Palestinian Chicken at Al Aseel: Yes, It's Real
Palestinian chicken on the grill at Al Aseel.
Photos by Troy Fields
In this week's cafe review of Palestinian diner Al Aseel, I referred to an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm called "Palestinian Chicken" in which Larry David's character on the HBO show finds a Middle Eastern restaurant serving the best grilled chicken he's ever tasted.
David, a Jew, keeps eating there despite the restaurant's anti-Zionist leanings and -- in typical Larry David style -- even ends up sleeping with the proprietress because he finds her anti-Semitic attitude sexy.
You can see the entire episode below, if you're interested. I'm not a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm -- which, to me, is a less funny and more spiteful, masochistic version of Seinfeld -- but millions of people are. Which is why, in the days following the episode's original air date on July 24, Google searchs for the term "Palestinian chicken" led to those viewers discovering that -- yes -- Palestinian chicken is a real thing.
At our sister paper in Los Angeles, food critic Jonathan Gold responded to questions from LA Weekly's readers about the provenance of Palestinian chicken and where it could be found.
"It's not generally referred to as Palestinian chicken," Gold wrote, "but the Palestinian kitchen is well-known for a chicken dish called mousakhan, baked with onions, spices and lashings of tart sumac, often served with broad sheets of ultrathin bread."
Gold noted that there wasn't a place in Los Angeles which serves musakhan chicken (a.k.a. Palestinian chicken). Which is why, once again, you can trumpet Houston's culinary superiority over LA's.
Musakhan chicken getting its sauteed onion topping.
Not only can you get musakhan chicken here in the Bayou City at Al Aseel ("What's not to eat in Houston?"), you can get it in half or whole orders; a whole musakhan chicken will feed two.
And not only can you get half or whole musakhan chicken at Al Aseel, it's delicious to boot. But don't expect any anti-Zionist propaganda from owner Ali Khativ -- it's all about the chicken here.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.