Photo by Shane Wynn
Making three gallons of hummus a day may seem like quite an undertaking, but it’s all in a day’s work for Aladdin’s Eatery owner Marwan Lahham and his staff. “Our hummus is so popular that we have to make new hummus every day, especially in the summertime,” Lahham says.
When ordered as an appetizer, Aladdin’s hummus is served with pita. Lahham says this spread can be paired with everything from the falafel to chicken and beef plates—but most people pair it with Aladdin’s hot sauce.
“Hummus and hot sauce really go hand in hand,” he says. “About 95 percent of my customers ask for that.”
But what’s the key to their hummus’ success? Well, there are a few. First, the dish’s two main ingredients, chickpeas and tahini (a sesame-based paste), are shipped overseas from Lebanon. Next, Lahham says a great deal of care goes into the almost three-hour process of preparing the hummus.
“We do have a recipe book, and all of our employees open up the book and follow it, step by step—even though we know it by heart,” he says. “We are extremely consistent, and that’s why the hummus always tastes the same.”
Lahham says that providing the recipe book, which is identical at every Aladdin’s location, would not enable someone to duplicate the franchise’s hummus. “Even cooking the chickpeas is really an art,” he claims.
When it comes down to it, Lahham and his wife, Nora, just have the interest of their customers in mind. “We don’t take any chances,” he says. “We want our customers to have the best.” —Denise Wright