Little Baghdad, California: Refugee restaurant owners bringing Iraqi cuisine to San Diego County

Farther north in El Cajon, Mazin Majeed owns Al Azayem, a extra informal, diner-type Iraqi eatery. Clients pay on the counter, however in true Iraqi hospitality type, servers run across the tables providing tea, bread, soup and salad free of cost with all sit-down orders. While nonetheless offering classics like biryani, hen cream chop, basturma and shawarma, Majeed additionally serves specialties like liver tikka cutlets and kubba saray baghdadiya, a tomato-based mostly soup with spiced meatballs. Arabic information blares from a TV on one wall, whereas American flags and “I Voted” stickers (presents from Majeed’s clients) adorn one other.

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