Bun-kabab in Naples, Italy

Owais Mughal

We were recently walknig in the back alleys of Naples. The scene was very traditional Italian. In narrow pathways there were shops selling all kinds of merchandise from colorful pasta to miniature art, guitars to fountain pens and old books. There were children playing football in every open space. In all this traditional Itlaian set up I suddenly heard a Bollywood tune. As I looked up I saw this signboard which showed Aishwarya with a raised hand serving what we in Pakistan call a “Bun-Kebab” (or is it “Bund-Kabab”?).
Well, I was pleasantly surprised and then I hypnotically walked in this place where I found out that it was a Pakistani restaurant. The name is ‘Ali Baba 40’ – which sounds more like Ali Baba has just celebrated his 40th birthday instead of being accompanied by 40 thieves. Anyways I want to commend the ingenuity of the person who came up with the idea of removing the word ‘thieves’ from the proverbial alf-laila phrase to run his business. Atleast he didn’t re-write Arabian Nights by changing the phrase Ali Baba 40 thieves to Ali Baba 40 pappoo or Ali Baba 40 bachay or Ali Baba 40 samosay.

I think Aishwarya’s photo on the signboard is meant to represent Ali Baba’s domestic helper – who if I remember right was called Marjeena in Arabian Nights.

Ok. back to my anecdote. This restaurant had a wall mounted TV which was showing a Bollywood movie so that is where the music was coming from. We ordered couple of plates of ‘samosa-chutney’ . See photo below.

It was a surreal experience to order food in Urdu, eat Samosas and watch Priyanka Chopra dancing on TV in the heart of traditional Italy. We were on our way shortly but this experience of eating samosas in Naples will remain with me for a long time. The photos of this post are the little souvenirs that I brought back with me.

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