I had never been to Abu Koko before. It is not exactly new, but when I was living in Beirut 12 years ago, I am not sure it was that popular. In any case, I went there because my cousins insisted we pick up some sandwiches from there for dinner one night. They claimed this place makes outstanding Kabab sandwiches. Kabab here refers to ground lamb and/or beef mixed with spices, formed into a log shape (1 inch thick and maybe 6 inches long), skewered and grilled over charcoal. So off we went and I was not disappointed.
Abu Koko is small, even by Lebanese standards and also located in the Dora area close to Jabbour. It’s long and narrow with some counter space to eat your food. Most people eat their wrap on the go, at the 3 or 4 tables he has outside or in their cars. What was fascinating to me is that the place was bustling busy with one guy (Abu Koko himself??) manning the cash register and taking the order, two guys making the actual sandwiches and one guy grilling everything! It’s quiet a chore keeping track of everything, especially for the poor fellow who is actually making the sandwiches. For our order alone we had about 12 sandwiches and almost each one different than the other (no pickles, extra hot sauce, no vegetables/with fries,….). The guy did not screw up a single one and never missed a beat.
A shot of the sparse menu. This is the guy you need to talk to to get your custom Kebab sandwich.
I was trying to see if I can get a picture of our meats grilling. Since, we were waiting for our order, I am assuming quiet a few of these were ours.
The sandwich maker posing for the camera. He asked me to make sure he gets his pic on-line.
Making Kebab sandwiches
The Assembly line. Typically one of the guys was putting on the vegetables and the other one (pictured above) was adding the meat and finishing the assembly.
Abu Koko’s selection. I only ate the Kebab, seen here at the bottom, and that’s what 80% of the people get. My wife tried his chicken Tawook sandwiches though and said they were quiet good.
I could not wait to get home. Mine (both of them) had in addition to the Kebab meat, hummus, onions, parsley, tomatoes, pickles and extra hot pepper paste. It is amazing how good and inexpensive this was ($1). Too bad I only had the chance to get to Abu Koko only once, but it is definitly on my radar for future visits.