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Exploring Tahini: The Authentic Middle Eastern Street Food of Two High School Best Friends

by Mosses Akizian

by Mosses Akizian

The founders of Tanini restaurant in San Diego: Moody and Osama

Tahini, a Middle Eastern Street Food is a San Diego-based eatery that has become a popular destination for those seeking authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. The success of the restaurant can be attributed to the passion and dedication of its owners, Osama Shabaik and Mahmoud “Moody” Barkawi.


Shabaik and Barkawi’s friendship is a tale of two childhood friends who share a passion for their Middle Eastern roots and a love for the tantalizing street food they grew up with. From their high school days in Egypt to pursuing different career paths, their bond only grew stronger over time.

Shabaik’s legal acumen took him to the prestigious Harvard Law School, while Barkawi delved into the world of criminal justice, graduating from San Diego State University and pursuing positions in law enforcement. But amidst their diverse career choices, they held on to their common love for the mouthwatering flavors of Middle Eastern street food.


Yet, upon their arrival in San Diego, they were disheartened to find that the authentic taste of their childhood was missing. That’s when they decided to take matters into their own hands and create a culinary haven that would bring the essence of their heritage to the local community.

And thus, Tahini was born – a restaurant that embodies their passion for Middle Eastern street food. Using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, Shabaik and Barkawi draw on their years of culinary experience to craft a menu that is both steeped in authenticity and bursting with innovation. Their dream is to transport diners to the bustling streets of the Middle East with every bite, delivering a gastronomic experience that is both nostalgic and cutting-edge.


At Tahini, customers can enjoy a variety of Middle Eastern dishes such as falafel, shawarma, and hummus. They also offer a range of desserts, including their popular baklava. The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Tahini is a reflection of the owners’ passion for food and culture. Their dedication to their craft is evident in every aspect of the restaurant, from the flavorful dishes to the carefully curated playlist of Arabic music. In just a short time, Tahini has become a beloved spot for Middle Eastern cuisine in San Diego, and Shabaik and Barkawi have big plans to expand their business and introduce even more people to the delicious and diverse cuisine of the Middle East. Customers rave about the quality of the food and the friendly service provided by the owners, who are always happy to share their passion for Arabic cuisine with others. Whether you’re a fan of savory or sweet, there’s something for everyone on the menu, and the prices are more than reasonable.


In addition to their commitment to providing authentic and delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, Shabaik and Barkawi are also passionate about supporting the food truck and street food vendor community. In a city known for its diverse food scene, this Arabic street food truck stands out as a must-visit destination. So if you’re in the Kearny Mesa area and craving some authentic Middle Eastern flavors, be sure to stop by and try some of the amazing dishes being served up by these talented culinary artists. By using the Thirst & Growl app, a food truck finder app, it becomes easy to locate and try out new street food vendors in the San Diego area.


With Thirst & Growl you can uncover a culinary journey like no other. From authentic Middle Eastern feasts at Tahini to tantalizing tacos and unique fusion cuisine, this app is your gateway to a treasure trove of international flavors. Don’t miss out on the delicious adventures awaiting you! Download Thirst & Growl app now and embark on a foodie quest that will satisfy your cravings and ignite your taste buds.

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