Shadi Martini (top) was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. He was forced to leave his home city in 2012, but he never forgot his favorite sandwich shop there.
"It's a magnificent sandwich," he says of that sandwich, which is made with sheep brain. But it's not just about the food. "It’s being [in Aleppo], eating it there, and talking to the people that makes it more delicious."
As we learned in yesterday's episode, that shop in Aleppo that Shadi loves so much is called Serjieh. And it's famous for its delicious sandwiches in a city where there is no shortage of amazing food.
Shadi loved Serjieh partly because of the food and the people. But he also loved that restaurant because it played a role in his own transformation -- from a wealthy businessman running a hospital to a guy risking his life to get medical care for demonstrators who’d been beaten by Syria's secret police:
"We established some secret facilities…gave them medical supplies," he recalls. "No one knew about it until 2012, when we were discovered."
But after Shadi fled Aleppo, he wasn't able to contact anyone there. So he doesn't know if Serjieh survived the war.
Today on The Sporkful we'll find out what happened to that beloved restaurant and its owners during the five years of intense fighting in Aleppo.
And we'll learn how being forced to leave Aleppo -- possibly forever -- has changed Shadi's life and that of his family:
"I lost everything," he says. "I lost the ability to go back to my home."
Listen in to the full episode to hear the conclusion of our two-part quest to find out whether this beloved restaurant in Aleppo survived the Syrian Civil War.
- Go to SpiceIslands.com/Sporkful for spice facts and recipes
Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:
- "Minimaliminal" by Jack Ventimiglia
- "Brain Wreck" by Bijou Basil
- "Private Detective" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
- "Steady" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
- "Feel Real Good" by Will Van De Crommert
- "Midnight Grind" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
- "Narwhal" by Casey Hjelmberg
- "Can't Bring Me Down" by Jack Ventimiglia
Photos: Dalia Mortada and courtesy of Shadi Martini