Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
arbuclo

eG Foodblog: arbuclo - Dubai is a long way from Montana, baby!

Recommended Posts

So, it’s the morning of the 19th, and it’s my turn on stage. Oh, no! I think I’ve forgotten my lines, even worse, it appears there isn’t a script! :shock: How do I keep up the high standards therese set in her blog? Help! Deep breath, I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets food blog stage fright… :wacko:

Ok, OK…Start with the basics…

Well, I grew up in Montana USA, moved to Alaska USA after uni/with husband (husband is from Alaska). After 4 years in Anchorage we moved to Melbourne Australia. We had a 2 year temporary visa but ended up staying 11 years. (Don't worry, we did actually renew our visas! :laugh: ) Then just a few months ago we decided to take an opportunity that has brought us to Dubai UAE. And that’s a looooong way from Montana in more than just distance!

To prepare for this week I did what I usually do to plan food. I grabbed some of my food mags and some of my cookbooks and paged through to find somthing I felt like cookin'. There's often not a rhyme or reason to what I pick, it just sounds fun to make! The thing I’ve done the most this past year is make bread and I’m very proud of some of my efforts. This week I want to give Ciabatta a try and I, of course am open to hints in making it!

Of course I'll just HAVE to go out for a meal or two this week. Sometimes that's hard to fit in with all the stuff I organise to cook but I'll just have to make the time, now won't I?

therese asked loads of questions of us last week and I’ll be asking some too. Difference is I don’t know the answers! I’m still trying to identify things at the supermarkets!

Before I forget, I need to say thanks to my friend Amanda who sent me the quote in my signature just in time for my blog and without even knowing I was gonna be doing this!

(doing dance of joy :biggrin: now since I made it over the initial posting!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm living in a semi detached townhouse in Dubai not far from where they're building the first palm island, Palm Jumeirah. It's away from the main part of the city so later today I'll be driving to some supermarkets to get supplies.

I probably shouldn't post these pics so soon after you've taken a look at therese's since my kitchen looks sorta bland and boring compared to hers... But, here are some pictures of our kitchen.

Looking into the breakfast nook... In the left of the picture you can barely see the edge of a bakers rack I have there. It holds some of the cookbooks and mags that I read most often. (Still have to unpack the rest, of which there are plenty, but need a a place to put them first.) You might also make out my palm pilot near the island; that's where I normally store my grocery list. We added the island and so glad we did since it gives me plenty more bench space and storage space.

gallery_18_3_11542.jpg

sink and fridge... We just bought the appliances from the previous tenants. I was surprised that our fridge has a lock! I guess it's because most people here have maids and apparently don't trust em?!

gallery_18_3_53974.jpg

I love this stove! It's got 4 gas burners and 2 electric (which I haven't yet used but if the gas ran out they'd come in handy) and the oven is huge compared to the ovens I had in Australia. I've been hauling a couple of big cookie sheets around with me for eleven years that I haven't been able to use because of small ovens. Very happy that I can use 'em again! It runs on bottled gas, which I found interesting. Never had that before.

gallery_18_3_180148.jpg

Dubai is currently one huge construction site and where I live is no exception. The view across the "lake" is of villas and townhouses being constructed. The view will be quite different in a few months by which time I won't know what quiet sounds like. (They do 24 hour construction!) It's quiet inside the house, thank goodness!

gallery_18_3_102665.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Breakfast today had to wait, as usual, until The Girls were fed. (They really don't look amused in this picture! LOL)

gallery_18_3_56254.jpg

Brekkie, to use a good Australianism, was my homemade toasted muesli/granola with regular milk. Also had a couple of itty bitty finger bananas. I think I normally find them in the Sri Lankan fruit and veg section at the supermarket. I love 'em. They have really thin skin and the flesh has a sort of lemon taste which is very refreshing. The muffin is what my husband snarfed as he rushed out the door to work. I made 'em yesterday-dried apricot with walnuts.

gallery_18_3_129329.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't imagine they'll run out of gas in the Emirates any time soon, but have you discovered yet how long those bottles of gas last?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do those bananas taste any different from regular ones?

This blog should prove interesting..... :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, you're right about them not running out of gas here too soon! Not sure how long these bottles last. I'm working on the smallest size and have been using it for 2 months so far. I do cook a fair bit so I think that's pretty good. I have a bigger one ready to go for when this one runs out.

I can't imagine they'll run out of gas in the Emirates any time soon, but have you discovered yet how long those bottles of gas last?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do those bananas taste any different from regular ones?

I reckon they're not as "heavy" tasting since there's a bit of lemon taste to them. I found them again today. They were in with the Indian foods at the supermarket. Does anyone know if they're called something other than "finger bananas"?

[edited for spelling]


Edited by arbuclo (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My stovetop runs on bottled gas (we are out in the country).

We have two big calor bottles outside, with an automatic changeover.

They seem to last for ever, although all they are powering is two burners and a wok burner,

I've had to get a refill maybe once in five years..and that was when a squirrel chewed though one of the flexible gas pipes connecting the bottle (tails).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lunch was a falafel "sandwich". I picked it up at one of the grocery stores. It cost a whole dirham. It was a few falafel wrapped in a flat bread and very tasty. I love falafel and haven't had some for quite some time. No picture since I ate it while shopping! Late afternoon snack, some Thompson seedless grapes that were well past their prime and didn't deserve a photo.

Will post pics of my food shopping venture after I get back from the gym. (I'm sure I'm gonna eat too much this week so might as well start off with some exercise!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the little I know about the UAE, I remember hearing that a lot of westerners live in compounds (sort of gated communities) and buy all their groceries in stores that ship in western products. Do you shop at somewhere like this, or do you frequent local stores? (or both?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really looking forward to visiting Dubai this week---it looks like an exciting time to be living there.

The locked fridge is an interesting feature of the kitchen. I could see it being handy with a teenage boy in the house as well. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From the little I know about the UAE, I remember hearing that a lot of westerners live in compounds (sort of gated communities) and buy all their groceries in stores that ship in western products. Do you shop at somewhere like this, or do you frequent local stores? (or both?)

Hmmm, well so far I haven't really seen any "local" stores. I've been to one co-op where there were few westerners. The other shops I've been to have had a mix of people from various ethnicity. I did try to go to the spice souk a couple weeks ago but there wasn't much there. I'm unsure as to whether that's because of the time of the day I was there or whether there's not much to the spice souk now a days. So, in conclusion (finally!) I suppose to date I just shop at the stores that have western goods (and plenty of local stuff too). I have to try to figure out where the local shops are so I can check them out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The locked fridge is an interesting feature of the kitchen. I could see it being handy with a teenage boy in the house as well.  :wink:

Yeah, I did think it could help out in dieting. You could put all the "bad" stuff in there and hand the key to someone reliable! :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the exchange rate between dollars and dirhams? 1 Dirham for a sandwhich sounds pretty cheap unless a dirham is somehow worth like ten bucks...

I always have heard Dubai is pretty much a resort town compared to much of the middle east, and isnt the UAE one of the wealthiest nations in the area? How is the general cost of living there, are groceries and restuarants on par with prices in the west, or cheaper or much higher? Also, how easy/difficult is it to get alcohol out there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please take lots of pictures of UAE food in its natural habitat! I have no idea of the local cuisine and am really looking forward to learning more about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first place I went to today was a mall called Wafi City. (A lot of shopping is done in malls where it's air conditioned. :wink: ) It has a theme (I swear nearly everything has a theme. It's like a more subtle less sinful Vegas!)...Egyptian!

gallery_18_3_93899.jpg

I've been wanting to go back to take a good look at a Lebanese food emporium called Goodies. They were still setting up when I got there so I sat at the juice counter and had a pomegranate juice. Haven't tried that before. I was thirsty and while it tasted good, it was like lemonade and didn't really quench my thirst.

gallery_18_3_199785.jpg

I'm in love with Goodies, can I just confess? I mean, just take a look at all this...

salads (mostly olive based):

gallery_18_3_146125.jpg

dips and more salads (look closely and you may be able to see the lamb brain one!):

gallery_18_3_131914.jpg

Fish and seafood meals that you can eat there or take home for a meal (they have the same thing with meat and veg too):

gallery_18_3_194491.jpg

olives:

gallery_18_3_222913.jpg

fruit display (the guys was carefully wrapping each fruit in tissue and even cutting off excess stems on the grape bunches!):

gallery_18_3_229631.jpg

more fruit and veg:

gallery_18_3_82998.jpg

kebabs:

gallery_18_3_152832.jpg

glacee fruit:

gallery_18_3_159078.jpg

marzipans (I think these are so beautiful!):

gallery_18_3_214816.jpg

nougat and other sweets:

gallery_18_3_101047.jpg

dried fruit and nuts and in the middle background it seemed to be dried flowers for tea? infusions? pretty?; far background is jars of spices and spice mixes.

gallery_18_3_74386.jpg

Sorry for killin ya with pictures, but guess what? There were even more counters of fresh fish, meat, coffee, chocolate, wrapped sweets, middle eastern pastries, and ice cream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the exchange rate between dollars and dirhams?  1 Dirham for a sandwhich sounds pretty cheap unless a dirham is somehow worth like ten bucks...

I always have heard Dubai is pretty much a resort town compared to much of the middle east, and isnt the UAE one of the wealthiest nations in the area?  How is the general cost of living there, are groceries and restuarants on par with prices in the west, or cheaper or much higher?  Also, how easy/difficult is it to get alcohol out there?

Yes, Dubai is quite a resort town. It seems to be the most liberal place in the Middle East. Not difficult to get alcohol here as long as you're not a Muslim. There are liquor stores (you have to have a license to buy) and nearly every hotel restaurant sells alcohol. Beyond that there are plenty of bars and night clubs too.

Other Emirates, however, are quite strict, though not as much as other ME spots. There is no duty/tax here so there are a lot of very good bargains to be had. In general, I find the prices for food to be better than in Melbourne (been awhile since I shopped in the US) and gas/petrol is extremely cheap. Cars look to be less expensive too, though I haven't had the chance to buy one yet. (Hubby and are are sharing his company vehicle.)

Interestingly, higher range restaurants are only found in hotels. Therefore those sorts of meals aren't particularly cheap. However there are many little Indian/Pakistani/Sri Lankan/Chinese joints, etc where you can have a meal for very little. Also there seems to be a thing about buffets (which also reminds me of Vegas) so there's many a place for all you can eat at a great price in both restaurants and cafes. What cracks me up is that you can get nearly everything delivered to your home including...McDonalds!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A$ = 2.80 dirhams

US$ = 3.70 dirhams

1 euro = 4.8 dirhams

1 GBP = 7 dirhams

Yep, that falafel was rather inexpensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please take lots of pictures of UAE food in its natural habitat!  I have no idea of the local cuisine and am really looking forward to learning more about it.

I'll see what I can do! I read this article recently on Emirate food. There really isn't a local cuisine, per se. The adopted local food is primarily Lebanese. I wanted to go to the dinner that is mentioned in the article but didn't make it. I hope I get the chance again some time because it'd be really interesting, I reckon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After I went to Wafi City today, I went to another place called Carrefour. It's a French based "hypermarket" (whatever that is!). It's my favourite supermarket simply because I love buying stuff from the big barrels and bags! (aaah, the simple joys... or simpletons are easily amused, or something like that :raz: )

gallery_18_3_37399.jpg

They have big barrels of olives and other pickles (lemons, veg, Indian-type pickle), legumes (more types of dhal than I knew existed!), nuts, dried fruit, and all those spices pictured above.

Plus I also love that I can get some amazing European imported stuff like cheeses and salamis. Due to the import restrictions in Australia we couldn't get a lot of stuff. There are no import restrictions on food here. (Yeah!! woo hoo!) I have visions of me flitting off to, say, Italy, for instance, and coming back with a big chunk of parma ham and slab of parmesan and being able to waltz right on through customs. Of course, as long as I don't have any scary reading material or too much alcohol. That sort of stuff they'll inspect and confiscate!

I love that everything says where it's from:

gallery_18_3_94883.jpg

And because 80% of the population here is from outside the Middle East we have so much interesting imported food, particularly from Asia. (There are big Indian, Philippine, Sri Lankan populations here.) Much of the western stuff comes from the UK but Carrefours, of course, has a lot of French things. (In fact I bought French Granny Smith apples today (and boy were they giving me attitude- :laugh: Just joking. No offence intended!)) And one of these times I'll find some dish worthy of the gorgeous (and pricey) French mushrooms.

Some other things you might find interesting:

**Butter being sold only in frozen form (I assume it's to prevent melting on the way home since it can be very hot here).

**A check out line for women with a covered Arabic woman running the register (for particularly sensitive Arabic women shoppers)

**You have to have your fruit and veg weighed and priced before you get to the register. (Which I didn't do the first time I went 'cause I didn't know. And a man helping bag groceries had to be sent back to that department with about 8 bags of stuff to price for us!)

**Separate sort of hidden place in the supermarket to get pork products. (Anything containing pork even potato chips and some things you just wouldn't think of as immediately having pork are tucked away so as not to offend Muslims.) Actually this Carrefour didn't seem to sell any pork products.

**All veg including herbs and lettuces grown here all come with copious amounts of sand. I'm sure I should have expected that but it hadn't occurred to me!

I have some "what is this and what do I do with it" pics to post for you tomorrow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating blog, and I love the pictures of the markets. Very cute kitties, too.

I'm wondering if perhaps the lock on the refrigerator is to protect Muslims from roving bandits who will stuff a piece of pork in there with your Halal ingredients, which would make everything inedible. Have you seen any stories of such bandits in the newspapers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow,t hat is very interesting. So, they won't sell alcohol to the muslims that want it, or do the muslims just avoid alcohol in general? I know lots of jewish folk who sometimes indulge in pork, so, I figure there must be some muslims who want alcohol, but do they have to go to a black market for it, or just pretend they aren't muslim when they buy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What else did I eat today? This afternoon I had a snack of a Middle Eastern pastry (only one piece, left the rest at a friend's place, I swear!):

gallery_18_3_64502.jpg

Had a few pretzels while preparing dinner. And speaking/writing of which...

I decided to make some rolls/scrolls using a recipe that a friend (thanks Adrienne!) sent to me a week or so ago. It's basically a scone base and you fill the dough with whatever you want, roll 'em up and bake 'em. Here's what mine looked like ready to be rolled up. I filled them with a chile and cheese mixture. (They have this chile paste here that I'm in love with. It's basically chiles and salt, I think. The chile could be hotter but... me likey!)

gallery_18_3_310196.jpg

I started to make Hoppin' John last night following a recipe from a chile calendar I have but then we weren't really hungry. So I finished it tonight. Actually I didn't have any salt pork; had some procuitto instead. Since that's more posh I figure John can't be hoppin' he must be chauffeured. And I added some Aussie spices (bush pepper leaves and bush pepper fruit) along with the bay leaves. So, really it probably shouldn't have the name John; should be the ever Australian 'Mick', I think. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Anyway, here's what Chauffeured Mick looked like with the finished rolls. Not that photogenic, our Mick. Had to add hot sauce too since the jalapeno's I used were apparently fake.

gallery_18_3_227848.jpg

And lastly we had a couple of treats I picked up at Goodies:

gallery_18_3_4317.jpg

I wasn't sure what they were when I bought them but suspected marzipan. Yep marzipan it was; couldn't taste any chocolate, though it looks like there was some chocolate in 'em. A nice little hit of sugar to finish the night with. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yeah, you're right about them not running out of gas here too soon!  Not sure how long these bottles last.  I'm working on the smallest size and have been using it for 2 months so far.  I do cook a fair bit so I think that's pretty good.  I have a bigger one ready to go for when this one runs out.
I can't imagine they'll run out of gas in the Emirates any time soon, but have you discovered yet how long those bottles of gas last?

How freakin hilarious! Guess what happened tonight?! Yep, small gas bottle ran out. Excellent timing. So now I know...the small bottle seems to last 2 months. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • By Duvel
      Prologue:
       
      Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region …
       
      But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
       

    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×