TWIN FALLS — Firas Alsaedi doesn’t use pharmaceutical drugs. And for many non-serious health conditions, he can recommend a few alternative medicines sold inside his shop.
Cilantro and fennel seeds can be brewed, like tea, to help with a cold or fever, he says. Or a bag of turmeric may help with joint pain or improve skin quality. And some unusual tan spheres known as “elk mur” can be chewed to help with stomach pain and ulcers, Alsaedi said.
These are just a few examples of what’s traditionally used in Middle Eastern countries, where many people choose not to give children younger than 3 any chemical medicines, he said.
And this is just one of many cultural differences one can learn about after stepping into the Alsinbad Smoke Shop & Mediterranean Market at 324 Second Ave. E.
Alsaedi, who’s from Iraq, opened the shop several years ago after seeing a similar one in Houston. He encourages people in Twin Falls to try out some of the more unique markets around town.
At Alsinbad, you can find a wide selection of products from countries such as Iran, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Stacked upon various shelves are Moroccan sardines in olive oil, rice from Dubai, sugar cubes from Iran, blankets from Jordan and tobacco from Egypt.
More popular, however, are the meats that are labeled “halal” — prepared according to Islamic religious rules using specific butchering practices. Many Muslims won’t eat any meat that is not prepared this way, and his store carries halal frozen beef, chicken, fish — and even small cans of corned beef.
Alsaedi also offers some traditional clothing such as an abaya, a loose over-garment, and a head scarf called a sheila. A prayer rug hanging on one wall displays a compass that can help Muslims locate the direction of Mecca.
The smoke shop section of the store contains a selection of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, vapors, hookah and smoking supplies.
Alsinbad Smoke Shop & Mediterranean market is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, right across from the future public safety complex and next to the Magic Town Center bowling alley.