If it comes out of a hole in the wall it must be good.

Naan - before the fire

The other day I’m wandering Bur Dubai – one of the old neighborhoods in Dubai.  Devoid of big hotels, spewing fountains and shiny lights.  Instead you find authentic Rajasthani cuisine, knock-off Fendi bags, every off-duty taxi driver in the city and Pakistani men trying to sell anything to your lily white tourist face.

“Hi friend.  Hi friend.  Come.  Come.  Just look.  No charge for just looking.  Come in friend.  Come look.  Good price for you.”

$0.30 worth of steaming hot heaven

The other thing you find is piping hot Naan (Indian bread) served out of a literal hole in the wall.  Walk up, lay down a 1 AED coin (about $0.30) on the carpeted counter.  Watch as a ball of dough is expertly flattened and placed into a burning hot brick oven with a 3-meter long peel.  The Naan takes only minutes to cook, but that gives enough time to look around at the crowd also patiently waiting for their Naan.  And realize that they are all watching…you.  Being the one little giggly white girl anywhere is a funny experience.  One that I would advise trying on for size.

“How much?” I say to the man with the peel.  No answer.

“One dirham,” says the man next to me waiting with his four dirham coins stacked up in front of him.

“Thanks,” I respond with a smile as I dig a coin out of my pocket.  I lay it on the counter with authority and look up.

All eyes on me.

Bur Dubai dry cleaning

I smile and get a few smiles back, a couple glares and a crap-load of quizzical “What the hell are you doing buying street food?” looks.  I smile more, grab a little white plastic bag from the stack hanging against the wall and look away to the fire that is bubbling my Naan up against the hot brick.  Seconds later the Naan is pulled from the fire and tossed on the counter.  I look up at the man waiting next to me.  With a side to side head bob (the Indian equivalent to a nod) I grab the large pizza-sized Naan, fold it in four as I’ve seen the waiting men do and stuff it in the bag, but not before it has a chance to burn off at least 7 layers of skins from my fingertips.  If I wanted to commit a crime I should do it now because I have no finger print left.

I walk away pulling chunks off and tossing them in my mouth before it has a chance to cool.  Cool Naan is decent.  Piping hot Naan is orgasmic.

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