Souk Oum Darman, Hall of Shopping by Yasmine Alice, Algeria – Photo Essay-

Oum Darman souk is one of the largest markets in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. I had the chance to visit it and to get lost in its alleys in July of 2017 during my visit to Khartoum. My Sudanese friend Zainab was the best guide to have for such an adventure! This is the place devoted to transportations like cars, van, tuk tuks, motorcycles… Most souks are organized in alleys according to the items being sold, this was shoe alley: Traditional shoes in Sudan are called Markoub (which literally translates to “something we ride on”), they are made of different skins: cattle, snakes, camels, sheep, buffalo… “SoukSouk” are very colorful accessories, originally from South Sudan. They are often used as bracelets, necklaces, key chains and more. Hinna (the green powder in the picture) and Bokhour or incense (the rest of the items on the table) are essential for Sudanese culture and everyday life. They are used in homes on daily basis as well as during special occasions.  There are multiple aromas of Bokhour, from simple to very elaborate ones. They also come in different shapes, like powder, paste, tiny pieces…. Peanuts are one of the most planted crops in Sudan. They are used in the traditional cuisine as a paste, peanut sauce or wholes. They come in different shapes and are cooked in many ways (grilled and slated to name a few) and they are usually eaten with tea or as a snack. Peanuts are often sold along with another famous snack; water melon seeds called “Tassali” (“entertainments” in Arabic). Most of those who sell peanuts and seeds are women at the end of the souks’ alleys. It is hard to walk through the spices alley without sneezing! Spices are mandatory in all Sudanese food.  Various colors, flavors, dry fruits and vegetables decorate the spices shops.   One of the most famous and present spice in Sudanese dishes is “shatta”, a strong chili powder with different degrees of “chilliness”, the lighter the color is, the “lighter” the level of spiciness is ! You cannot visit Sudan without drinking “Karkadeh” (hibiscus, the one in the right bottom corner of the picture).  It is served either hot or cold, and many buy dry hibiscus to make it themselves at home.

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