Zaatar Bread & Middle Eastern Food in Detroit

This was listed as a Mediterranean breakfast on the menu at a local restaurant. When I tell other vegans I'm from Detroit, they give me a funny look and ask just how excruciatingly difficult it is to find vegan food. While vegan is still 'abnormal' here, there is definitely a growing movement. In the last week alone, I've heard of a new (almost) vegetarian restaurant (they serve fish too) and a new vegan food cart, but there is still a long way to go. The one thing that I often take for granted though when asked about vegan options here is the fact that there is excellent, authentic Middle Eastern food everywhere in the Metro Detroit area. We are really fortunate and, dare I say, spoiled? Oh yes, we are SPOILED!

In fact, it was only while traveling (and attempting to look for a middle eastern restaurant) that I realized that not only are there just not that many in many other cities, but they often don't even compare to the food you find around here. I actually went to a Mediterranean restaurant in another state that served prepackaged hummus on their sandwiches. Seriously? This experience changed my life. Really. It created the need for a new ritual. So for several years, I had a ritual of going to my favorite middle eastern restaurant the last day before I left for a trip and the day I came back because I just felt so deprived when I was away from home!

Why, you might ask, is there such a plethora of delicious, authentic middle eastern food in a place like . . . Detroit (bad reputation, I know)? Well, there is an extremely large Arab population in the Metro Detroit area. They say around here that we have the greatest number of Arabs outside the Middle East, but I have since read that one other city (outside North America) has more. At any rate, I feel we pretty much love our Arabs here and . . . could it be because they supply us with excellent, healthy food that we just can't get enough of?

Where to Find: This is from Cafe Jole in Warren, MI.

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