Formerly one of the most important cities in the region Aleppo is now rising from the ashes of war, the tourists are back, the souk is slowly coming back and there is now a street food Aleppo scene.
To read about the best bar in Syria click here.
What’s it like to visit Aleppo?
Visiting Aleppo is relatively easy on a tour these days, but it is a shadow of its former self. Half of the city lies in ruins, while the souk, previously the biggest in the Middle-East largely lies in ruins.
There are though lots of tourists sites, such as the citadel, some great restaurants, one bar and as street food scene.
Do not though expect a Damascus vibe here. It is much more conservative, perhaps a reason why so many here turned to ISIS, but is still a must see when you visit Syria. There are now direct flights to the city, but if you are coming on a group tours to Syria you are most likely going to take the bus from Damascus.
Street Food Aleppo – The Citadel
The cantre point of the city and the epicentre of tourism to Aleppo is the citadel. Tais fortress has stood for thousands of years and during the time of ISIS housed the Syrian Army. When you tour it not only do you see the amazing history of the place, but also sone of the best views of the city, both good and bad.
The citadel also works as a social hub for Aleppo being surrounded by cafes, kids playing and street food. Now while not exactly eclectic you can pick up corn, cotton candy and great small snacks at the cafes.
Our place of choice was the imaginatively titled Aleppo Citadel Cafe, where we had small pita with either pesto, cheese, or a spicy sauce. Food though is the secondary joy here, with people watching alongside Syrian men and women smoking shisha and drinking tea.
Street Food Aleppo – Aleppo Souk
Probably the coolest, but alas the saddest part of Aleppo. Back in the day the place was nigh on destroyed by Islamic State and now instead of being the biggest souk in the world is but a shadow of its former self.
There are though now a few streets opened and while not eclectic there is s lot of focus on sweet foods. There’s tons of different Syrian candies Syrian Turkish delight, Syrian baclava and fresh meats. A KG of really good Turkish delight will set you back just over a buck.
This is also the place to try Aleppo soap, which at 800 years and going is the oldest continuous brand in the world. I will write up Aleppo soap at some point!
And while not exactly the main focal point for street food Aleppo it is worth walking through the main market which is apposite the souk to see what goods are available to everyday Aleppo folk.
Best restaurant in Aleppo
When it comes to street food in Aleppo you can get your jollies much like in the rest of the country with falafel and shawarma joints, but there are also a number of really great restaurants, but where is the best restaurant in Aleppo?
For this I would have to go all out and say Cordoba Restaurant which is not far from the central park and is not only well known locally, but is usually full with locals. The survive here is amazing and we were truly treated like VIP’s, with free dessert and just an overall welcoming vibe.
All the usual favourites are served here, but there’s also a few specialties, such as the Aleppo kebab and sheep testicles. I’ve had mutton balls in China, but was not a fan, these though were pretty good and a bit like an English sausage.
To read about a Saveloy’s click here.
I’d say they lose some points for lack of alcholol, but in fairness it is just a much more conservative place. Drinks wise tehre is Cheers Bar – the only bar in town, or a few shops selling beer. Amazingly we were to find Ukrainian beer, which at 8 percent certainly did the job.
Hotels in Aleppo
The most famous hotel in Aleppo is the Baron Hotel, which has former guests that includes Lawrence of Arabia and Agatha Christie, sadly it is closed t sleeping in, but can be visited as part of a tour.
You can read about the Baron Hotel here.
This leaves the centrally located Aleppo Palace Hotel as the best bang for your buck. Interestingly there is a Sheraton Aleppo, which while deluxe is unlikely to be owned by the big corporate group due to sanctions.
And that is the street food Aleppo and overall Aleppo travel story, a cultural and culinary delight and a must see when you visit Syria.
To read about the next YPT tour click here click here.