Yesterday was Friday, a weekend holiday in the middle east. I thought of having my dinner at a restaurant. I went to the Mansour Mall in Baghdad, Iraq in the evening thinking of what to have in the dinner. Undecided, I walked into a Lebanese restaurant, named Ahwak — an Arabic word, which means I love you.
It’s a nice restaurant. While going through the menu, I found a fish dish with an odd-sounding name: Trabelsiyeh. I didn’t have a fish for quite some time and so immediately opted for it. Eating fish is associated with many cultures of the world primarily in coastal areas. In India, Bengalis are known for their affection towards fish. Because Bengal with natural gifts of rivers, ponds, and sea coast, pisciculture was an age-old practice and thus fish became a sort of staple food for them.
The term “Trabelsiyeh” intrigued me. I made some inquiries behind the name. Tripoli, the coastal capital of North Lebanon Governorate, is well-known for its delicious seafood dishes. One of the iconic delicacies is Samke Harra Traboulsiye. The dish translates to Tripoli’s Spicy Fish.
The dish is a mix of baked fish fillet with herby Tahini sauce, toasted pine nuts, and diced vegetables, served with buttery long-grain basmati rice, and potato fries to add some crunch. The specialty of this dish lies in the sauce: the main ingredient is Tahini, or a condiment made from ground roasted sesame seeds. Lemon, garlic, and spices are added to the sauce, as well.
I remember having enjoyed this delicacy in Beirut in Lebanon earlier, but I am not sure that I noticed the term Traboulsiye then. The taste was delicious and it left a lasting experience.