Reasons to try Chips Oman Sandwich
To celebrate UAE’s 47th National Day, we decided to make a tribute to the most epic dishes in this country – the Chips Oman Sandwich. Agreed, the choice of the dish isn’t unexpected, but honestly, if you ask us, is there any dish that can be any better?
Why did we choose this over the other top contenders for the spot?
Over all those swooning over Shawarmas, Falafels and Hummus? Or the Rainbow Milk laden sweet Kadak Chai? We feel that the Chips Oman Sandwich is uncomplicated, fiercely tasty, unique and hasn’t migrated out of the UAE borders to, say… Poland, or say San Fransisco where you will find food trucks selling both popular and unique food from around the world. Think only garlic noodles or Japanese crepes! In fact, we were in Poland this summer and we lunched on the most delicious Shakshouka and a variety of hummus. We even met the man who owns a Hummus Bar selling 20 different varieties of hummus! We have eaten shawarma and falafel sandwiches in Times Square in NYC, Piccadilly in London, Soma StrEat Food Park in San Fransisco. We’ve read articles like ‘The Best Shawarma in Kolkata (this editor had to quite obviously plug her home town in!), so on and so forth.
Tell me, have you ever eaten a Chips Oman Sandwich anywhere else apart from the popular roadside Malabari cafeterias in this country?
Let’s imagine that you substitute Chips Oman with any of your favourite local chips – Doritos, Pringles, Kurkure, you name it. We bet you won’t get this epic favour combination elsewhere.
There’s another compelling reason too behind this verdict – the dish is definitely a long-distance runner. It’s a big hit with the young generation who will carry the legacy forward to wherever they go once they are out of school, graduate etc. Take any new-generation UAE kid who doesn’t like eating anything beyond his/her McD, hand over an Omani Chips Sandwich and see how what happens. Smashed and squashed and gobbled up in seconds. The same holds true for every child from the earlier generations – who’s grown up studying in an UAE school!
What exactly is Chips Oman Sandwich?
Any cafeteria which has Chips Oman Sandwich on its menu, offers two versions – one in a samoon bun (like a hot dog bun) and Malbari Parotta (fried Indian flat bread paratha made with flour). A handful of spicy crisps from the particular brand of chips Chips Oman (Fresh Potato Chips with Chilli Flavour), is smashed and crumbled inside a hot dog bun or the Parotta along with a hot sauce for that extra spunk. There are a few variations available – a plain Omani Chips Sandwich has Kraft cheese smothered inside the Parotta; an Egg Omani Chips Sandwich has an omelette placed on a seat of Kraft Cheese and then the crumbled chips. However, the best seller in most places is the Hot Dog Omani Chips that comes with a crispy parotta, mayonnaise, french fries (yes, that too!). A sausage roll (beef or chicken), crumbled Chips Oman and a hot sauce. We prefer the parotta version over the bun bread any-day.
Whichever version you order, don’t forget to order a Karak Chai or a Sulaimani along with your Omani Chips sandwich. A good Karak has its own fan following, but we shall leave that conversation for another day. Sulaimani is popular too, again from Kerala’s Malabar region and is made from black tea brewed with sugar and served with a daub of lemon.
Where can you eat Chips Oman Sandwich?
There are a dearth of Malbari cafeterias in the region. However, we headed to one of the oldest cafeterias – Abdul Omar Cafeteria located in the Eppco gas station by the Dubai-Al Ain highway in Dubai Silicon Oasis. This cafeteria has been here since the last 45 years and it surprises as we try to visualise the fact – what a remote location this must have been decades back.
Today, the students from the adjoining Dubai Academic City throng the cafeteria and it’s always full. The tradition of ordering from inside the car while one is parked in front of the cafeteria continues. The staff run in and out taking and delivering orders as well as cater to diners who eat inside. It’s a well-kept cafeteria, pretty plastic chairs and dining tables complement the decor. Zafar, who’s been working here for seventeen years, tell us that we are lucky to have found some time to chat with the staff. On the hindsight, we know how busy these cafeterias generally are and opt for Juma, Friday morning to record our the experience. They allowed us inside the kitchen only after we tied up our hair in nets adhering to the strict hygiene standards required by the Dubai municipality. 700 sandwiches and 1000 Karaks are doled out on a daily basis and buzzing even when the shutter are being pulled down at 11:30pm every night!
Enjoy our video… and do try a Chips Oman Sandwich while you are in the UAE. For, you may not find one outside – not even in Oman where the brand of chips originate! Happy 47th UAE National Day to everyone!
xx Debbie & Ishita
Abdulla Omar Cafeteria
Ph No: 055 314 8773
Here’s the google location