People come from all over Khartoum to eat fish at Shieb’s little restauarant over the Nile in Omdurman. It’s little more than a couple of bare rooms with a scattering of plastic chairs and tables outside. Inside the heat is fierce as two blazing fires heat vats of oil where the freshly caught fish is frying. Outside it is cool at this time of year. Men – only men – dressed in Jalabiyas take breakfast.
The fish arrives battered and piled on paper, just like back home. Cutlery is not provided. Hunks of the hot, soft flesh are best eaten first covered in juice from tiny green lemons, then dipped in bitter green chilli sauce and wrapped in a hunk of fresh bread.
The juice runs all the way down the arms of the unwary diner to their elbows. Delicious.
Anyway, my fixer Al Siir assurd me that Shieb had by far the freshest fish and oil of any of the fryers of Omdurman. “Everyone comes here,” he told me, “because they know that Shieb has the most tastable fish.” Indeed.
After a tiny glass of sweet tea we were on our way, fortified for another day of trying and failing to obtain a travel pass.