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Zam Zam Grill and Hookah offers good food and good company / Helen Grant
The hummus plate, a traditional staple.
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Stigler, Oklahoma native and Stanford University graduate Pamela J. Olson wrote in the recently published Fast Times in Palestine, A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland of the warmth of the Palestinian people and the tasty food that they served to their guests. And patrons of Zam Zam Mediterranean Grill and Hookah on the 3800 block of North MacArthur Boulevard in Warr Acres can experience some of the hospitality and good food that Olson wrote about.

That establishment is operated by the Abuobead family who brought with them from the Middle East a variety of dishes that are now listed on Zam Zam menus. They include various kebabs and gyros composed of different types of meat, hummus, and salads. One of the more intriguing and delectable items on the menu is “quesadillas”, a reflection of what food writers call “fusion” in which different immigrant culinary traditions  come together in the US to create things such as “Korean tacos” and “kosher burritos”.  

Yusuf Abuobead recently explained that that dish is based on a classic Arab preparation and includes meat and pita bread. Interestingly, in recent months an item has appeared on the menu of several other Middle Eastern eateries in the Oklahoma City area that is identified as being “Mediterranean quesadillas”. It is possible that restaurateurs come to each other’s establishments to enhance their own menus.

On Friday and Saturday evenings Zam Zam offers a buffet that includes many dishes, some of which accomplish the difficult task of making vegetables tasty.  The buffet includes deserts as well.  The buffet serves as a social event, as couples with young children arrive and visit with one another and sip mint tea in small glasses. It is also a reminder of the importance of the role of family Middle Eastern culture, in that elderly relatives are shown open and devoted affection by their children and grandchildren which may not be as often publicly displayed in the US.

Zam Zam’s hookah bar is located on an enclosed porch that adjoins the restaurant and on most evenings men and women can be seen smoking hookah pipes. An open porch area is offered as well. There is often a festive atmosphere at the hookah bar, as the smell of fragrant tobacco fills the air and patrons converse with one another in a variety of languages in a friendly and sometimes animated manner. A large screen television is usually on, and on nights when the Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Team plays customers puff on hookah pipes and  collectively cheer when a member of the Thunder scores. 

Zamzam Grill & Houkah on Urbanspoon

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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