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Fatuma Restaurant

4869 University Avenue, City Heights

Suqar, beer, ukun for breakfast?

That's the choices here at Fatuma, the Somali place up in Little Mogadishu, in City Heights.

Guy behind the counter says “suqar” is ground beef, “beer” is liver, and “ukun” is eggs. Each dish goes for $5.49.

Except I'm here at around nine at night. "Only up til eleven in the morning," says the manager, Dr. Ridwan.

Dang. I was curious. Though actually I came in here hoping they might have some camel meat. I'd had some at another Somali place, Coffee Time Daily. Enjoyed its smoky, gamey taste.

"No, we can't get it it now," he says. "But we do have goat. It tastes a little bit the same."

The goat plate is called Wasla Plate. Turns out “wasla” is goat. It comes with basmati rice or spaghetti, plus salad, plus, this being Somali cooking, a banana. All for $9.99.

The taste is yes, gamey, but spices like cumin make it interesting. It's on the bone, so you've got to watch for sharp little break-offs. But it's worth it. Specially with some hot sauce. The spaghetti - thanks to the Italians colonizing parts of Somalia back in the day - rounds out the taste. And the banana you're expected to break up and mush in with everything - that's a totally Somali thing - adds sweetness.

"Of course our bananas in Somalia are bigger and much sweeter," says Dr. Ridwan.

I swear. It's a journey of discovery.

Including the discovery that I'm dining in the presence of...a King?

More in upcoming Tin Fork.

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