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Archive for the tag “Al Baik”

Jeddah Food: Beyond Fast Food and Five Star Hotels


Regular readers of Jeddah Blog will know by now that we adore anything to do with food. We’ve covered a range of eateries from business lunches to Teayana, PF Chang’s and Al Baik and we love them all. But where is the local food, I hear you ask?

What is especially exciting about this particular blog post is that it has been written by a true insider of Jeddah. A person who has lived here for nearly all of her life, and who knows Jeddah like the back of her hand.

Today’s guest blogger Qurratulain Sikander lets us in on her favourite haunts where real, local food is served. If you want to experience Jeddah the way that locals do, then you just might want to bookmark this page.

With unlimited social posts, and physical presence of International Food Chains and high-end restaurants in Jeddah, it is no wonder, that one is led to believe that good food is only available in these dine-in scenarios.

Do not underestimate the power of local food and non-international food places to get your taste buds dancing. Today, I will share a select few of my favorite food places, which apologetically do not necessarily host a luxurious interior, but serve up delish food!

  1. Foul and Tameez from your local street vendor

Residing in Al Zahra District, we had a local place which served foul (pronounced ‘fool’), as well as, hot yummy crisp bread called tameez. You do not really need a brand to find this local food. Check your area and for sure you can find one shop selling it. Mostly, it is eaten for breakfast, but can be partaken at any possible time. Priced at less than SR 10 for bread and the lentil (foul), you really can’t go wrong with it! To get an extra kick try squeezing lemon on top of the foul, and pairing the food with an ice cold laban. Simple and yum!

  1. Nakheel Super Market

You can find these non-auspicious grocery stores throughout Jeddah. Despite its humble setting, the bakery serves up some zesty spinach fataeer! These are bread triangles baked with a zesty spinach filling. You can walk in in the morning and request a fresh one to be made.

Zaatar Manaeesh

                        Zaatar Manaeesh

While you’re there, ask for a Manaeesh Labnah; a thin round bread topped with a yoghurt consistency cheese. To get the real local taste, ask for zaatar atop the labneh. Zaatar is a dry herb, which will add several levels of flavor to your Manaeesh. A good point to note, zaatar is known to be great for weight loss. So yes ladies, you can have this with no-guilt. Just do not over-eat the yummy carbs. Pair this with a chilled mushshakil (mixed) juice from the juice section.

  1. Wazzan for fast shawarma and quick fresh juice

Located just across from Ikea on Tahlia Street, this place is no small fish, but considering its presence for more than two decades, it’s definitely worth mentioning. Known to serve up Lebanese cuisine, you can opt to dine in or take-away. The Shawarma is juicy and well paired with pickle and thoum (garlic). I usually do not leave without a tray of Falafeel and Wark-el-Anab (stuffed grape leaves). The taste has been consistently good quality, and considering its long-time presence, I doubt any local who may not have eaten here. So to be a true Jeddahian, hop on to the band-wagon as well!

  1. Kudu for its no-nonsense value breakfast, and a mean Quatro

An Arab brand, you can see Kudu throughout Jeddah, as both stand-alone and food court counters. The breakfast is surely sufficient and value for money. On days of an early morning shopping spree, this was my best choice to eat and hop to retail therapy, while remaining within the mall. Nothing lavish, but simple and clean. What did make Kudu stand out for me, is their introduction of Quatro Sandwich. Now this is not really a local cuisine, but the spicy chicken stuffed into the bun with creamy sauce, is both an ordeal to finish, and a struggle to leave unfinished. Do make sure you get the meal, otherwise, you may regret not having a drink to stop the fire on your tongue. Do not let this stop you though! It is a flavour-bursting wonder!

  1. Ruz Bukhari from the local road shop

Another value for money, with simple succulent meal offering, is the Ruz-Bukhari (ruz is Arabic for rice). This is a pairing of cooked rice, with either grilled whole or half chicken. This comes with sauces like tomato sauce and Tahini (sesame seed) sauce, and the usual salad of onion rings and gerger.

ruz bukhari

The meal is a perfectly satisfying mix for dinner, where the serving is sufficient for more than one person. Make it your weekly take-out. My place of choice was a local shop in Al- Zahra, and before that, in Al-Azizia. So shop around and look for a local provider. This meal is a yummy quick buy and completely satisfies meat eaters.

  1. Mandi

Now Mandi can be either chicken, lamb or even a camel! It’s cooked such that the meat is so tender that it literally slides off the bones.

Chicken and Lamb Mandi

Chicken and Lamb Mandi

The traditional way is to cook the meat while buried in the ground in the desert. However, in the city, pressure cookers seem to be doing this job for the sellers. In terms of where I like my Mandi from, I am loyal to Raydan Mandi. You can find several shops throughout the city. The one I frequent is on Heera Street. Your meat will come with abundant rice, and of course the sauces and salad. Another meal with completely different flavorus to enjoy.

The above are just some of my local treats. What are your local foods of choice? Leave a comment and let us know!

Qurratulain Sikander blogs at Quezz Lifestyle.

Al Baik: The Mann-o-Salwa of Modern Arabia


My very good friend Ms. Q, a regular contributor to Jeddah Blog and an expert on all things Saudi recently began her own blog Quezz Lifestyle. Having moved away from the Kingdom, she has been looking back with nostalgia on the most memorable parts of Jeddah, one of the most important being Al Baik fried chicken.

In her latest blog post which she has very kindly agreed to share here on Jeddah Blog, she not only takes a delicious trip down chicken memory lane, but even tries out a home made recipe, which she then generously shares with her readers.

Read through the post below, and if your cravings get the better of you and you do attempt the recipe, leave us a comment and let us know if it worked its magic.

(Editor’s note: I love Al Baik’s burger buns, split in half, toasted and buttered. Closest thing I’ve had to a bagel here in Jeddah).

Think Arabia… imagine dates, qahwa , exotic dishes, roasted lambs. What one does not imagine is Fried Chicken!

A standard Al Baik takeaway box.

A standard Al Baik takeaway box.

Al Baik has taken the lead in the Makkah region, by serving fried chicken with a tangy Garlic Sauce, for over two decades. I grew up with memories of us buying a box of Al-Baik, which would have half of a chicken, lumpy fries and a bun, with Garlic sauce, and driving to the sea side for an instant picnic. Anyone visiting us for Umrah would surely be treated to this food of the land, and told, “No Al Baik means that pilgrimage is incomplete” (just joking ). I would even further the comical situation by retelling, how my younger brother and I, when taken on Hajj, would say “Al-Baik, Al-Baik” instead of “Lab-Baik, Lab-Baik” at times of eating. Please note that, we were both in our teens and meant no blasphemy.

Coming back to the present day, Al Baik has evolved to include Fish and Shrimps, along with the choice of purchasing extra Garlic Sauce. You cannot even imagine the evils that come forward in all Al Baik eaters at the time when the last Garlic Sauce is to be snagged. In my last few days in Saudi, Al Baik was one of the few must-eat items on my list. However, having arrived in Canada, and tried all versions of halal fried chicken, I took on the quest for making a home-made version. Back in Saudi, I would have scoffed at this notion!

Being part of a wonderful cooking group called ‘Indulge Spices’ on Facebook, I was soon gifted by a fail-proof recipe. This recipe came from a fellow cook Rabia Jurial. I tried and I was converted!

The recipe is copied as is from the group page:

METHOD

1 chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces (with or without skin, up to you)

Wash and drain the chicken well. Using a fork, prick the chicken pieces all over.

Then marinate them in:

INGREDIENTS

1 beaten egg
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp paprika
salt to taste
½ tsp Chinese salt
½ tsp black pepper powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cover with cling film and put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Next, mix half a cup of flour with half tsp. salt and half tsp. chili powder. Put this in a plastic bag.
  3. Now, 2 pieces at a time, put the chicken in the flour bag and shake to make sure each piece is well coated with the flour. This helps give the chicken a perfect rough and crispy surface.
  4. Heat oil on high, add the chicken pieces without crowding the pan. You can do them in 2-3 batches. Lower the heat and deep-fry each batch for about 15 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken pieces once or twice in the oil in order to get them golden on all sides.
  5. Drain on kitchen towels and serve with fries and some garlic sauce!

My results are as follows:

Ms. Q's perfectly home-fried chicken.

Ms. Q’s perfectly home-fried chicken.

The Garlic Sauce I use is as follows:

1 whole boiled potato, peeled and cooled. I put it in blender with a clove of garlic, pinch of salt, and some vinegar to blend. Then I add around 1/2 cup of Vegetable oil till its creamy and fluffy.

If you fancy a visit to the actual menu, check their website.

In meanwhile, tell me how your Al Baik chicken turned out 🙂

*For those curious about the title, Mann-o-Salwa means ‘heavenly food’.

Interview with Zahid Jamal, RJ of Bindas Radio


Zahid Jamal grew up as an expat in Jeddah. Having developed an interest in the Urdu language, and hosting shows at school, he went on to not only become a successful chartered accountant with one of the Big Four firms, but also moonlights as an RJ with UK-based Bindas Radio.

In this interview he chats to Jeddah Blog about what it was like growing up in Jeddah, his career, passion for working in radio and his feelings about the city he once called home.

Bindas 1

Tell us about your connection to Jeddah.

I grew up in the streets of Al-salama, Al-Rowda and then Al-Aziziah in Jeddah where I was raised as Zahid Jamal. I saw Jeddah transforming from old to new in the 90s and have seen all the new extravagant structures constructed in front of my eyes. Although I hail from Karachi, I consider myself more a Jeddawi.

Living as an expat in Jeddah, how did you manage to forge a connection with your home country, and especially to the Urdu language?

I was educated at the Pakistan International School Jeddah(PISJ), in Aziziah, spending the usual weekends picnicking in Obhur, beach resorts and playlands like Bahra-tul-Qatar – an oldie would know what I am talking about here. Living in Saudi Arabia, but studying in a Pakistani school and learning to be more Pakistani is one of the phases which every expat would have gone through in KSA. I also went through this phase where I was made a Pakistani in a Pakistani school, as we used to travel on Pakistani passport to and from Pakistan.

We were lucky enough to have watched the Pakistani drama called Tanhaiyan on Saudi Channel 2 in Ramadan, and this was when I was first introduced to Pakistani dramas. My Urdu language skills improved further as I watched not only more Pakistani drams but Moin Akhtar and Anwar Maqsood on PTV (Pakistan’s national television channel). This gave me an opportunity in my school to imitate Moin Akhtar, and I began hosting events at my school. My Urdu teacher once told me to try out for an audition in Radio Pakistan due to my voice and the level of Urdu he recognized in me.

From hosting events at school, how were you introduced to the world of radio?

In 2003, I completed high school and left for Karachi to study chartered accountancy. I realized that Radio Pakistan was an old phenomenon in Pakistan and it was now FM radio stations taking the youth by storm, so I used to listen to the radio while studying for the most complex studies in CA.

In 2006, when I successfully cleared my exams, my passion of hosting and public speaking took me to knock on the doors of those FM stations and ask for an audition. Luckily, there was an upcoming station, HOT FM 105 whose office I spotted by chance as no one knew it would be airing soon. So I went in, gave an audition and was selected. Finally Zahid Jamal transformed into ZJ, as I was neither a qualified RJ nor a DJ, hence I was simply ZJ.

Tell us about your reasons for returning to Jeddah?

I worked in radio for two years while completing my CA articleship with one of the Big Four audit firms, Ernst & Young in Karachi and this was the time when I got a good job offer from E&Y in Jeddah in 2008. I bid farewell to the FM radio in Karachi and decided to return due to the unstable security situation in Pakistan, and my parents living in Jeddah.

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From being an expat in one country to another. You then moved on to the UK. What led you there?

I continued my efforts in the E&Y Jeddah office, and joined British online radio, so that I could fulfill my passion in the not-so-bachelor-friendly Saudi Arabia.

In 2010, I was offered a position in E&Y London which I accepted happily due to the reason of being called an expat even when I have spent my entire life in Jeddah. I will always need permission to live there, so I decided to leave Jeddah and settle in London when I had an offer from my own company.

I now work in E&Y London office as an executive auditor and do online radio as an extracurricular activity.

Any old memories of Jeddah you would like to share? What do you miss about this city?

I love Jeddah. Jeddah represents me; it’s global and modern, but the Islamic lifestyle is what I carry wherever I go. It gave me the confidence to work and grow up living and interacting with different nationalities. I miss Ramadan in Jeddah and the food. I call it food heaven; halal food at a reasonable price. Who can forget to mention Al Baik? – always top of my list when I visit Jeddah from time to time.

Due to obvious reasons, it’s not easy for single and young professionals to work and live a lifestyle they want in Jeddah. I assume life is much easier for married couples, especially now that women have started working alongside men, although it’s very hard for expat women to find a job other than teaching.

Also, I don’t see a platform for expats living in KSA to voice their opinions and experiences about the usual life matters they are going through. I found Jeddah blog very useful myself, and I guess Bindas Radio would give another platform to the people living in KSA, especially Jeddah, due to my presence at the radio to share their experiences with the rest of the world.

Tell us about Bindas.

Bindas Radio is a British online radio which is managed from Canada and the UK. We are broadcasting live globally and can be reached through our website . You can also download our app and then we will just be a click away from you. We have RJs from Canada, Saudi Arabia and the UK. We have some more to come from other parts of the world. You can also find us on Tunein which is a radio stations application to listen to any radio in the world.

Although we are playing more Urdu/Hindi content these days, we have international radio presenters, and based on our listenership we will start focusing more on English and maybe even Arabic if there is a demand from listeners. Anyone can listen to our radio.

We are in the startup phase currently and we are coming up with some excellent ideas which will be more beneficial to our listeners. Fingers crossed, there will be much more happening on the airwaves on Bindas.

Dont forget to tune into my shows every Sunday from 3pm – 5pm (GMT) and every Wednesday from 10pm-12midnight (GMT). Keep it locked, keep it Bindas!

You can also follow Zahid via Twitter and Facebook.

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