Quick bites from the Middle East

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Every country has its own idea of fast food. Japanese doughnuts have bean paste filling instead of jelly. Egyptians eat macaroni and rice, the Chinese munch on scallion pancakes, and in Thailand nothing beats red-ant eggs on toast.

We may not get ant-egg stands, but we now have a fast-food import from Saudi Arabia: Taza chicken. The drive-through or eat-in restaurant on Sand Lake Road just outside the Florida Mall (407-240-1881) is huge. While you won't find burgers or pizza, you can get enormous salads, creamy red-skin mashed potatoes, and whole chickens marinated in citrus juice and subtle spices and grilled over live charcoal. Taza started in the Middle East 10 years ago, and spread to Malaysia and Singapore before opening in Chicago. The healthy recipes include grains, greens and fruit; the various chicken items are as tender as they are uniquely flavored.

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