A long-promised breakfast rendez-vous with my Very First Friend in Hargeisa had a late start. Listen–I was on time, that’s all I’ll say about it. Indeed, timeliness bore fruit: I enjoyed a first course rather unwittingly, not knowing just how extensive the menu is at Harrar Coffeehouse, and witnessed delivery to the cafe of some of the city’s finest doughnuts.
Well, since I thought we were meant to indulge in a coffee-pastry meal, I ordered enough for two people and then proceeded to eat most of it at a sidewalk table: pain au raisin, spicy and fried goat-meat sambusa, and the aforementioned donuts that are wildly fluffy and sweet without an obvious glaze, a feat driven by the sucrose-adoring Somali palette.
Though alone at my table, I enjoyed the company of rawther dignified middle-aged fellows enjoying their coffee a few tables down, and the hustle and bustle of foot and car traffic at this busy intersection presided over by the Gargaar Branch of Dahabshil Bank. While waiting for my dear friend, Abdifatah, who is perpetually just 5 minutes away at any given time and up until his arrival, I made friends with a honeybee (who was making the much more intimate acquaintance of my latte) and perused a newspaper whose highlights I did my best to grasp.
Anyway, all this as prelude to the moment of my friend’s arrival, when he actually gave the mostly-eaten basket of pastries back to the waiter in disgust (at me, for ruining my appetite with these snacks!), and promptly ordered me to a rooftop I didn’t even realize existed, for a proper breakfast. Upward and onward!
I ordered a single dish and so did my friend, yet somehow the spread was greater than the sum of its parts. Abdifatah enjoyed suqaar, goat meat cubed(-ish) and sauteed with onion, bell pepper, perhaps a bit of garlic, perhaps a bit of tomato paste. Suqaar is often enjoyed with canjeero, a sturdy, spongy flatbread made with a fermented batter that gives it a tang. It’s a common breakfast choice for good reason: all the energy you need to get through to your next meal.
And I ordered shako shako, presumably related to Yemeni-style shakshouka, though these eggs are not poached nor swimming in tomato sauce as are more Mediterranean-style shakshukas. Nay, shako shako is an unfettered toss of browned scrambled eggs with a medley of sauteed vegetables, served in a heap with a basket of baguette-style bread.
There was Somali tea, orange juice, avocado juice, and I may have requested the prompt return of my uneaten doughnuts and then, well, I may have eaten them. Stomachs bursting, we determined to have another breakfast date and are, as habit would have it, late.
Qurac wanagsan, happy breakfast, from Harrar Coffeehouse in downtown Hargeisa!