Visitors to the Metro Detroit area looking to immerse themselves in the Arab culture can eat their way through town in a new culinary walking tour launching this month.
The tour, aptly titled YallaEat! (Arabic for 'Let’s go eat!'), will feature a guided visit in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market.
Participants will learn the history of Arab Americans in Metro Detroit, and the long history of Arab merchants in and around Eastern Market. Participants will also explore the diverse current offerings of Middle Eastern food businesses.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to move beyond the walls of the museum and explore our diverse culture in a multi-sensory way," said Devon Akmon, director of the Arab American National Museum.
Akmon said because the program is brand new, admission will be free for the first year.
"We're in the pilot stages of this program. Once we work out any issues and incorporate public feedback, it will be a fee-based tour," he said.
Tours run approximately 2.5 hours and begin and end at Germack Coffee Roasting Company, Roastery & Espresso Bar, 2517 Russell St. in Detroit. Participants are required to register online for tours on Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Sept. 28, Oct. 1, Oct. 5 and Oct. 8.
Details of the tour are still being finalized, however Akmon said two of the stops will be at active meat processing facilities.
"You hear all of the time that Arabic restaurants offer halal meat. What better way to understand what halal is than being able to talk to a butcher?" he said. "The goal is to make this tour an immersive and participatory experience."
Akmon said there are already plans to offer a similar walking tour in Dearborn beginning in 2014. The city has the largest proportion of Arab Americans in the United States.