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  • Al Nile is stashed in a nondescript strip center across from Jane Long Middle School on Bellaire, most easily spotted by the amount of cabs outside. Like Nazareth Cafe on Chimney Rock, Al Nile is a haven for cabbies from the Horn of Africa, as well as a retailer of spices, fresh injera from Maru Bakery, phone cards, baby supplies and, of course, hot food. Formerly called Sudany, the restaurant is probably the city’s one-stop for authentic Sudanese cuisine. Although the full menu is seldom available, and not once have I seen them sell the breakfast shawarma advertised on their wall in Spanish (huh?), what limited options they do have are an adventure to try.

    What they do offer is delicious and cheap, made fresh by a Sudanese and Iraqi kitchen staff. Mokhlia is a slightly bitter and buttery, green Sudanese lamb stew, served with your choice of French bread or injera and accompanied with an addictive green chile sauce and small salad. Also offered are foul — Egyptian or Sudanese style with boiled egg crumblings on top — and tamiya, Sudanese falafel. No dish tops out at more than $6, and Sudanese baklava is available daily for those interested in giving it a try. Other items drift in and out the poorly organized but charming menu, and the proprietor has assured me multiple times that Sudanese dishes like mish or aswad — delicious mixtures and sauces — will someday be added, but that remains to be seen. The vibe here is definitely an African men’s club hangout, but all types will be made to feel welcome if you come with an open mind.

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