The Salata Game

MP is a 47 year old Syrian immigrant from Damascus, Syria. She is an accountant and has lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years now. She explains a game that she would play as a little girl with her friends in Syria. She said girls from 1st to 6th grade would play this game and it was called “salata.”


One person would start the chant: “Salata, salata, tabal-naha, kushi fiya illa bandora.”

Translation: Salad, salad, we made it, everything is in it except tomatoes.

Then, the next person would reply by chanting: “Bandora fiha, wa kulshi fiha illa khass ma fia.”

Translation: It has tomato in, and everything in it except lettuce is not in it.

And the game would continue with each person chanting about a different vegetable to add to their salad. 

Context: This was told to me in an in-person conversation, and I was able to perform it.


Although my informant played this in Syria as a little girl, it was also a game that I used to play in America. It was used in my Arabic school to teach us what vegetables are called in Arabic in a fun way. When my informant told me about this game, I was surprised that it was one that I already knew and have played before. This game was played by both boys and girls, however my informant told me that when they would play it in Syria, typically the boys played with the boys and the girls played with the girls. When I would play it years later in my Arabic class, boys and girls all played together.