dearborn (for self-guided exploration) and one complimentary admission to the Arab American National Museum.
Each tour is led by a Museum docent and is limited to 12 people to allow for an intimate and interactive experience. Tours run approximately 2.5 hours; comfortable walking shoes required. Many stops offer free food samples, and shopping is encouraged.
$20 general public
$15 Museum Members
1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 Click to get Tickets
10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 Click to get Tickets
1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 Click to get Tickets
10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 Click to get Tickets
If you have questions, contact Dr. Matthew Jaber Stiffler at 313.624.0205 or HERE.
For more information about the Museum, click here.
And Check Out Ziyad Brothers Importing. Their website at www.Ziyad.com offers many of the Arab communities best food recipes, should you decide to give making the meal a try yourself. Ziyad offers the best food ingredients and you can get them at almost every ethnic and Middle East store in the country.