Best Unofficial Cultural Destination That Should Be Official (2011)

Anaheim's 'Little Arabia'

If Anaheim didn't take after State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor in failing to recognize its Arabic heritage, a sign reading, "Little Arabia" would beckon commuters to take the Brookhurst exit off Interstate 5. As it is now, for those in the know, a short drive from the off-ramp all the way to Katella Avenue reveals an array of great restaurants, hookah lounges, bakeries, clothing stores and ethnic markets that comprise the still-unofficial cultural destination that spans the Middle East: Persian produce, Jordanian dinners, Palestinian lunches, Armenian pastries, Lebanese sandwiches—and that's just the food. It would be shortsighted, however, to limit Little Arabia's vibrancy to the aromatic allure of its bakeries, restaurants and markets. Taking its cues from political developments abroad, it has been a rallying point for demonstrations, particularly during this year's Arab Spring. Closer to home, Anaheim City Council hopeful Bill Dalati launched his 2010 campaign bid from Brookhurst Plaza. If only those who were elected were as wise in understanding that the hummus is among us and that the Network of Arab-American Professionals' Orange County chapter's push to have the city officially designate Little Arabia is an important move in honoring an integral part of the community.


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