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Archive for the tag “food”

Papaya: Restaurant Review


A friend and I were due to meet up for breakfast earlier this week, and decided to try someplace new and exciting. I had heard about Papaya from another very close friend who is passionate about everything food-related just a day before, and listening to her rave about Papaya resolved to visit and try it out.

Papaya is located next to Souk Shatee close to Malik Road. From the outside, the restaurant is completely unassuming. If I wasn’t looking out for it, I would probably have just passed it by without another thought. I walked around through the side gate and came to a wooden door. I cautiously opened the door, stepped in and was immediately taken by surprise.

Papaya overview

Spacious with high ceilings.

I had been told that Papaya housed many plants and was unique in its decor, but I was still unprepared for the scene that welcomed me; not only was the seating area huge, it was awash in beautiful, natural light flooding in from the high glass ceiling. I have never seen so much greenery in one space before in Jeddah with foliage growing abundantly throughout the restaurant. Add to that the sounds of trickling water from various water features scattered within and the sounds of birds chirping – it was like stepping through a portal and walking straight into a tropical rainforest.

Papaya light

Flooded in natural light and surrounded by water features.

At this point, I was thinking that even if the food was not up to scratch, it would still have been worth visiting just to experience its ambience. While I was waiting for my friend to arrive the waiters handed me the menu and came back again to ask if I would like to order a drink while I was waiting.

Papaya 2

Comfortable and clean seating.

When my breakfast companion arrived, thanks to suggestions on the buzzing Jeddah Foodies Facebook group, we opted for the cheese and zaatar manaeesh and the cinnamon pancakes. The fresh juice list was quite extensive, and we both decided to try the pinacoladas.

Papaya pancakes

Cinnamon pancakes and Pinacolada.

We were not disappointed in the least. The stack of cinnamon pancakes were topped with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting and extra pancake syrup on the side. They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten and we both agreed that they were delicious.

Papaya Manaeesh

Cheese and Zaatar manaeesh.

The cheese and zaatar manaeesh was very fresh-tasting and the flat bread was soft and not dry as I have found to be the case in many other eateries.

With just the right combination of pineapple and coconut, the pinacolada was refreshing and hit all the right tastebuds. One of the best I’ve tasted here in Jeddah.

The service was very good with waiters greeting us as we entered and making sure we had everything we needed. Prices were very reasonable at SR 60 per head. Portion sizes were generous, as we even had some pancakes left over to take away.

While browsing the menu I noticed an extensive lunch and dinner selection. I would be interested to find out how those meals would compare. Sadly for me there was no wifi, but overall it was a great dining experience and one I look forward to repeating soon.

If you’ve been to Papaya and would like to share your experience, let us know in the comments below.

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.

How to make Date Nabeez


Imagine my surprise when, while browsing the blogosphere this Ramadan, I came across a drink called Date Nabeez. Living in Jeddah for more than a decade, and I had never even heard of nabeez before, so on reading further I discovered that this was not only highly nutritious, but it was one of the favourite drinks of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Thanks to the wonderful author of said blog Karimah bint Dawoud, I tried making the juice and fell in love with it. I even passed on the recipe to my Dad who is now blitzing it up regularly. Suffice to say, it is fast becoming a family favourite for Ramadan.

In keeping with the Ramadan theme in this blog post, Karimah explores the history of the date palm in the Saudi region. She brings to light the amazing nutritional benefits of this fruit, and its references in Qur’an and Sunnah. Finally, she discloses her recipe for Date Nabeez. Try it, and tell us what you think.

The date palm is the symbol of Saudi Arabia and for good reason. It has been in the land for over 10, 000 years, taken by Alexander the Great to Pakistan, and the Khalifa Abdualrahman Aldakel to Spain, Andalusia. The date palm tree and two swords in saltire underneath, are the emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Dates were  central to the Saudi economy long before oil.  Saudi Arabia, along with its sister country Egypt, are the top date producing countries in the world, and have been for hundreds if not thousands of years. The largest oasis in the world is in Saudi Arabia. It’s located in Al-Hassa , in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. There they grow, process, pack and worldwide-export Saudi Arabian dates of different varieties. There are over 300 varieties of dates in Saudi Arabia alone. The Al-Ahsa region boasts over 10 million palm trees. The Ministry of Agriculture has set up a factory to process its rich output of dates, amounting to five tons daily, mashallah!

date nabeez prep 14 014

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

The date palm is part of the Phoenix  family of trees. Phoeonix is the Latin name for a classification of trees that grow in various parts of the world. Like the phoenix bird in ancient roman and  Greek mythology, a bird that arises from the fire, these amazing trees often arise out of hot arid land to produce the most exquisite sweet fruits that are like multivitamin and minerals packaged in a convenient carry case. Dates are essential to have in your house during Ramadan. It is said in Islam that a house with dates will not go hungry. You cannot have Islam without dates, they go hand in hand. They are sacred foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.

“It is He Who sends down water (rain) from the sky, and with it We bring forth vegetation of all kinds, and out of it We bring forth green stalks, from which We bring forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date-palm and its spathe come forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily! In these things there are signs for people who believe.” – (  سورةالأنعام  , Al-Anaam, Chapter #6, Verse #99) “And shake the trunk of date-palm towards you, it will let fall fresh ripe-dates upon you.” – (  سورةمريم  , Maryam, Chapter #19, Verse #25)

Fasting and Dates

The Messenger of Allah, salah la alaihi wa salem, said: “If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying.” [Ahmad] Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: “Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).

Nutrition in Dates

Narrated Sa’d: The Prophet said, “If somebody takes some ‘Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be effected by poison or magic on that day till night.” (Another narrator said seven dates). (Sahih Bukhari) How do we make this relative to the 21st century and Ramadan? There is wisdom in everything the Prophet Muhammad (salah la alaihi wa salem) did,  and now we have the scientific evidence to back it up. Dates are a super food and here’s why: Dates contain significant amounts of vitamins  A and K. Vitamin A is good for your eyes’ mucous membranes that get de-hydrated during fasting. They even contain chemical that protect the mouth the lungs from cancer, maasha’Allah. Vitamin K is essential for helping to regulate the consistency of the blood and helping it clot. There is something in the fibre of the dates that binds it to cancer forming substances in the intestine. They also contain loads of minerals that each have their own unique healing powers; calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. For example the potassium in dates is an electrolyte, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure that can be affected by dehydration. Potassium is also essential for regulating the body’s water balance and  building proteins and muscle, affected by fasting. Potassium also metabolizes carbohydrates and controls your acid-base balance. The combination of  fibre minerals  and vitamins in dates are an excellent natural way to combat strokes, heart problems, stomach and indigestion as well as giving you a fat-free energy boost.

date nabeez prep 14 032

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Nabeez (Nabidh, Nabeeth)

Every morning I soak 7 dates per person in 500ml water after rinsing them and taking out the stones. I leave them until a couple of hours before Maghrib, then blitz them in the blender, adding more water if necessary. A wonderful cream coloured, cloudy, frothy drink appears, then separates after it has been left in the fridge a while. This nutritious drink is known as nabeez, nabeth or nabidh. It is also part of the  Sunnah, the traditional ways of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Prophet Drinks Nabidh

In ‘The Book of Marriage’, in the chapter on ‘The Women Standing And Serving the Men at Wedding Celebrations’, and in ‘The Book of The Dried Fruit and Drinking what does not Intoxicate at Weddings’, al-Bukhari reported: From Abu Hazin from Sahl: “When Abu Usayd al-Sa’idi got married, he invited the Prophet (S.A.W.) and his companions. None prepared the food for them and brought it to them but his wife, Umm Usayd. She soaked some dates in water in a stone pot overnight, and when the Prophet (S.A.W.) had finished his food, she provided him with that drink (of soaked dates)”.

Furthermore Muslim narrated:

وثبت فى “صحيح مسلم” أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يُنْبَذُ له أوَّل الليل، ويشربُه إذا أصبح يومَه ذلك، والليلةَ التى تجىءُ، والغَد، واللَّيلةَ الأُخرى،

“The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) liked Nabeez (some dates soaked in water) to be made in the beginning of the night and would drink it in the morning of the next day, the next night and the next day, and another night, and the next day until ASR. If any of it remained, he would then order that it should be thrown away”.

date nabeez melon juice

Photo credit: Karimah bint Dawoud

Muslim narrated this report under “The Book of Drinks”, in the chapter on “The Permissibility of [drinking] Nabidh which has not Fermented nor become an Intoxicant”. From here, the drinking of nabidh began and the rulers allowed the drinking of wine, claiming it was permissible as long as it did not intoxicate. It is not a wine in the European sense of wine because it is not drunk when it has been fermented to the point of fermentation where alcohol is present. Islamically, this is not allowed nor necessary for optimum nutrition.

The Hadith says in  the  Translation of Sahih Muslim, Book 23: The Book of Drinks (Kitab Al-Ashriba) “Book 023, Number 4954: Ibn Buraida, on the authority of his father, reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “I had forbidden you from the drinking (and preparation of) Nabidh in the vessels made out of leather, but (now) you may drink in all vessels, but you do not drink an intoxicant.” It is best on all levels, mind, body and  soul, to drink fresh nabeez.

It has been reported in Tibb Nabawi circles, by Indian workers on the Saudi Arabian oil rigs, that this drink is one of the best things to get a person though the day while fasting. Mixed with blended water melon at iftar time it provides the most natural best drink for revitalizing the kidneys and refreshing all the body’s organs and cells. Drunk  freshly blended, it is reminiscent of caramelized toffee in a drink form, It is lovely and this is one drink I will not put down insha’Allah.

Fun Hat Parade Lunch


Thanks to my friend Uzma for sending in details of this event. A little pricey, but might be fun for the kids?

 

Hat Parade Family Lunch

 

For further details and tickets call Mona on 0503358347
If you decide to go, drop us a line and let us know what you wore.

11 Scrumptious Jeddah Breakfasts


Are you and your friends planning a breakfast morning and can’t decide where to go? Jeddah has some awesome places for a wholesome and healthy breakfast plan, and even those who wake up with a sweet tooth. Zareen Muzaffar and Ayesha Nigar take up this delicious task with gusto and present their choices of early morning haunts that will not just satisfy your food cravings but will also charge you up for an active day.

Delifrance

Although they have branches in Attalah Center, the Corniche, Malik Road, and Prince Sultan Street, I frequently visit the one on Prince Sultan Street. Delifrance offers a range of breakfast options and lunch/ dinner meals. Besides the traditional eggs, you can have your sandwiches made according to your particular preference. The tuna and chicken paninis are delicious, and don’t forget to gobble up try their mini chocolate croissants. Their freshly baked whole wheat bread is also something you would want to take home.

Paul

The atmosphere is enough to make you feel you made the right decision to come here. Situated off Tahlia Street (behind Coral Mall, next to Sands Hotel) Paul is a great place for a cozy family breakfast or one that includes your group of friends. Their cheese plate comes with walnuts, bread, raisins, variety of cheese and salad. Great start to the day, right? Their display of baked goods is mouth-watering and makes it difficult to choose from. It’s like picking one piece from a box of chocolates. Who can resist when there’s so much to choose from?

Don’t miss their melt-in-the-mouth almond croissants though. They are so moreish, they’ll have you hooked. For salmon lovers, their potato pancake topped with smoked salmon is simply divine. I guarantee that their hot chocolate is the richest and thickest you’ll have tasted yet. On Fridays, they are open from 8-11 am and from 1 pm to 1 am. It’s busy though on weekends, so try to get there early if you want to be seated quickly.

Update: Paul now have a brighter, better, newer branch in Mall of Arabia. Under different management, they have a different menu too. The best part is the friendly service and no queues!

The Crêpe Café

I went to the one in Mall of Arabia and I must say their menu impressed me. We tried the spinach and cheese omelet and my taste buds suggested it was definitely made with fresh ingredients. If you are in the mood for something sweet try their Canadian style waffle which is drizzled with maple syrup and topped with ice cream of your choice. They also have a wide variety of crepes and waffles, and the Vanilla Chai Latte was simply amazing.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast. ― Robert A. Heinlein.

Teayana

Regular Teayana visitors know by now about the variety of tea available at the restaurant. Healthy herbal teas, as well as Chai Latte and Caramel Latte are some of the delicious drinks that will wake you up. Try their fresh manaeesh with your choice of drink or go for some wholesome egg dish. Great for brunch as they offer hot sandwiches and bagels too.

Update: Sadly, Teayana is now closed. Hoping it will open up again in the city.

Le Croissant Shop

This place is really good if you are in the mood for some croissant sandwiches; otherwise also known as“crois-sandwiches”. They have a variety of muffins, sandwiches, pastries and croissants that you can have at the restaurant or just take home for tea time.

Kalila

Situated in The Courtyard on Rawdah Street, a beautifully open and bright location for many eateries, Kalila is a wonderful addition to cosy cafes in Jeddah. Their rustic decor is a delight in the mornings and outdoor seating is lovely when the weather is cool. Must-haves are Sajj with feta dip and their fresh pomegranate juice. Open from 8am. Perfect!

IKEA

Who would have thought that IKEA would become a popular spot for breakfasts and other meals, but you’d be surprised. Their restaurant section is often jam-packed and their traditional Saudi breakfast is a big hit with families in the mornings. I’m quite partial to their salmon salad and can never say no to sausages. The prices are very reasonable and the seating plan is open, perfect for an early morning get-together. And you can even walk it all off with a trip round the store.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” 

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” 

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. 

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

IHOP

IHOP (International House of Pancakes) just opened its doors to the people of Jeddah, who appreciate a good cuisine wholeheartedly. Located in a prime spot on fashionable Tahlia Street (opposite Debenhams), this international franchise is a paradise for breakfast lovers.

The size of the restaurant and the proximity between the tables is a little downside, but as soon as you take that first glance at the menu your mood brightens up. They have a tremendous variety of breakfast options the likes of which I have never seen in Jeddah before. From omelets to sandwiches, pancakes to waffles and crepes, they have everything that one can desire at breakfast time, all under one roof.

I would recommend the steak omelet and the hash browns with turkey. If you’re going as a family, try their fresh orange juice jug.

Portion sizes are quite big. Nearly all breakfasts come with a complementary plate of pancakes and the blueberry ones were packed with their namesake. Four delicious syrups are provided at each table: Butter Pecan, Blueberry, Strawberry and Regular.

The staff is highly professional and competent, and will even help you to decide your order – a must try!

Average per person SR 65-75 including drinks.

Insider tip: If you’re heading there on the weekend, get in early to avoid the queues.

Amara

The quote “You first eat with your eyes, then your nose, then your mouth” is quite true for Amara, an international cuisine presented with a twist to treat all your senses. The ambiance is fresh, classy and comfortable. Amara welcomes its guests from 8 am till 1 pm for breakfast daily, with an amazing view to enjoy. The menu explains the dishes very nicely and one can feel that due attention is given to each and every small detail.

My friends and I were perplexed as to what to order, as everything sounded so tempting. At long last, we mutually decided to go with French Toast with Peanut Butter Sauce, Eggs Benedict (English muffin served with layers of spinach, poached eggs and smoked salmon and finished with Hollandaise sauce), Black forest waffles, two-eggs your way (choice of boiled, fried and poached eggs served with potato wedges and bread), a platter of European cheese and fresh orange juice. The juices were served instantly and were followed by the rest of our order. The food was spectacular, really a feast for our eyes and taste, and we enjoyed every bit of it. We finished off our breakfast with a cappuccino.

Average per person: SR 120

Tim Hortons

Are you annoyed when you’ve arrived so early at the Mall that even the shops haven’t opened? Now, at the Mall of Arabia, the best part of arriving before 10am is being able to saunter into Tim Hortons with a friend or two, and enjoy a light and tasty breakfast bagel before beginning some serious shopping.

Being quite partial to bagels, I order a different one at each visit – the BLT is an all-time favourite. Their hot chocolate is rich and satisfying and the chocolate doughnut deliciously light.

The downside is the close seating space. Getting in early ensures one gets a table.

Average per person: SR 25

Papaya

With a huge seating area, awash in beautiful, natural light flooding in from the high glass ceiling, Papaya is simply breathtaking. I have never seen so much greenery in one space before in Jeddah with foliage growing abundantly throughout the restaurant. Add to that the sounds of trickling water from various water features scattered within and the sounds of birds chirping – it was like stepping through a portal and walking straight into a tropical rainforest.

My friend and I ordered a stack of cinnamon pancakes which were topped with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting and extra pancake syrup on the side. They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten and we both agreed that they were delicious.

The cheese and zaatar manaeesh was very fresh-tasting and the flat bread was soft and not dry as I have found to be the case in many other eateries. With just the right combination of pineapple and coconut, the pinacolada was refreshing and hit all the right tastebuds. One of the best I’ve tasted here in Jeddah.

The service was very good with waiters greeting us as we entered and making sure we had everything we needed. Prices were very reasonable at SR 60 per head. Portion sizes were generous, as we even had some pancakes left over to take away. Will definitely go back.

Do you think we’ve missed a great breakfast spot?Leave us a comment or write us a review, and let us know.

Make a Date with Talah Al Jood, the Ultimate Date Store in Jeddah


Few fruits can boast the historical significance, cultural heritage and nutritional benefit of the Dactylifera – more commonly known as the date! The sweet crop of the Phoenix is thought to have originated in the lands of Iraq, and known to be cultivated in Eastern Arabia circa 6000 BCE. Truly a magnificent plant, the Phoenix Dactylifera – for evidence shows it has been around for at least 50 million years. Dates are one of the most popular food items in the Makkah region, but also in the whole of Saudi Arabia and the Arab World. They are available in most markets, with many names and in various forms. From sweet and gooey Sukkary dates to larger fruity Anbary dates, simpler varieties to the most expensive Ajwah dates from Madinah there are endless choices to discover and sample.  You will find pastries filled with dates, date bars, even McDonald’s offers a date pie as an alternative to its apple pie! Explore, if you wish, the rich varieties and flavours of this special fruit. They can be found in many vendors’ shops and supermarkets, yet as a personal recommendation; I suggest a trip to Talah Al Jood. By far, Talah has dates of the most delicious flavour and superior quality in the whole of Jeddah. In addition, their customer service is truly unparalleled. Upon entering the store, customers are greeted and served piquant dates – completely free of charge – to dip into a rich chocolate fountain. Also, a cup of the finest Arabic coffee to accompany your chocolate date – poured fresh from the Dallah. Inside, a vast variety of dates awaits, ranging from as low a price as SR35 per kilo, upwards. Staff are friendly and extremely generous with their samples, and offer whatever the customer may ask to try. If you feel at all adventurous and are keen to excite your taste buds beyond just the fruit, try their caramel dates, dates with coffee beans (a coffee explosion in your mouth), cappuccino dates, pistachio dates, dates packed with hazelnuts, rolled in sesame seeds, filled with chocolate, covered in chocolate and many, many more. They even sell confectionery (I spied a round ‘chocolate panda’) and tiny bite-sized crunchy deserts. Date cakes are also on display. My personal favourites are the delectable caramel kind and the distinctively delightful coffee dates. For relatively small orders, dates can be packed in gift boxes or gift plates, however for larger orders; parties or corporate buyers: Talah has a variety of elaborate arrangements. There are many branches of this irresistable store, but the one I visit most frequently is the branch on Sari Street (from Prince Sultan Street, head past Jarir, and it’s on the right-hand side). It’s a definite must-visit for anyone living in Jeddah. If you’re an expat, try taking some home with you. There will surely be dates to satisfy every palate. What’s your favourite date? Be sure to tell us in the comments, happy date-shopping!

Educational Guided Tour to Organic & Health Food Store


Join Detox Expert and Holistic Nutritional Coach Hanane Serhan and Holistic Life Coach Alicia Ali, on a fully guided tour to Jeddah’s  number 1 Organic and Health Foods Store.

Venturing into a Health food store without guidance and deep understanding, either in The Kingdom or any other country, can be an intimidating experience. The purpose of this Guided Tour is to empower you to be a conscious consumer for Super Health and Wellbeing, for You and Your Family.


“Let Food be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food” 
-Hippocrates

You will Learn The Basics of:


Health Product Uses and Benefits
Organic Foods & Beverages
Super-foods
Super-herbs
Super-Supplements
Medicinal Mushrooms & Sea Weeds
Juicing & Sprouting
Chemical Free Self Care Products
Holistic essentials for creating a Juicy Kitchen

The Keys to Unlocking Vitality, The Thriving Factor and Inner Balance is in YOUR Kitchen!

2 hour session will include a Q & A with facts and guidance on creating a powerful change in your shopping cart and in your kitchen.

Meeting & Greetings: 9.45 am
Where: In Front of The Store/ Check Map (see Facebook Event page below)
Ticket Price: 150 SR Per Person

Tickets can be purchased online here.

Alicia Ali, Holistic Life Coach and Hanane Melkia Serhan, Holistic Nutritional Coach and Detox Expert provide a multi array of holistic services in Saudi Arabia through their respective organizations, Your True Nature and Holistic Juicy Living. Check out their Facebook event page for further details and purchase of tickets.

A Taste of the Orient: P.F. Chang’s Comes to Jeddah


P.F. Chang’s stylish Chinese restaurant is one of the 6 new internationally renowned brands that Alshaya is introducing to Jeddah, others being The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, IHOP, Texas Roadhouse and Pizza Express. All of these gorgeous eateries are the talk of the town, and are collectively housed in Le Mall, on Tahlia Street (opposite Debenhams).

If you’re anything like me, you simply can’t get enough Chinese food, and are always on the lookout for that perfect combination of sweet and sour, salt and spice. My good friend Ayesha Nigar visited P.F. Chang’s recently with her family, wondering what the fuss was all about and reports back exclusively to Jeddah Blog.

Jeddah has slowly been gaining a reputation as a destination of food diversity. I have witnessed  this first-hand as I have been dining in some of Jeddah’s most exquisite restaurants which have been sprouting like mushrooms in this Western region of the Kingdom. If your taste buds are craving full flavour and a great culinary experience like no other, look no further than P.F. Chang’s.

menu

P.F. Chang’s selected menu.

Located in the Le Mall Complex on the fashionable Tahlia Street and nestled amid the other five internationally acclaimed restaurant brands operated by Alshaya International Trading Co., P.F. Chang’s sits proudly at the center of attention. It is the namesake of its founders Paul Fleming (P.F.) and Philip Chiang (whose surname is shortened to Chang), who opened up their first restaurant in Arizona in 1993, and now they have numerous branches worldwide.

Modern decor at PF Chang's, Jeddah.

Chic and classy decor.

Finding parking space was a hassle as we went on a Saturday afternoon for lunch and the entire area was flooded with hungry customers. After circling Le Mall twice, we were fortunate to get one right outside the American Gallery. Upon entering the restaurant our faces brightened as a smart looking waiter, dressed in a black professional uniform greeted us warmly, and escorted us to our table. Contrary to its appearance from without, the restaurant is actually pretty spacious with seating arrangements nicely spread out in different wings. The décor is chic and classy which is an unconventional departure from regular Chinese restaurants where the whole ambiance is completely taken over by traditional red lanterns.

Additional sauces specially mixed by our waiter.

Additional condiments mixed by our waiter.

As you browse through the menu you might feel that although there is not a wide variety of dishes on offer, but a very wise selection of a tasteful menu.

Delicious egg rolls.

Delicious egg rolls.

We began with the Hot and Sour Soup that was promptly served within five minutes of the time of the order – a great start! In addition to this, our waiter offered an explanation of some additional sauces and prepared his special concoction as we watched. The Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Egg Rolls were served next, and were thoroughly enjoyed by all of us; my five year old daughter, in particular, fell totally in love with the egg rolls.

Crispy Shrims in a zesty sauce

Dynamite Shrimps

Then came the most talked about ‘Dynamite Shrimps’. Crispy shrimps with a zesty sauce served in margarita glasses lived up to their reputation. They were truly remarkable and cooked to perfection. My husband and I shared one, and both of my young daughters shared the second one.

PF Chang's Fried Rice with Chicken.

P.F. Chang’s Fried Rice with Chicken.

For the main course we had Chang’s Spicy Chicken, Sesame Chicken, Mongolian beef, P.F. Chang’s Fried Rice with Chicken and Singaporean Street Noodles. All of the dishes were executed perfectly, and special mention must be made here to the vibrant colours of the ingredients in the Sesame Chicken which were as much a feast for the eyes as for the stomach.

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken

I am not much of a beef person, but my red meat loving husband enjoyed every mouthful. Although the restaurant was packed, yet the service was surprisingly quite efficient and the food was served right on time. For myself, the food fulfilled all the possible criteria that are important to me as a foodie; it looked inviting, tasted divine and felt exquisite. The staff members were always alert to help you with a smile, and above all the manager visited each and every table.

Sesame chicken

Chang’s Spicy Chicken

The servings were generous and a bit pricey, but it was all well worth it. I believe that one should not mind paying a little extra when you are getting such great quality in return. Unfortunately, there was no room left for us to try the desserts, but we definitely would love to do so on our next visit. My entire family had a great time and look forward to going back.

Expect to pay: SR 125 per head. Portion sizes are large, so there will be plenty to pack up and take home.

Gelato Mochi – The Inside Scoop on the Latest Ice Cream Craze


What do you get when you fuse together a popular western dessert, and a gelatinous Japanese rice. Sounds crazy, right? That’s what we thought, until we tried Gelato Mochi (think Kung-fu Panda style rice balls filled with ice cream). Jeddah Blog writer Haris Ali delves deep into the mystical world of far-eastern fusion desserts, unravels the mysterious ingredients, conquers the difficult task of tasting not one, but nine different flavours and finally presents this special report on his findings.

Mochi, a delicious rice-cake is a dessert traditionally served in Japan. This sticky rice delicacy, is pounded and moulded into the preferred shape, and is sold predominantly in the Japanese New Year. Mochi is often combined with other ingredients to create innovative and exciting new culinary masterpieces. Among them, Chikara Udon – noodles with mochi, Dango – dumplings combined with mochi – and Zoni, mochi with soup.

But the most innovative and exciting creation of the mochi craze is mochi ice cream! The Arabian Food Corporation has introduced to Jeddah, the recent discovery of exotic Gelato Mochi. After super-creamy ice creams and frozen yogurt, this new concept has all the right ingredients to take over the number one spot in the ice cream market, and is already being sold in the top restaurants of Jeddah, including Zen and Shogun.

Our friends at the Arabian Food Corporation very kindly supplied a generous sampling of mochi to our very grateful team for the purpose of tasting, which we were almost too happy to oblige. We marveled at the efficiency and professionalism of the delivery, brought in trays that were neatly and smartly packed and stacked in iceboxes.

Gelato Mochi - a burst of flavours.

Gelato Mochi – which to choose today? Belgian Chocolate, Peach Mango, or Strawberry?

The Gelato Mochi comes in bite-sized pieces, each a delightfully small orb of brightly-coloured ice cream, wrapped in a thin rice layer of mochi. There are nine heavenly flavours of mochi ice cream and sorbet including Japanese Green Tea, Vanilla, Peach and Mango and Cookies N Cream, each completely distinct in flavour. The mochi ice creams encased in the pounded rice shell are smooth and refreshing, the perfect palate-cleansing ending to a meal. The sleek, powdery rice covering adds a beautiful texture to the cool interior. Although hard to pick favourites when there is so much to like, we loved the Belgian Chocolate, Cookies N Cream, Vanilla and Pomegranate. We found the Japanese Green Tea to be quite bland, and the flavour was completely lost after trying the others.

Gelato Mochi

Hard to believe this is low-fat!

Imagine our delight when we found out that not only are these bite-size wonders a treat for our taste buds, but they are a healthy alternative to mainstream desserts and are low in sugar, have zero trans-fats and absolutely no added artificial colour, preservative or artificial flavouring.

Arabian Foods will even deliver mochi ice cream to your door. At SR5 per piece, and SR75 for a tray of 15 mochi it is well worth a try. Perfect for entertaining or a family get-together.

If there’s one good thing about the warm weather in winters in Jeddah, it’s that it will always be a good time to pop a mochi!

For orders and home deliveries, contact Ahmed Houri on 0504609976 or via their website.

Online Home Delivery in Jeddah


Have you ever been caught up during the day, had a sudden bout of laziness, not cooked at home, or simply wanted to order in for a change? Great idea! But wait… what happens if you don’t have a driver at hand, or really can’t imagine battling that notorious Jeddah traffic outside?

Hello Food, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We at Jeddah Blog have discovered a great new service, perfect for those of us who like to order in every once in a while without having to leave the comfort of our homes.

Meet your soon-to-be best friend, Hello Food!

This is a super-easy way to order food online in 3 simple steps:

1. You tell them your location.

2. Pick a restaurant (and your favourite dish).

3. Receive your delivery.

The best part of it is, you pay the very nominal delivery charge in cash on your doorstep. No need to set up an account, or have a credit card handy. Their delivery service is available in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar.

There’s also a hellofood app which you can download to your smartphones, making the whole process even easier. Saudi hellofood is dealing with the largest and well-known food outlets such as Pizza Hut, Burger King, Tako Hut, Quiznon, Romaway and Canton.

What are you waiting for? Click on the links above to take you to the hellofood website. Be sure to write in to us and share your home delivery experience!

Zesty Zaatar Recipes to Awaken Your Tastebuds!


Some weeks ago, my neighbour gave me a wonderful gift of some fragrant zaatar (or za’tar) and olive oil. Zaatar is a very Middle Eastern flavour, and is a  blend of herbs (thyme), sesame seeds and salt. Other than dipping some bread into the zaatar and olive oil (which tasted delicious), and sprinkling some zaatar over hummus (gorgeous!), I didn’t really know what else I could do with it. I asked the nice ladies from aMuslima.com if they had any ideas, and they have been kind enough to send me some tried and tested zaatar recipes

The first recipe has been sent to us by UmmZaytun, and is a family recipe handed down to her by her mom-in-law.

“Zataar has some very unique properties – some have said it makes you smart and some say it makes you healthy”, says UmmZaytun. “This recipe handed down to me by my late mother-in-law (may Allah forgive her) is to help you relax and be healthy. It is usually taken if you aren’t feeling so well, or it can be taken to relax you or members of your family.”

Zaatar Milk (serves 2)

Ingredients

2 cups of milk (or soy, almond, lactaid milks are also fine)
2 table spoons of zataar
2 table spoons of honey (or more if you like it sweet. You can also replace with sugar if honey isn’t available)
1 table spoon crushed dry mint
**you can add other dry ingredients such as other types of dry mint, thyme – depends on if you like the flavor.

Method

1. Place all of the ingredients in a small pot.

2. Simmer on low heat until almost to boiling point.

**Don’t walk away from the pot because it will boil over! 🙂

3. To serve: strain the milk and pour into cups. Enjoy & relax!

Zaatar Pizza or Fathira Za'tar, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KSA

Zaatar Pizza or Fathira Za’tar

Our second Zaatar recipe today has been sent in by Qathrun Nada Djamil. Pizza is a family favourite in many households. Why not try this Middle Eastern version of pizza using zaatar. A great recipe to make with your kids over the summer holidays, and for Iftaar during Ramadan.

Zaatar Pizza

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

4 tbsp milk powder

2 tablespoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

Half cup oil

A pinch of salt

Half cup warm water

Cup of zaatar and half cup of olive oil, mixed together

 

Method

1. Combine flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in salt. Make a well in the center. Add water and oil.

2. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until well combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 30 minutes.

3. Flatten the dough and cut it in round circle (cutter circle shape).

4. Take 1 tea spoon of zaatar and olive oil and brush it (topping it) over the circle of dough.

5. Place it on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Ready to serve… You can eat hot or cold.

Enjoy!!

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share with us? Drop us an email and yours may be published on Jeddah Blog in a future blog post.

Medina Mint


If you’ve been to Medina, you’ve surely stopped at the little vendor-cart right on your way back, and purchased your little bouquet of mint – the handful of sparkling green goodness, that blast of aroma that takes you straight to heaven, and that inimitable, indefinable, unnameable hue of green that makes everything else seem dull. If you’ve seen it and smelled it, you’ll agree with us that the little green beauty deserves a post all to itself.
There’s more to it than meets the eye, or the nose, because apart from staring at it and smelling it, you can use it in a million different ways as well. So, tell us, what do you do with your mint from Medina, and help us compose our final ode to it.

Do you grind it in an aromatic chutney to go with fried snacks? Do you simmer it in a teapot and sip the light golden liquid? Or do you like it cold? Do you give it a whirr in the blender with a dash of lemon and whizz through your day? Do you mix it up with chocolate and bake sinful goodness out of it?

Mint icecream with chocolate. An irresistable combination.

Do you rev up your biryani with some leaves? Do you tie it up with a fancy ribbon, tuck it in an Ikea vase, and use it as an object of beauty? Do you scatter it in a platter with other petals? Do you dry its twigs out in the sun and brew it like ancient medicine?

Mint  chocolate brownies.

 Tell us what the mint from Medina means to you. Is it perfume, is it cure, is it zest, is it a hint or the whole flavor, or just plain eye candy? Write in and tell us, send us pictures if you want. Your contributions mean a lot to us.

The Perfect Cup of Tea at Teayana


Teayana has been a firm favourite of mine for years. Their Belgian Waffles, Chocofruit Mana’eesh (with lashings of Nutella), Apple Strudel (sadly discontinued) and Golden Assam Tea can lift my family’s mood on any given evening. Their breakfasts are yummy too, and will totally need a blog post of their own. For this week’s review, however, our adventurous Zareen Muzaffar visits Teayana and bravely experiments with some new and exotic blends of tea.

For all tea lovers out there, I have some good news for you. The Teayana tea lounge is the place to be if you want to try out different kinds of tea flavours. I tried Teayana’s Spicy Tea Latte and although the blend was too spicy for me, the overall experience was good and I promised myself to try the simple Tea Latte on my next visit.

Teayana Spiced Chai Latte Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Teayana Spiced Chai Latte.

My friends ordered the Relaxation Tea and Digestion Tea. Digesting tea is a  classic combination of multiple herbs which act to calm the nerves and settle the digestive system. Ingredients include Chamomile flowers, peppermint, fennel and anise seed. After being infused, it is light yellow with a taste of mild minty anise sweetness. It may be enjoyed plain at any time of the day, but best drunk after meals. Relaxation tea includes fine cut organic rooibos herb with leaves of strawberry, lemon, nettle, fennel and a few orange peels. The taste is extremely mellow and calming.

Teayana’s food menu boasts of paninis, sandwiches, man’eesh, and desserts include their all-time favourite carrot cake, waffles, crêpes and a bunch of other options.

We received our tea with a small attractive timer that made us feel tea is serious business. To get the best from your tea, the correct amount of time must be allowed in order to diffuse the flavours, which enhances the taste and effects intended. We were asked to give approximately five minutes before trying the healthy blends of tea. The aroma emanating from freshly brewed pots of tea is worth a visit, and the food is a cherry on the top. Although I was in the mood for tea during my visit, the coffee lover in me really wanted to try out the caramel latte.

The Awesome Tea Tower full of various tea leaves stored in colour-coded canisters, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Awesome Tea Tower full of various tea leaves stored in colour-coded canisters.

The bottom floor is home to the wide variety of tea that Teayana offers, and you can buy 100 grams of loose leaf tea for SR 100. But if you’d rather give some blend a try before purchasing a lot of it, then you can ask them to give you 50 grams instead. This would be a better option for those who are still experimenting with flavors to find their personal favourite. The tea tower on the main floor displays tea canisters that contain 150 tea types in three main colours making them easy to identify and choose from. Each colour represents a tea category, so the green represents green tea, the red canisters contain black tea and the orange containers hold Herbal tea.

Teayana Tea Sets on Display 2 Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Exquisite tea Sets for sale.

The varieties of tea include black, white and green tea, along with oolong and herbal tea leaves. The indicators of tea strength will allow you to determine how much you need depending on whether you are in the mood for something mild or strong. They also sell a beautiful assortment of elegant tea pots, cups, mugs and loose leaf jars. There are some gift baskets available too making the perfect gift for that special friend who loves tea and would love receiving a gorgeous tea set complete with a great blend of tea.

Teayana Tea Sets on Display Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Perk up your daily sip of tea with these elegant Teayana Tea Sets.

I just hope the Teayana management can hire more staff members because the orders take too long to arrive, and I saw only two waiters rushing all over the place trying their best to serve everyone in a timely manner. The good news is that Teayana now offers delivery of certain food items from various locations. Details available on their website.

Teayana has three branches in Jeddah:

– Teayana Hamra, 
Andalus street, Planet food Mall
02-668 1660
– Teayana Khaldiyah,
 
Rawdah Street, Lines Mall
02-606 2646
– Teayana Redsea Mall, 

Malek Road, Redsea Mall, Gate #9
02-215 0620

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Delectable Desserts with Lama Al Khereiji


For our latest blog post, Zareen Muzaffar managed to chase down Lama Al Khereiji as she participated in the Brides Bazaar at Dar Al Hekma College held on the 5th and 6th of March 2013, and chatted with her about her love of baking.

Anyone who has been to Jeddah knows this city has an amazing variety of food to offer. International franchises and local delicacies offer a unique combination to food lovers. And who doesn’t like desserts? Making home-made desserts and baked goods is a fast growing business for home makers as well as professional connoisseurs. Lama Al Khereiji is a young and passionate chef who creates unique baked goods for her clients.

Could you resist these?

Could you resist these luscious chocolates?

“I discovered my passion for baking and dessert decoration when I was very young,” explains Lama. “I watched cooking channels and went through numerous printed recipes to begin with. Then I completed several courses to enhance my skills, and now I have more than 14 types of delicious desserts with unique presentations”.

.

Carrot cake – looks almost too good to eat?

For children, there is a wide variety of desserts to choose from: cupcakes, cake pops, and birthday cakes customized according to your preference of characters. For adults, there are some intricately designed cakes good for birthdays or any other special occasion.

Delightfully fun cupcakes.

Delightfully fun cupcakes.

She operates her business from Khalidiya district in Jeddah and one of her famous offerings include Nutella cookies, an all-time favorite for children and adults alike. Some of the popular items include Galaxy, Oreo and carrot cupcakes, Malteasers Mudcake, and pistachio cake. She also offers the famous local favourite Basbousa bites.

Oreo Cake

A cake for Oreo lovers.

Lama markets her desserts on Instagram and holds online competitions occasionally.

If you want to place an order or to inquire more about Lama’s desserts, she can be reached at 0506040909.

2nd Family Festival 2013


The organizers of the Family Festival 2 are shouting out excitedly,

”It’s summer time! ….. It’s fun time!”

Family Festival 2 promises more entertainment and excitement. Prizes can be won, and they have a wide selection of stalls to shop at. Relaxation comes in the form of delicious food at the Savory Corner. Children will be able to have plenty of fun at the Kids’ Corner.

If you would like to book a stall contact Mr Imran- 0555246018 or Mrs Zaara- 0543361527

The entrance ticket is only SR 3 for adults. The festival will be held on 4th April from 4 – 12pm at the Golden Tulip Hotel.

Families only

For more information, visit the Family Festival 2 Event Page.

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