There's a $1,000 price difference for a room in the 'world's most luxurious hotel' and its 5-star sister hotel next door. I stayed in both to see how they compare — and the winner was clear

There’s a $1,000 price difference for a room in the ‘world’s most luxurious hotel’ and its 5-star sister hotel next door. I stayed in both to see how they compare — and the winner was clear

Two angles facing right, which often indicate, “advance to the end.” One of the most decorated luxury hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai , was recently named the “best hotel in the world” by the Ultratravel Awards. The Burj has been called “the world’s first seven-star hotel” and “the most luxurious hotel in the world” by travel writers and critics. I recently spent a night at the hotel and a night at its sister hotel next door, the five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel, to see how the two compared. While I expected the two hotels to be fairly similar in quality, I was surprised to find just how much more luxurious the Burj Al Arab is than Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories . How luxurious can a hotel possibly be? I was determined to find out the answer to that question on a recent trip to Dubai. I planned to stay at two well-regarded hotels by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, a Dubai state-owned luxury hotel chain. The first was the Burj Al Arab , a $1 billion hotel shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship. In just the last year, it was named the Best Hotel in the World by The Telegraph’s ULTRA Awards and given a Five-Star Award by Forbes Travel Guide . When it first opened, a journalist was supposedly so enamored with the Burj that she exclaimed that it must be a seven-star hotel, a rating that does not exist. The second was the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a family resort next door shaped like a cresting wave. It was renovated last year with a new lobby, guest rooms, and restaurants. I figured that my experience at both would be about the same: over-the-top luxurious. I was wrong. Keep reading to see what it was like: 1 / To start with, let’s talk about location and architecture. The Jumierah Beach Hotel sits on its own private beach on the Dubai coastline. Its iconic wave-shaped building is one of Dubai’s most recognizable. Warren Little/Getty Images 2 / But the Burj Al Arab’s shape, that of the billowing sail of an Arabian dhow ship, is even more iconic. The Burj sits on its own private island across the water from Jumeirah Beach Hotel. You can only get on the island with a reservation. It provides an unobstructed view of the sea and the city. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 3 / When I entered the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, I noticed the newly renovated lobby atrium, designed to let in lots of light and show off walls painted to evoke the sea. It’s very calming. Jumeirah 4 / But the Burj’s atrium is an architectural masterpiece. According to the Burj, it is the tallest in the world at 590 feet. The kaleidoscopic colors produce a trippy effect. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 5 / The dining room and other spaces on the main floor of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel are tastefully decorated in keeping with the ocean theme, though it doesn’t seem to get a ton of sunlight. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 6 / The main floor of the Burj screams over-the-top grandeur. It’s not just the gold, though there’s plenty of that, but the deep color of the saffron and ultramarine tiles and the ornate furniture. Each room feels like its own art piece. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 7 / The main pool at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is spacious, dotted with palm trees, and features a swim-up bar. It’s a good place for a family vacation. I took this photo early in the morning. By the afternoon, this area was bustling. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 8 / The Burj’s infinity pool, however, looks directly out onto the Arabian Gulf, which makes it the perfect spot for sunset Instagram photos. There’s a hot tub embedded in the infinity pool and an attached beach with loungers. It doesn’t get much more picturesque. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 9 / An Ocean Deluxe room at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel goes for around $300-500 per night. It has a plush, king-size bed … Annie Zheng/Business Insider 10 / … and a view of the beach and the Burj. It has a couch and a small seating area, but the room is only about 150 square feet. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 11 / It’s nothing compared to the Burj. Every room there is a duplex suite that goes for about $1,500 a night. It has a large, open living room, an office, and a dining area. There are enough seating options for a Sheikh’s entourage. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 12 / The bedrooms at the Burj are so spacious I couldn’t fit mine into a single photo. The bed is a DUX mattress, which can cost up to $15,000. The bedding is made of Eiderdown feathers harvested from the abandoned nests mother Eider ducks use to keep their eggs warm. There’s a pillow “menu” of nearly a dozen pillows of varying degrees of material, thickness, and firmness. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 13 / The toiletry products in the bathroom at Jumeirah Beach Hotel are Elemis, a London-based spa company. You get a few travel-size bottles of the body wash, which goes for around $30-40 for a full-size bottle. It’s nice stuff … Annie Zheng/Business Insider 14 / … but it’s not the set of full-size his-and-hers Hermès toiletries, including cologne and perfume, that each Burj room comes with. I kept the bar of Hermès body soap and stuck it in my suitcase. All my clothes now smell like Hermès. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 15 / The difference extends to the food. At the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, I ate dinner at Villa Beach, an in-house restaurant that serves freshly grilled seafood. I ordered the fish of the day, which came well-cooked with a few sides. It was tasty … Annie Zheng/Business Insider 16 / … but it wasn’t the Michelin-starred experience that I got at the Burj’s flagship restaurant, Al Mahara, run by British Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw. Among the dishes I had there: crispy oysters topped with caviar, lobster salad topped with truffles, and a $266 salt-baked whole sea bass encased in salt and filleted table-side. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 17 / Breakfast at Jumeirah Beach Hotel was nothing to sneeze at. It had more than half a dozen breakfast stations with breakfast from all around the world, including English, French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. Annie Zheng/Business Insider 18 / What the breakfast at the Burj lacked in variety, it made up for in luxury and privacy. My personal butler — each room gets one — brought a full breakfast spread for me to enjoy in my room. It included a smoked salmon eggs Benedict topped with caviar and fresh juice, pastries, and coffee. Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider 19 / By the time I left both hotels, the answer was clear: The Burj is indeed far more luxurious than its 5-star sister hotel. The Burj’s complimentary Rolls-Royce chauffeur drove home the point as it took me to my next destination. But the real question for travelers: Is the Burj worth $1,000 more a night than the Jumeirah Beach Hotel? Only you can answer whether you need that level of gold-plated luxury.

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Iftar Delicacies at DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta-Diponegoro

DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta – Diponegoro announced a special breakfasting promotion. Bringing different ambiences, offering and concepts; Kampung Air at OPEN} Restaurant and Eight Hands Iftar Culinary Journey at Sea Grain Restaurant & Bar, the hotel presents authentic dishes and atmospheres to its outlet.
Clams with Tomato Marinara sauce
To perpetuate the local food tradition, the culinary team is ready to concoct an array of Ramadan delicacies and local specialties with bold traditional palate from the live cooking stations at OPEN} Restaurant. Explore over 400 buffet items during Ramadan featuring Indonesia lifetime favorites such as, Tuna Asam Pedas, Ayam Bakar Taliwang, Kambing Bakar and Balinese Chicken Salad. Guest can savor the indoor live stations serving International cuisine, including the special Lebanese corner with signature mouth- watering shawarma, Indian corner and other handpicked Ramadan favorites specialties.
Grouper Fish Couscous
Gulai Kepala Ikan Salmon
This year, OPEN} Restaurant will showcase a real traditional night floating market outdoor that will start right after the bedug or drum sounds as the sign for the breakfasting time. Turn back to hometown memory to enjoy delicious hawker stall food directly from the boats lined up at the pool. Diners will be indulged with the highest culinary standards featuring a succulent Pempek Palembang, Siomay Bandung, Batagor, Bakso Malang, and Nasi Goreng Mawut. To live up the glowing reputation of food heaven for durian lovers, OPEN} Restaurant is back to offer an all-you-can-eat widely revered freshly cut durians from 7 – 8 pm daily. Complete the satisfying dining experience with a delightful treats and dessert including Turkish Ice Cream and Warung Kopi at the ‘warung’ (traditional shopt) at Makara Garden.
Kampung Air will start on the 6th May to 4th June 2019, priced at IDR 468,000++. Enjoy Pay 1 For 2 starting from 9pm to 10.30pm for late breakfasting session at OPEN} Restaurant. Special price is available from IDR 368,000++ on the 1st week of Ramadan.
Located on the third floor, Sea Grain Restaurant is proud to present a rich authentic taste from four different chefs with different origins around the world that will take the diners for a journey through the taste of Mediterranean delicacies for an exquisite iftar session. With the collaboration of four chefs and different specialties, guest will experience the true Lebanese spices, Jordan’s flavorful ingredients, the best Tunisian food, Spain’s all-time favorites and Indonesia’s premium local taste.
Pita Bread
Specially flown from Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa in Jordan, Chef Ali Abed Al-Razek Qadoom will bring his skills in Lebanese and Jordan special dishes. With his experience over 16 years in culinary, Chef Ali will ensure that the best quality of original recipes will be served, including Chicken Mousakka, Mixed Grills (such as Shish Taouk and Lamb Kofta), Whole Fish with Harra Sauce and other authentic Lebanese and Jordan delicacies. Winning the silver and bronze medal in four years in a row on Culinary Art Shows, Chef Ali will implement his advance cooking skills from the preparation to the traditional cooking method for the duration Ramadan at Sea Grain Restaurant.
To bring an array of sumptuous Tunisian dishes, Sea Grain Restaurant will also have the native Tunisian Chef, Guettat Sirine. With the tremendous cooking experience in several countries in Tunisia, France, Morocco and the winner of Gold Medal in Tunisian Culinary Awards 2015, Chef Sirine has a great culinary versatility and excelling in a wide variety of international cuisines. To present an exceptional Iftar experience at Sea Grain, she will showcase the authentic Tunisian dishes such as, Tunisan Grilled Salad, Doigt de Fatma (Tunisian Spring Rolls), Beef “Mloukhia”, Verrines Couscous au Poisson (Grouper Fish Couscous) and other Tunisian mouthwatering dishes.
Seafood Paella
Both Chef Ali and Chef Sirine will collaborate with the Sea Grain Chef De Cuisine, Alvaro Bonache Utiel, a Spanish Chef leading the restaurant from autumn last year. With his experience in several restaurants in Ibiza, China and Barcelona, this high-caliber Chef will bring Spain’s all-time favorites dishes featuring Spanish Salad, Seafood Paella and Pan Fried Lamb Chops with Aioli to elevate the iftar experience at his restaurant.
Break the fast will not complete without Indonesian’s premium local taste. The Executive Chef from DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta – Diponegoro, Chef Zulkarnain will prepare a different level of local delicacies to every guest. Opened the hotel five years ago with the experience over 22 years working at five-star establishments, Chef Zul is highlighting local premium ingredients in all dishes such as Bebek Betutu, Rawon Oxtail, Gulai Kepala Ikan Salmon and Udang Panggang Acar Kuning.
Udang Panggang Acar Kuning
Experience an exquisite iftar with the wealth sumptuous buffet at Sea Grain Restaurant, priced at Rp428,000++ per person and special price Rp318,000++ per person on the first and latest week of Ramadan.
DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta – Diponegoro is now accepting the reservation for the breakfasting session. For further detail, please contact 021 – 2985 7093 or visit news.doubletree.com .

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On My Pinboard: Shruti Prakash

Actress and singer Shruti Prakash is known for her portrayal of Sita in the long-running Hindi soap opera ‘Saath Nibhaana Saathiya’ on Star Plus channel.
Shruti was also a contestant in the fifth season of Bigg Boss Kannada. She is recognised for her role in the Hindi TV series ‘Ishq Unplugged’ on
Channel V.
The actress has many interesting projects lined up.
Inspiration
Deepika Padukone
My dad is my inspiration. Having served in the Indian army for 23 years, he is systematic and organised in all his ventures; he is my role model.
When it comes to acting, I am a huge fan of Deepika Padukone. Her journey is like an open guide to many, and I am sure she has been through a lot before she got to where she is now. Also, her confidence and the way she carries herself make me look up to her.
Music
Billie Eilis
Music is one of the things that keep me going in life. I can never leave my house without my earphones on. ‘Nahin Samne Tu’ from film ‘Taal’ is my all-time favourite. Billie Eilish’s ‘When the party is over’ is also a favourite.
Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Vijay Prakash, Ariana Grande, Rihanna are artistes I admire. What I like in all these singers is that they never lose the feel of the song, even with all the improvisations that they do.
Books
The Secret
I’m making a conscious effort to get myself into the habit of reading. As of now, I have just read a few books by Chetan Bhagat and some other inspirational ones. I have got a lot more in stock to read. ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne is my current read.
Films
How To Train Your Dragon
I enjoy watching films. ‘Andaz Apna Apna’, ‘Chak De’, ‘Marley and Me’, ‘How To Train Your Dragon’, ’Avengers’ are some of my all-time favourites. Films like these have inspired me to get into acting.
My TV debut was with ‘Ishq Unplugged’ on Channel V. They were casting real singers on the show. I had to sing, act and dance and that’s when I realised I enjoyed performing in front of the camera. Deepika, Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra are some of the actors I admire. Friends, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, 13 Reasons Why are some of the TV shows I like.
Food
Chocolate Fudge
I am a foodie. I love exploring different cuisines. But, I resist myself from eating too much as the industry I am in demands me to be in shape. Apart from that, I love eating chaats. Also, I am not very particular about food as long as it is healthy. The pizza my mom prepares is my favourite. In sweets, I like chocolate fudge and cake. If I am upset, I just need to be left alone with food, Netflix and my dog.
Travel
Mumbai
I love travelling, but I do not have any favourite destination. Moreover, caught up with work, I don’t get to travel that much; I somehow manage to complete one or two trips a year, which I plan to increase. Right now, I am travelling back and forth from Mumbai to Bengaluru, on work. However, my parents come and visit me where ever I am shooting. My go-to place is always Mumbai as I get to spend some quality time with my pet dog Casper.

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Eggless Chocolate Cupcake

April 10, 2019
Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and an extravagant New Year. Also a very happy Pongal / Sankranthi. It is 2 weeks since the New Year and it has been very promising for us. We finally moved into our new home after a small ceremony (Gruha Pravesam). It was really a challenging move as the Snow goddess opened her heart and blessed us with 1 foot of snow. But luckily we moved most of our big stuffs before the storm. To move the smaller things we had to do 5 trips in our car on the snow covered road 🙂 This is the first new year in our abode and it is a wonderful feeling to celebrate in a home that belongs to us.
When I look back at 2010, it has been really a fruitful year for Vasanth and me. On our personal fronts both of us achieved what we wanted to. He was able to take forward his music career to greater heights by performing with the legendary singer Dr.K.J.Yesudas and composing 1 private music album and 3 short films. On this side I moved my blog from blogspot to dot com which we named ‘Food for 7 Stages of life’. It is 6 months since I launched this website and I have received lots of appreciation and support from all of you. My pictures were featured in Foodgawker, tastespotting and Photograzing. Also Food for 7 stages was chosen as one of the ‘Top 100 Health and fitness blog” and “Top Indian Cuisine Blogs“. What more can I ask for than receiving lovely testimonials from you my dear readers. Thanks for all the feedback you gave me. It is truly encouraging. I am so glad that I am able to tease your palette.
How it tasted?
If I don’t say, you will not know that this is an eggless cupcake. I believe the chemistry between chocolate, buttermilk and baking soda worked out really well which yielded in feather lite, moist and lip-smacking chocolate cupcakes. Every bite just melted in my mouth.
To give an extra kick I served it with low fat whipped cream and it tasted damn good. At the end of the day you won’t feel guilty. So dive in, make these teeny-weeny cupcakes for your dear ones. And if you love it, do not forget to come back and tell me.
Adapted from: I had noted down this recipe from Internet few months ago. I seriously couldn’t figure out from where I got the original recipe. Anyways I have made tons of modifications to it like using butter milk, chocolate chips, coffee and brown sugar
Ingredients All purpose flour – 1 1/2 cup (Substitute: Whole Wheat Pastry flour) Dark Brown Sugar packed – 3/4 – 1 cup (Substitute: Light Brown Sugar/Sugar/Honey of same quantity) Cocoa Powder – 2 tbsp

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Area Wife Can’t Decide At Which Gentile-Blood Restaurant She Wants To Eat (PreOccupied Territory)

Check out their Facebook page . Jerusalem , April 10 – The expanding selection of top-flight culinary establishments in Israel’s capital city poses a quandary for a local homemaker, who is experiencing trouble choosing from among the numerous such places that specialize in the use of the blood from murdered non-Jews. Faygie Tannenbaum, 35, looks forward each year to week or two leading up to Passover, a time when the in-between status of the kitchen and dining room means fewer home-cooked meals and more eating out. Over the last several years the number of high-quality of Jerusalem gentile-blood eateries has skyrocketed, a fact that should make Ms. Tannenbaum excited, but leaves her with a sense of confusion. “This isn’t your grandmother’s pre-Pesach routine,” she remarked, perusing several pages of advertisements in her community’s kosher restaurant guide. “Twenty years ago if you wanted to sample this year’s harvest of goy-blood foods you were essentially limited to falafel, shawarma, grill places, and lousy pizza. But somehow in the last couple of decades the fare has improved, and now we have our pick of goy-blood steakhouses, goy-blood trattorias, goy-blood cafes with extensive food menus, even goy-blood sushi and Indian cuisine. I can never decide what I’m in the mood to eat. Goy-blood entrecôte? Goy-blood calzones? Or maybe just a simple burger in goy-blood sauce? It drives my husband crazy.” “She gets like this every year when we have to eat out,” lamented her husband Dov. “It’s not just that it’s hard to eat so many meals in the house during Pesach preparations and cleaning; it’s also that this time of year is when the surplus goy blood is released onto the market for general culinary use, now that the bulk of matza production is more or less complete. The rest of the year we don’t go out much – not because we don’t like non-goy-blood food, but because it’s a drain on the wallet. I make a living, but we can’t always splurge like this. The sudden large-scale availability of the blood drives prices down and the food becomes more affordable. With six kids and a seventh on the way, we have to spend judiciously, even when circumstances all but force us to eat out.” Tradition dictates the use of blood from a murdered Christian child, but in recent decades Palestinian children of all varieties have all but taken their place, owing to plentiful supply. Dov favors a new wings joint in the hipster-oriented Mahane Yehuda market at night, and if it were up to him, he’d go there all the time. “I’m not like that, though,” conceded Faygie. “Don’t get me wrong, their young-goyish-child-blood sauce is to die for, but I need some variety. My mood changes. And Baruch Hashem, Dov is so accommodating.” We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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New Hotels of Miami 2018 – 2019 – 2020

New Hotels of Miami 2018 – 2019 – 2020 Özgür Töre Twitter
Offering a rich tapestry of diverse cultures, art and music along with some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, exciting nightlife and unique ecosystems found nowhere else, Miami is a popular destination for travelers.
Following our popular Miami hotel openings article two years ago , now it is time to update! Below you will find the latest hotel openings in Miami, Florida. We will continue to update the article!
SLS LUX Brickell Hotel & Residences (Opened: June 2018)
sbe, The Related Group, and Allen Morris Company have opened SLS LUX Brickell Hotel & Residences in June 2018. The extraordinary Arquitectonica designed, 57-story tower encompasses 450 sold-out luxury residences featuring private elevators and 84 guest rooms and suites, all expertly designed by the incomparable Yabu Pushelberg. Just steps away from Brickell City Centre, Miami’s newest and most extravagant shopping and lifestyle destination, SLS LUX Brickell offers residents and guests the ultimate access to an oasis of exclusive privileges.
Amenities include a ninth floor pool deck, haute cuisine at Katsuya, Ciel Spa and state-of-the-art fitness center, use of a Lincoln house car with free drop off within a two-mile radius and an on-staff multilingual translator. Dubbed the SLS LUX Brickell Art Collection, the property features works by renowned artists Fernando Botero and Matias Duville and an exterior mural installation by Fabian Burgos.
Staybridge Suites Miami International Airport (Opened: August 2018)
The 153-suite Staybridge Suites Miami International Airport – Miami , an IHG all-suite hotel in Miami. The new six-story hotel offers a combination of deluxe studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom accommodations, featuring fully equipped kitchens with separate living and sleeping areas. Some suites feature views over Florida’s Palmer Lake and Miami River. All suites include well-lit work stations with ergonomic seating, speaker phones, personal voicemail, and complimentary local phone calls.
The new property offers exceptional guest amenities including a complimentary daily breakfast buffet, onsite guest laundry and workout facilities, a complimentary 24-hour business services center and a convenience store stocked with snacks, sundries, beverages, and easy-to-prepare meals. The property offers more than 750 square feet of flexible meeting space that can accommodate up to 24 people for corporate events.
This is the only Staybridge Suites within the brand that includes an on-site restaurant offering a la carte dinner, a comfortable lounge area with a full bar. Unwind at the luxurious outdoor pool area featuring a Juice Bar offering adult beverages and snacks, and patio with a fire pit.
Guests at the Staybridge Suites Miami International Airport can get Internet connectivity throughout the hotel with complimentary “Wireless Anywhere.” The new property is located less than a mile from Miami International Airport, just minutes from downtown Miami and major hospital centers; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Travelers will also enjoy easy access to the famous and historic Venetian Pool near Coral Gables and Marlins Park for major league baseball. Grapeland Water Park, Wynwood Arts District and Florida’s Atlantic Coast are also just a short drive away from the hotel. Complimentary airport shuttle service is provided to and from Miami International Airport and the Miami Intermodal Station, which services the Tri-Rail, Greyhound, Mega Bus and Amtrak. Conveniently located just east of the airport and serving downtown Miami and points along South Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Generator Miami (Opened: August 2018)
Generator, a lifestyle and design-driven hostel chain based in Europe, made its U.S. debut in Miami inside a historic Art Deco building at 3201 Collins Avenue just south of the Faena District. Along with 300 beds in 105 rooms, Generator Miami showcases three carefully curated food & beverage venues with strong local roots; an array of spontaneous, anything-can-happen public spaces; and surprise-filled 24/7 programming from yoga classes to rap battles to mixology demos.
Generator Miami offers Generator’s signature mix of shared accommodations and private rooms, with a higher proportion of private rooms than at any of its European Generators. Miami is also the first Generator in the world with a pool and the first with a leisure resort. There are three food and beverage venues, including a lobby restaurant serving South Florida cuisine with fresh ingredients.
Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Miami Beach (Opened: September 2018)
Located in the heart of Miami Beach at 39th Street and Collins Avenue, Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club opened as part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. New York-based interior design firm Bill Rooney Studio designed the newly-renovated hotel, inspired by the 1940s Italian and French Rivieras with a preserved Art Deco aesthetic.
Oceanfront and city view rooms, including 20 spacious suites, are complemented by radiant white stone floors with Art Deco inspired articulation, flattering ambient lighting and subtle gold and smoky blue accents. The hotel’s signature Cadillac Suite faces the Atlantic Ocean with an expansive 1,100-square-foot terrace, large enough to host private dinners and cocktail receptions. Accented with a plush outdoor living area, the Cadillac Suite has an outdoor dining area and sunbeds for basking in the Miami sun. A state-of-the-art home theater and 65-inch television enhance the entertainment systems of the hotel’s premier suite.
The on-site restaurants and bars Donna Mare Trattoria and Bungalow by the Sea , a seaside-inspired destination just off the Miami Beach boardwalk, are the perfect blend of land and sea. The main pool leads to Bungalow by the Sea , a coastal chic destination for resort guests and locals alike to relax with a wide range of craft cocktails, rosé and European wines, as well as a raw bar and light fare including simply grilled fish and salads. Inside, Cadillac welcomes Donna Mare Trattoria , offering light, locally-sourced traditional fare and seafood, including Neapolitan pizzas from a wood-fire oven, homemade pastas, simply grilled fish and grass-fed meats. The restaurant’s intimate setting evokes the old-world atmosphere of Italy while embracing beautiful Miami Beach. Lobby Bar , the hotel’s intimate bar, focuses on cocktails inspired by the sea, and also serves light bites and rosé flights. The luxury hotel also provides beachside and pool service which includes a dedicated Sun Bum sunscreen bar and a signature shaved ice cart serving complimentary treats daily at two pools —one for adults only and one family pool.
For corporate meetings and social events, Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club offers a quintessential Miami Beach backdrop. Several flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces include a high-tech and high-styled boardroom as well as a beautifully-appointed ballroom that fills with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and opens onto an expansive pool deck.
Hyde Midtown Suites & Residences (Opened: September 2018)
Los Angeles-based sbe opened the HYDE Hotel & Residences Midtown Miami , the midtown’s first luxury lifestyle hotel. The thirty-two story, Arquitectonica designed building features 410 sold-out luxury condominiums, a dramatic double-height lobby inspired by the art galleries found throughout the surrounding Design District, a rooftop amenity floor, boutique spa, and 60 hotel rooms and designer suites with features that include split layouts, private kitchens, and exposed concrete ceilings. The hotel offers fantastic amenities and extremely specious rooms with kitchenettes allowing for ultimate convenience while on vacation or a business trip.
The seventh-floor rooftop doubles as an amenity floor with a sweeping infinity pool, outdoor bar/restaurant, tennis and bocce courts, a putting green and a glass-walled business center that can be transformed into small event space. Lush greenery, flowing vines, and garden beds planted with succulents contrast the metal pergolas that line the pool area, while the outdoor bar’s blackened steel canopy juxtaposes a teak wood bar top with three-dimensional blue glazed Portuguese tile base. Adjacent to the pool, a covered lounge area with tables, chairs, and sofas offers guests a shaded spot to unwind. Additionally, property residents and hotel guests can take advantage of on-demand transportation to SLS South Beach with VIP access to the resort’s beach, pool and day club.
Costa Hollywood Beach Resort (Opened: October 2018)
Located on Ocean Drive, north of Hollywood Boulevard, Costa Hollywood Beach Resort features 307 spacious, European-influenced suites, as well as a 25,000 square-foot rooftop infinity pool and sun deck with sweeping Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway views, as well as a poolside restaurant/bar.
Perfect for extended beach stays and family vacations, each of Costa Hollywood’s spacious, European-influenced suites includes hand-crafted Italian cabinetry, stainless steel SMEG appliances – including a refrigerator and microwave, Caffe Caligliari coffee capsule machine, and body and skincare products from Aromatherapy Associates. A full-size refrigerator and oven/cooktop is included in one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
An ideal wedding and event destination, the resort features 3,500 square feet of flexible space offering abundant natural light and ocean/Intracoastal views, as well as more than 28,000 square feet of non-traditional space.
Henrosa Hotel (Opened: November 2018)
Through extensive restorations, the Henrosa Hotel , located at 1435 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL, opened Nov. 2018. The hotel offers 40 rooms of Classic Kings and Deluxe Doubles and is recognized by the Miami Beach Architectural District 1979 and Miami Design Preservation League, in addition to Art Deco Historical Preservation.
Each room is furnished with custom pieces and contains furniture from companies such as Guild Master and Global Views. The lobby and hallways are still expressive from the signature original 1930’s terrazzo floors, lush greenery and Art Deco wrap-around mezzanine balcony overlooking the check-in and lounge area. Anything you see gilded is hand-painted by the Design by Shell mother-daughter duo, using 24K gold and precious Silver.
The bathrooms are marble tiled using white and grey elements with Kohler appliances accentuated. Each room features Egyptian cotton bedding, feathered duvet and pillows, central AC, 52in Smart TV including all premium channels, ability to stream your personal Netflix account, Wi-Fi, free local calls and wake up service, rain shower, small magnifying mirror, blow dryer, C.O. Bigelow bath product amenities, Bahama blackout shutters, safety box, small fridge, iron, iron board and full-length mirrors.
Room service offering will include small bites, wine and champagne. Guests are offered complimentary breakfast on the famed picturesque Espanola Way at Havana 1957 which combines the flavors of traditional Cuban cuisine with the enchantment and sophistication of Havana in the 1950’s. A partnership with Lobster Bar and Sea Grill provide guests with a discounted experiential dinner.
EVEN Hotel Miami Airport (Opened: January 2019)
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)has opened EVEN® Hotel Miami Airport . It is the first new property to open near the recently-approved 73-acre Miami Freedom Park, which will house a proposed new soccer stadium for David Beckham’s Inter Miami, Miami’s soon-to-be-formed Major League Soccer expansion team.
EVEN Hotel Miami Airport consists of 190 guest rooms, each with an in-room fitness trainer, ergonomic work station, signature sleep experience and complimentary Wi-Fi. The property also boasts 4,200 square feet of meeting space, signature Cork & Kale restaurant, and 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness studio that is three times the size of a standard hotel gym.
Life House Little Havana (Opened: January 2019)
Life House, Little Havana is a newly opened hotel housed in a historic 1920s mansion in Miami’s Cuban heart. The 33-room hotel is a visual encomium to its locale; every element has been mindfully crafted to pay homage to the area’s cultural roots. The 33 guest rooms and suites feature Le Labo bathroom amenities, Marshall speakers, rainfall showers, and a mixture of vintage and custom furniture.
The hotel plays host to a secret garden style courtyard, providing a lush outdoor oasis with a Havana ambiance. Exploring Cuban gastronomic roots, the vegetable forward café and bar and restaurant offer Latin infused foods and color palettes. The rooftop will feature a food forest from which ingredients will be sourced and used throughout the hotel’s menus. Opening in March, the crowning space Terras overlooks the Miami skyline from a jungle canopy-like perch, further cementing the hotel’s relationship with its surroundings.
Celino South Beach (Opened: February 2019)
Following a $110 million transformation of the iconic Park Central Hotel, originally built in 1937 and closed in 2015, Celino South Beach opens as a 132-guestroom oceanfront property as a reinterpretation of 1940s Miami Beach glamour.
The pool and rooftop sun deck features a glass-bottom pool that reflects aquatic light images on the atrium as well as a courtyard pool. The property will boast three food and beverage outlets. Other amenities include on-demand beauty services, customized bicycles by Republic Bike and a fitness room that’s open 24/7.
DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Doral (Opened: February 2019)
DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Doral opens its doors in the heart of Doral’s bustling business district. The 150-room hotel is the closest hotel to famed Miami International Mall and offers convenient access to CityPlace Doral, Miami Beach Convention Center, Downtown Miami, South Beach, the Art Deco District and Port of Miami.
DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Doral offers more than 1,700 square feet of meeting space with both indoor flexible meeting space and an outdoor terrace with dedicated banquet service bars that can accommodate up to 200 people.
AC Hotel Miami Airport West/Doral (Opened: February 2019)
AC Hotel Miami Airport West/Doral is a new, modern, design-driven, lifestyle brand from Marriott International, Inc. The 118-room AC Hotel Miami Airport West/Doral is located at 8091 NW 36th Street Doral, near CityPlace Doral.
A central feature of the property will be its exquisite AC Lounge highlighted by a full bar featuring a mixologist bartender. When combined with the hotel’s 1,040 square feet of flexible meeting space, outdoor area, AC Lounge and additional luxury amenities, the AC Hotel Miami Airport West/Doral modern chic rooms and exceptional personalized service will make the hotel a premier location for business meetings, weddings, weekend gateway and much more.
At the AC Hotel Miami Airport West/Doral guests will be able to enjoy European-style tapas as well as unique craft drinks, like the Potion 305, found exclusively at the AC Lounge. The lounge is the perfect hub for guests and locals. Expert mixologists create innovative signature cocktails with local roots.
Hilton Miami Dadeland (Opened: February 2019)
The new Hilton Miami Dadeland is opened as an innovative hotel in the Kendall area of Miami with a distinct focus on wellness. Hilton Miami Dadeland features 184 contemporary rooms, including 34 suites tailored to guests staying for extended periods, bringing a welcoming and uplifting environment for hotel guests.
The property offers Hilton’s revolutionary, state-of-the-art Five Feet to Fitness™ in-room wellness concept, bringing 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options into the guest room. Five Feet to Fitness™ is perfect for exercise enthusiasts who prefer to workout in private to maintain their routine. Furthering the focus on overall wellness for leisure and business travelers, Hilton Miami Dadeland features a health and wellness center with fitness room, meditation garden, heated outdoor pool and walking and jogging trails at the property.
Hilton Miami Dadeland offers the largest meeting and event space in the area with 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 6,250-square-foot ballroom with private outdoor patio and dedicated pre-function areas.
Executive Chef Andrew Edwards, culinary director of Table 55, created a flavorful, fresh and seasonal menu with the best ingredients from sustainable, local farms and producers, complemented with produce from the on-site garden. In addition to the hotel’s restaurant, Hilton Miami Dadeland offers a grab-n-go pantry, Starbucks®, a Wall of Water bar with bottled water from around the world and room service.
Palihouse Miami Beach (Opening: Spring 2019)
Palihouse Miami Beach located at 3101 Indian Creek Drive, just a few blocks north of The Freehand Miami will offer travelers the chance to experience Miami Beach like a local during their visit. The newly restored Art Deco building will come equipped with 71 classics rooms, studio residences, most with kitchenettes, Lobby Bar, Patio Garden and Pool Area.
The property will also feature Greenbrier Swim & Social, a lobby lounge, cocktail bar, front patio and outdoor pool area serving an all-day food and drinks menu. Hotel guests will also have access to the Palihouse Miami Beach Beach Club and waterway boat dock.
Mr. C Coconut Grove (Opening: Spring 2019)
Mr. C Coconut Grove is situated in the heart of one of Miami’s most notable neighborhoods and is set to provide guests with unmatched views of Biscayne Bay and the Coconut Grove skyline. The C is for Cipriani, the family behind the famed eponymous fine dining Italian restaurants.
In addition to its 100 guestrooms and suites with private outdoor terraces, Mr. C Coconut Grove also features the Bellini Restaurant and Bar, on the hotel’s top floor. The restaurant boasts a refreshing new Italian dining concept inspired by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani’s travels throughout Italy, and offers indoor and outdoor seating that exudes the intimate old-world atmosphere of coastal Italy while embracing a sleek and soothing Miami modern style.
For corporate meetings and social events, Mr. C Coconut Grove offers guests a top floor ballroom with panoramic views of the Biscayne Bay. The space can accommodate a seated dinner for approximately 150 guests and cocktail reception for 300 guests, with an additional pre-function space. A covered event space is also available in the hotel’s ground floor for up to 720 guests.
Other property amenities include a rooftop pool and pool deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, state-of-the-art gym equipment with personal trainer and yoga classes available upon request, a Lobby Lounge with indoor and outdoor garden seating, and a private spa suite with a relaxation area, sauna and treatment room which can be reserved through the concierge team.
Lifehouse South Beach (Opening: June 2019)
Following the opening of its first hotel, Life House, Little Havana in Miami beginning of 2019, their second hotel, Lifehouse South Beach is scheduled to welcome travelers from mid-June 2019. Located in the South of Fifth neighborhood, steps from the ocean and far enough away from the noise of South Beach tourists, the hotel’s guestrooms will offer a light and airy beach retreat, and with coastal details such as whitewashed wood plank walls and ceilings. Each room will have a uniquely playful layer of art, color and texture that brings to mind the bedroom of an artist. Each room features Le Labo toiletries for a refreshingly comfortable home away from home.
Selina Hotel Little Havana (Opening: June 30, 2019)
Bringing to life the iconic Tower Hotel which had been left dormant for many years, Selina Little Havana is currently being designed in collaboration with local Miami artists and designers. Featuring 62 rooms, ranging from US$20+ per night dorm-style rooms to luxurious US$300+ per night private suites, the property’s handcrafted furniture and original art will be inspired by the Miami culture.
Selina Miami offers an oasis in this busy city for community and self-care. With workshops, weekly BBQs, and outdoor music concerts, this Selina destination is at the heart of the emerging Miami River scene. Stop by for flavorful Latin cuisine and culinary collaborations with Casa Florida. Dive into Miami’s blossoming wellness and underground art scenes. Foodies and culture vultures will love this lush paradise inside a hidden Florida Key-meets-Tulum gem.
AxelBeach Miami (Opening: Summer 2019)
The Spanish LGBTQ hotel brand is opening its Miami Beach home in 2019. Adding to the destinations ever-growing list of LGBTQ-friendly hotels, restaurants, spas and experiences, AxelBeach Miami is less than a three-minute walk to the beach, close to Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive and will offer 159 rooms, a spa, restaurant and sky bar terrace with swimming pool.
Lennox Hotel Miami Beach (Opening: Summer 2019)
Located in what was once the Peter Miller Hotel, built in 1936 and at the heart of the area’s Historic District, Lennox Hotel Miami Beach will be an intimate, bold luxury boutique property offering stylish and sophisticated accommodations and an authentic Miami experience.
The historic structure was designed by architect Russell Pancoast in 1934. The property has the notable distinction of being among the 300 Miami Beach buildings that were leased by the U.S. Army for the Air Forces Technical Training Command during World War II. The buildings returned to civilian use in 1943 and remained a military property until 1944. The structure is now part of the Historic District.
Travelers will find ultimate comfort in one of 119 contemporary guestrooms, each enhanced by natural elements, handcrafted furnishings from abroad and green and upcycled materials that were meticulously curated by acclaimed Argentinean interior designer Juan Ciavarella.
Greystone Hotel (Opening: Summer 2019)
Located near South Beach’s Collins Park and situated within walking distance to the Miami Beach Convention Center, The Greystone Hotel is a 56,000-square-foot Art Deco hotel inspired by Miami’s Golden Era. A VOS Hospitality property, this upscale, 92-room boutique hotel features a five-story tower, rooftop swimming pool and bar, 140-seat restaurant and a subterranean speakeasy lounge, all designed by Shulman + Associates.
Originally built in 1936, the hotel recently completed a spectacular $65 million restoration. Located Across the Street from the Beach in the Entertainment Epicenter of Miami Beach, the hotel is just 2 blocks away from the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Wyndham Hotel in Brickell (Opening: Late 2019)
Wyndham Hotels will open a 445-room dual-branded concept in the heart of the Financial District, operating a Wyndham Grand and TRYP by Wyndham under the same roof. Owned by Brazilian developer Galwan and designed by award-winning firm Aquitechtonica, the agreement comprises 445 guest rooms in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighborhood. The hotel, expected to open in late 2019, is the first U.S. development for Galwan, one of the largest residential and hotel developers in Brazil.
The 41-story hotel will offer 200 rooms under Wyndham Grand and 245 rooms under TRYP by Wyndham, including the brand’s signature family rooms with extra space and bunk beds for kids. The hotels share a lobby and lounge space on the first floor, an eight-story parking garage, a pool deck, a fitness center and 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space including a library, boardroom and flexible event spaces. The hotel’s rooftop will feature a three-meal restaurant and bar inspired by the TRYP brand’s Mediterranean roots.
Thompson South Beach (Opening: 2020)
Before acquired by Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Two Roads Hospitality announced the development of its newest property in Miami Beach, Florida, as part of the Thompson Hotels brand. Thompson South Beach will compliment group’s Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami .
Projected to open in 2020, Thompson South Beach will be conceptualized by famed French architect Rudy Ricciotti. The hotel will include 150 generously-sized guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a rooftop pool, restaurant and bar with breathtaking views of the surrounding city, the New World Symphony’s renowned WALLCAST®, and the Atlantic Ocean. The ground-level and rooftop restaurants and bars will appeal to locals and guests alike, featuring seasonally-inspired plates and robust cocktail programs. The property will also boast elevated meeting space for intimate social functions and corporate meetings in the heart of the city.

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Diverse Ipswich: Celebrating town’s international food, festivals and music | What’s on and things to do in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 11:52 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 11 April 2019 Manik Miah, owner of The Maharani in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Archant In the final part of our series on multicultural Ipswich, we take a look at some of the international restaurants, festivals and musicians that the town is now home to.
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Mr Miah has been working in the town for almost 30 years Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
“Everyone here in Ipswich knows me,” says Manik Miah, owner of the town’s Maharani restaurant. “My customers are my friends.”
Restaurateur Mr Miah prides himself on his hospitality almost as much as his award-winning cuisine and believes it has helped him and his business become part of the fabric of the town.
Today, the Maharani in Norwich Road is one of dozens of international restaurants Ipswich has to offer, including Turkish, Japanese, Moroccan, Portuguese and more. Just this month, a new Jamaican restaurant announced it was opening in Upper Orwell Street. All but one of the town’s top-ten rated restaurants on TripAdvisor now specialise in cuisines other than British.
However, when Mr Miah first opened the Maharani, almost 30 years ago, the town’s culinary offer was far less diverse.
“People used to say chicken Tika Masala was the national dish,” he said.
“They used to come for curry, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – every day. Mr pictured at the Maharani restaurant’s 25th anniversary celebrations, with Barbara Quinton and Bill Quinton, David Ellesmere and Carole Jones Picture: CONTRIBUTED
“Since then, there have been different cultures and different nationalities coming to the town.
“Whereas people mainly used to know only Indian or Chinese, now they can have tastes of many different cuisines.
“It’s very good for the town.”
Originally from Bangladesh, Mr Miah came to Ipswich after running restaurants in London and Bungay. Ever since his arrival in the early ‘90s, he said Ipswich had made him feel “very welcome”. “I think it’s a very nice place,” he added. “Wherever you go, you get one or two bad people, but Ipswich is very nice, there’s very little racism. People try to help other communities, I’ve not found any problems here.”
Mr Miah says he believes sharing cultures, such as through food, can help build stronger intercultural communities. But he also believes it is important for newcomers to integrate by involving themselves in the community, something he has sought to do by hosting charity nights and supporting different organisations in the town.
He now considers himself to be a respected member of the local community and takes great pride showing his wall of photographs featuring well known Ipswich figures among his customers, as well as a number of celebrities from out of town. Other international restaurants include Ararat, which serves Turkish cuisine Picture: LUCY TAYLOR
He acknowledges, however, that there have been challenges for newer arrivals, particularly in the area around Norwich Road, where his restaurant is based.
“I’ve noticed that some English people are not happy to see the new arrivals hanging around outside,” Mr Miah said.
“They don’t know about the culture here, they’re not used to it and they’ve still got to learn.
“But I’m still proud to be serving in Norwich Road, proud of the different cultures and cuisines.”
Despite some of the negativity around Norwich Road, many of the restaurants based in that area feature among the town’s best rated on review sites such as TripAdvisor.
Ararat Turkish restaurant scores highly, with praise for its “friendly staff, warm, welcoming and peaceful atmosphere” as well as its “wonderful choice of cuisine”. One reviewer described it as an “asset to Ipswich” and a “credit to our community”. Japanese restaurant Takayama is Ipswich’s top-rated on TripAdvisor. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
The nearby O Patio Portuguese cafe in nearby St Matthew’s Street, also scores highly, with one reviewer describing it as a “real gem” for Ipswich.
Across the town as a whole, international restaurants are among the best-rated, indicating a growing taste for more exotic cuisines among the population and its visitors.
The number one rated is Fore Street’s Takayama which serves Korean and Japanese cuisine and has won praise for its “fantastic” food and “excellent” service.
Others in the top ten include Biryani Hut which serves Indian cuisine in Princes Street; 92 Noodle Bar, which is the town’s best rated Chinese restaurant, the Ottoman, which serves mainly Middle Eastern dishes and Casablanca, which specialises in Moroccan and Lebanese food.
Amanda Bond of Visit Suffolk, said Ipswich’s increasingly multicultural restaurant offering was an important part of its tourism offer. “The diverse food offering of any given destination helps visitors to enjoy a more rounded experience,” she said. “The culinary offering in Ipswich is exceptional, with flavours from around the world, positioning the county town, and Suffolk, as a truly global experience. And what’s more, the more experimental or diverse we become, the more visitors will site this as one of the main attraction for visiting the county.” Mint tea at Casablanca Restaurant in Ipswich Picture: SU ANDERSON
How town’s tastes became more exotic as diversity grew
“Everyone here in Ipswich knows me,” says Manik Miah, owner of the town’s Maharani restaurant. “My customers are my friends.”
Restaurateur Mr Miah prides himself on his hospitality almost as much as his award-winning cuisine and believes it has helped him and his business become part of the fabric of the town.
Today, the Maharani in Norwich Road is one of dozens of international restaurants Ipswich has to offer, including Turkish, Japanese, Moroccan, Portuguese and more. Just this month, a new Jamaican restaurant announced it was opening in Upper Orwell street. All but one of the town’s top-ten rated restaurants on TripAdvisor now specialise in cuisines other than British.
However, when Mr Miah first opened the Maharani, almost 30 years ago, the town’s culinary offer was far less diverse. Colourful scenes from the 2018 One Big Multicultural Festival at Alexandra Park Picture: RACHEL EDGE
“People used to say chicken Tika Masala was the national dish,” he said.
“They used to come for curry, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – every day.
“Since then, there have been different cultures and different nationalities coming to the town.
“Whereas people mainly used to know only Indian or Chinese, now they can have tastes of many different cuisines.
“It’s very good for the town.”
Originally from Bangladesh, Mr Miah came to Ipswich after running restaurants in London and Bungay. Ever since his arrival in the early ‘90s, he said Ipswich had made him feel “very welcome”. “I think it’s a very nice place,” he added. “Wherever you go, you get one or two bad people, but Ipswich is very nice, there’s very little racism. People try to help other communities, I’ve not found any problems here.”
Mr Miah says he believes sharing cultures, such as through food, can help build stronger intercultural communities. But he also believes it is important for newcomers to integrate by involving themselves in the community, something he has sought to do by hosting charity nights and supporting different organisations in the town.
He now considers himself to be a respected member of the local community and takes great pride showing his wall of photographs featuring well known Ipswich figures among his customers, as well as a number of celebrities from out of town.
He acknowledges, however, that there have been challenges for newer arrivals, particularly in the area around Norwich Road, where his restaurant is based.
“I’ve noticed that some English people are not happy to see the new arrivals hanging around outside,” Mr Miah said.
“They don’t know about the culture here, they’re not used to it and they’ve still got to learn.
“But I’m still proud to be serving in Norwich Road, proud of the different cultures and cuisines.” Ray Bailey having lots of fun at the Holi festival Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Despite some of the negativity around Norwich Road, many of the restaurants based in that area feature among the town’s best rated on review sites such as TripAdvisor.
Ararat Turkish restaurant scores highly, with praise for its “friendly staff, warm, welcoming and peaceful atmosphere” as well as its “wonderful choice of cuisine”. One reviewer described it as an “asset to Ipswich” and a “credit to our community”.
The nearby O Patio Portuguese cafe in nearby St Matthew’s Street, also scores highly, with one reviewer describing it as a “real gem” for Ipswich.
Across the town as a whole, international restaurants are among the best-rated, indicating a growing taste for more exotic cuisines among the population and its visitors.
The number one rated is Fore Street’s Takayama which serves Korean and Japanese cuisine and has won praise for its “fantastic” food and “excellent” service.
Others in the top ten include Biryani Hut which serves Indian cuisine in Princes Street; 92 Noodle Bar, which is the town’s best rated Chinese restaurant, the Ottoman, which serves mainly Middle Eastern dishes and Casablanca, which specialises in Moroccan and Lebanese food. Anj Arasaratnam and Vitor Barbosa at the Holi Festival Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Amanda Bond of Visit Suffolk, said Ipswich’s increasingly multicultural restaurant offering was an important part of its tourism offer. “The diverse food offering of any given destination helps visitors to enjoy a more rounded experience,” she said. “The culinary offering in Ipswich is exceptional, with flavours from around the world, positioning the county town, and Suffolk, as a truly global experience. And what’s more, the more experimental or diverse we become, the more visitors will site this as one of the main attraction for visiting the county.”
Multicultural events
Organisers of multicultural festivals in Ipswich say they “break down barriers and bringing people together”.
Ipswich hosts an ever growing array of festivals celebrating diversity and international cultures. Mark Record, Riaz Darwin Boyd and Shelly Darwin at the recent Holi Festival Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
One of its largest and longest running, the One Big Multicultural Festival, which takes place in Alexandra Park, has attracted crowds of more than 8,000.
Organiser Shayra Begum said the festival had gone from strength to strength.
“It’s all about breaking down barriers and bringing people together,” she said.
“What’s special about this event is that it doesn’t promote one culture above any other, it’s celebrates all cultures equally. It’s really amazing to see all of the different people together enjoying the food and music.”
Other international events include the Pita Festival, which celebrates Bangaldeshi food; Global Rhythms, which celebrates music from around the world and Holi, the Hindi festival of colour. Global Rhythm at Christchurch Park features live music, art and food from across the world Picture: CONTRIBUTED
International musicians
Ipswich’s growing diversity has led to its involvement in a unique musical project.
Ipswich Community Media recently hosted a variety of global musicians, now living on the town, to perform at its South Street Studios as part of a British Library funded scheme to document international performers for a national archive.
Organised by Phill Minns, of Best Foot Music in Brighton, the project has collated recordings of community musicians from diverse backgrounds.
Those performing in Ipswich included a Zimbabwean marimba player, Syrian singers and an Eritrean performing with a self-built instrument. Global musicians performed for an Ipswich Community Media recording session Picture: SPIRIT OF SUFFOLK
ICM’s Cad Taylor said it was an “extraordinary project”. “It’s all about celebrating the fact that right here in the town, and in the county, we have musicians who have brought this incredible cultural diversity through music and yet sometimes we don’t always get to hear it,” she added.

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The world’s most expensive countries and their cheaper alternatives

The world’s most expensive countries and their cheaper alternatives Kevin Brouillard Slovenia: A fraction of the cost of Switzerland. Photo: Shutterstock Share on twitter
The saying “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply when it comes to travelling the globe. Sure, many bucket list destinations are worth their eye-popping price tags, but there are plenty of affordable – and arguably cooler – alternatives to these well-trodden, budget-busting destinations. Below, we listed the most expensive countries in the world and offered an alternative where you can save or stretch your dollars. 1. SKIP SWITZERLAND AND VISIT SLOVENIA
Famous for its alpine skiing and storybook villages, Switzerland is a far cry from a budget-friendly destination. Midrange and upscale hotel rooms cost between $280 and $700, with cities like Zurich and Geneva on the higher end. Lift day passes hover between $55 and $100, depending on location, and apres-ski activities and dinner are often much steeper.
Instead, hop over northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where hotels, ski passes and delectable cuisine can be had for a fraction of the cost. Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is home to a vibrant array of cultural attractions. Come summer, bustling cafes overflow into the cobblestoned streets, while Christmas market stalls line the riverside during winter. Ljubljana is one of central Europe’s most affordable capitals, with plenty of midrange options well under $140.
To the northwest, Lake Bled rivals the tranquility of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne. Stunning views over the emerald water can be had from Bled Castle. The short, but steep, hike is well worth the effort to admire the nearby Julian Alps and explore the castle walls, museum, and medieval frescos. Just to the west, Triglav National Park encompasses much of Slovenia’s alpine terrain, including extensive hiking trails and the country’s premier ski resorts. Day passes for the chairlift can usually be had for under $40 at the current exchange rate. Though these mountains can be easily reached in two to three hours from Ljubljana, consider hitting the slopes at Krvavec, if you’re short on time. The mountain includes 18 miles of ski runs and is a mere six miles from the capital.
Slovenia hotel pick: City Hotel Ljubljana 2. SKIP SINGAPORE AND VISIT MALAYSIA
Delicious food available in Penang. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
Singapore offers a dynamic mix of cultures in an extraordinarily modern setting. Unless you’re booking a hostel or an out-of-the-way guesthouse, expect to dish out between $200 and $400 for midrange and boutique properties. A lively street food scene keeps dining costs down, but a night on the town can be costly compared to nearby cities, such as Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh. You will now receive updates from Traveller Newsletter Traveller Newsletter
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Separated by the narrow Johore Strait, neighbouring Malaysia is an often-overlooked destination with a capital that rivals Singapore’s multiculturalism and modernity without the hefty price tag. Comfortable accommodations can be had for $70 to $100, while $100 or more will fetch a plush room with a view of the Petronas Towers. Kuala Lumpur has emerged from its humble origins as a remote tin-mining community. Today, mosque minarets and colonial buildings mix with skyscrapers and monorail tracks. The city maintains its blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences, which is very apparent in its assortment of street-side cuisine, architecture and art museums. Outside the city, Malaysia’s landscape unfolds into hillside tea plantations, lush jungle and beautiful beaches. To the north, the temperate Cameron Highlands make for a perfect escape from the city, if you wish to rejuvenate on locally grown tea and leisurely hikes. Off the western coast, George Town on Penang island boasts vibrant street art and cozy cafes housed in a labyrinth of colonial-era buildings. Wildlife and nature enthusiasts should head to Malaysian Borneo to spot wild orangutans and elephants, go scuba diving, and trek through dense rainforest. Malaysia’s tallest mountain – Mount Kinabalu – is located here and can be summited in a demanding two days.
Malaysia hotel pick: Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur Advertisement 3. SKIP JAPAN AND VISIT TAIWAN
Shilin Night Market, Taiwan. Photo: Shutterstock
East Asia’s most expensive destination sits atop many travel bucket lists. Japan’s popularity is well-warranted, thanks to its blend of traditional and modern culture, renowned and innovative cuisine, stunning mountain scenery, and exceptionally easy transportation. However, it’s far from budget-friendly. Midrange hotels will set you back $250 or more, while luxury accommodations can exceed $1,000 per night. The famed train system may be convenient, but a one-way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto costs around $170.
Farther south, the compact island of Taiwan delivers comparable attractions – a buzzing, modern capital, an excellent food scene and striking natural beauty – all for a fraction of the cost. Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, may lack the glitz of Tokyo on the surface, but dive a bit deeper and discover dozens of night markets, world-class museums, grand monuments, and a lively LGBTQ nightlife scene. For starters, head to Shilin Night Market to dine like the locals. This massive indoor food court houses over 500 stalls and draws thousands to feast on oyster omelets, dim sum and stinky tofu. Heading south from Taipei, the island is divided by imposing mountains, making it difficult to cross from the populated western coast to the rugged, eastern shorelines. On the east side, Taroko National Park attracts visitors with its deep gorge formed by the rushing Liwu River. A network of trails leads up into the high mountains, across suspension bridges, and past gushing waterfalls. On the west coast, urban centres, such as Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung offer a wide array of lesser-known regional delicacies, temples, botanical gardens and more.
Taiwan hotel pick: Palais de Chine Hotel 4. SKIP THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AND VISIT OMAN
Luxury in the desert in Oman.
The United Arab Emirates has become an increasingly popular destination, especially futuristic Dubai and cosmopolitan Abu Dhabi. Though these cities possess unique attractions, such as the Louvre, elite private island enclaves and the towering Burj Khalifa, they are incredibly expensive. Dubai’s most budget-friendly hotels hover between $200 and $300, while luxury options creep above $600 a night.
Meanwhile, farther east on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s understated capital and extraordinary landscapes can be explored without breaking the bank. Muscat, Oman’s capital, operates on a slow pace, which stands in stark contrast to the style and glamour of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. That being said, Muscat’s streets, forts and mosques are immaculately maintained. Climb the steps up Mutrah Fort, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the harbor and corniche. The corniche is ideal for walking and people-watching from the outdoor cafes. The adjacent Mutrah Souq adds to the bustle, with hundreds of vendors selling traditional handicrafts, local cuisine, spices, and more. Muscat is the most expensive part of Oman, but midrange hotels can still be found for under $100 per night.
Oman’s splendour resides in its remote corners, which encompass seemingly endless sand dunes, dramatic coastlines, high mountains, and deep canyons. These canyons, known as wadis in Arabic, are the collecting point for Oman’s limited rainfall. Millennia of erosion have created striking rock formations and winding channels in the sandstone. Several of these wadis, such as Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid, serve as refreshing swimming holes from the intense desert heat. Be sure to go to the end of Wadi Shab, where you’ll swim 40 feet through a narrow gap in the rock face to the reach the waterfall and cavern behind. It’s advisable to rent your own wheels to visit Oman’s interior. The Jebel Sham mountain range, known as the “Grand Canyon of Arabia,” features excellent hiking trails and abandoned stone villages. A car will also come in handy for traversing the dunes at Wahiba Sands, which can reach as high as 300 feet. The local Bani Wahiba tribe operates a handful of camping and glamping-style accommodations.
Oman hotel pick: Juweira Boutique Hotel 5. SKIP THE MALDIVES AND VISIT MAURITIUS
There are plenty of beaches and lagoons to enjoy tranquility in Mauritius.
Scattered across thousands of islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is undeniably a gorgeous destination. Most resorts occupy their own private islands, with luxury cabanas dotting the white-sand beaches or stilted above the tantalizing blue water. There has been a slight shift in affordability now that locals are permitted to build and operate their own accommodations. However, the Maldives’ remoteness requires that the majority of food and supplies be imported, keeping prices high. Furthermore, luxury still reigns supreme here, with boutique properties still charging around $250 per night and luxury prices soaring into the thousands.
The Indian Ocean has no shortage of idyllic islands, so stretch your travel budget further and head to Mauritius instead. Though you won’t have the island to yourself, there are plenty of beaches and lagoons to enjoy in tranquility. Most beachfront hotels offer a variety of water-centric activities, such as kayaking, submarine safaris, glass-bottom boat trips and snorkeling. Mauritius is surrounded by barrier reefs, providing calm water and excellent diving opportunities. It’s worth heading off your property to explore the island’s 100 miles of beaches and mingle with the locals. Flic en Flac and Grand Baie are ideal choices for swimming and water sports.
On the island’s southern end, Le Morne’s public beach is perfect for beachcombing, watching kitesurfers and admiring the Le Morne Brabant mountain. If you can manage to pull yourself away from the beach, Black River Gorges National Park is a worthwhile day trip. Here, you can splash under waterfalls and enjoy shaded hikes through dense forest. Be sure to keep an eye out for the elusive flying fox. Mauritius isn’t exactly cheap, but all-inclusive resorts can be booked for around $250 per night, which is a huge value compared to the Maldives.
Mauritius Hotel Pick: Tropical Attitude
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Who Owns Asian Food?

April 10, 2019 by James Norton From left to right, moderator Andrea Nguyen, and panelists Raghavan Iyer, Ann Ahmed, Hai Truong and Yia Vang // Photo by Ariana Lindquist “When you realize a life was given so you could have life, it changes the way you live. It also changes the way you cook.” – Yia Vang, at the April 8, 2019 Lynhall panel discussion “Insiders or Outsiders: Who Owns Asian Food?”
T he challenges of cooking Asian food in America defined a conversation about food Monday night at the Lynhall in Minneapolis. Panelists including Raghavan Iyer ( Pizza Karma ), Hai Truong ( Ngon Bistro ), Ann Ahmed ( Lat14 ) and Yia Vang ( Union Kitchen ) dove into questions of race, food, immigration, culinary appropriation, and the knotted mess that is the word “authentic.”
The discussion was moderated by Bay Area–based writer and author Andrea Nguyen, who did a post-panel signing of her new book, “ Vietnamese Food Any Day .”
The discussion about the evolving profile of Asian and Asian-American cuisine is something that The Growler is committed to covering—see our Future of Food dinner featuring Ann Ahmed, our review of Lucky Cricket , our Minnesota Spoon profile of Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai and our profile of John Ng of Zen Box, our review of Raghavan Iyer’s restaurant Pizza Karma , and our profile of Yia Vang for more context and powerful stories of food, family, and identity. This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
ANDREA NGUYEN: I’ve had the great fortune of working with the Splendid Table over the years during my career, and they introduced me to Anne [Spaeth]. We started talking about doing something at The Lynhall and she described this as a community space.
And then she said, ‘What do you think about that Lucky Cricket thing?’ Most of you are food people, and so you’re aware of the debates that went on about authenticity with regard to Lucky Cricket. Lee Dean of the Star Tribune and I had the great fortune of dining there this afternoon for lunch, and what I really thought was so weird about the discussion about Lucky Cricket was: Where were all the Asian people? You’ve got a lot of them here, and Minnesota has developed over time to reflect a lot of the demographic changes that have happened.
With that in mind, I said: ‘Hey Anne, let’s bring some Asian chefs and restaurateurs to the Lynhall and let’s have a discussion: Insiders or Outsiders, Who Owns Asian Food? I don’t want to spend time talking about Lucky Cricket that much. I don’t want to focus on that restaurant, I don’t want to focus on Andrew Zimmern, I want to focus on other people you’ve had in your community for years and let them speak and have honest conversations.
[Nguyen then explained that she would be introducing the panelists by reading from a negative crowdsourced review of each of their restaurants.]
NGUYEN: I want to start out with Hai Truong, he owns a wonderful restaurant, Ngon Bistro. It’s a modern Vietnamese restaurant. And here is the Yelp review: I visited this place for lunch. There are many Vietnamese establishments in the Twin Cities area. Unfortunately, this place isn’t one of the more authentic Vietnamese places.
Ngon doesn’t do anything revolutionary with Vietnamese cuisine, although it does taste alright. I’m not saying the food is bad, it just cannot be seen as a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. This can be seen in the portion sizes, which are very small for the charged prices, as well as their clearly Western influence (I think I remember some sort of burger option on the menu, which does not belong in an authentic Vietnamese place’s menu). Most authentic Vietnamese places usually give a very generous amount of food for their price. Maybe this place was going for a fancy Western take on Vietnamese (as there are some French influences from when Vietnam was ruled as a French colony), but even then there is not too much to get excited about when ordering.
If you are perhaps new and cautious about trying traditional Vietnamese flavors, maybe this place would be better for you so you could segue into real Vietnamese. However, because the Twin Cities is filled with so many quality Vietnamese spots, I’d suggest finding another location.
HAI TRUONG: That actually kind of sounds like my mom wrote it.
We’ll be eating at [my mom’s] friend’s place, and she’ll be like: ‘Oh. She could have done this better.’ A lot of times, for me it’s like a big mistake asking, ‘How was it?’ She’ll be like: ‘Mm.’ [shrugs]
Can’t you say a good thing? It’s your friend.
As far as the Yelp review, it’s actually one of the most common things that we get. For us, it’s either you love us or you hate us. I don’t really have a problem with that. I feel like I would be doing something wrong if I was just all right all of the time.
The portion size and cost being authentic—I think that’s where we kind of tap into, what does that meal cost you, and who is being hurt by that? Oh yeah, that’s not big enough, that should be this cheap. The pho is supposed to cost $7, mine is $13–14. We use organic, sustainable, local [ingredients]—everything is going to cost more. That’s reflected.
We have a full staff. My parents owned Caravelle Restaurant , so I grew up in the industry. My parents worked, brought us up, put us through college—I went back to the restaurant industry. With that, I know what it takes to work every day. I wanted to be in the industry, but I didn’t want to do that—how do you have a sustainable ethnic restaurant? Where the question is: What makes it ethnic, or authentic, comes into play. Hai Truong, left // Photo by Becca Dilley
Where does the food come from? What are the costs that come into play if it comes from a [local] farm? Labor costs, are you paying a fair wage? I talked a little bit about this to everyone else, the dirty little secret of what gets you your cheap food—are people being paid fairly? To expect things like that, to expect these costs, to expect these portions—someone is losing on this whole thing. And that’s where it hurts the community. A lot of these reviews I get are from the Asian community, on portion size. That perpetuates people not being able to spend time with their family, being there to work constantly for your cheap, large-portioned food, and I think that’s something that really needs to be talked about for traditional, authentic food.
With this review, there are certain things—we all love food here. What we love inspires us to create. When we first started we were Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, and I just sort of took out the ‘Vietnamese’ part and we became Ngon Bistro. I live in a vibrant community. There are lots of things that inspire me. And I travel. I don’t want to limit the things that inspire me—I want to push beyond. We are a modern Vietnamese restaurant—I say it’s French-Vietnamese with a Midwest pantry.
This is what I have to work with, this is what I have to create with. I work with farmers, I work with things within season. Is this ingredient Vietnamese? No, but I’m going to take the spices and the flavors I grew up with and infuse that in there, but also what gets inspired… just like the burger comment. I did make a burger! It was fun. I really wanted a Big Mac. This was a while ago, I made it, I made the special sauce, I came up with my own hot sauce, named after my son called Wrath of Khanh.
Then the Twin Cities Burger Battle started contacting us and we did three years of the Burger Battle for fun. One year it was that, the other year I was like: ‘How can I infuse pho into a burger?’ So I made a pho burger. I took the noodles and fried them, I took the basil and lime and made an aioli with green onions and cilantro—I tried to infuse the flavors in a burger. There are things like that—is it authentic? No. Are the flavors good? I enjoy it, lots of people enjoy it. For me, if you go to a place and say, ‘Is this authentic?’ or you question the portion size, I’d say approach with an open mind, and ‘Is this good? Did you enjoy this?’
NGUYEN: We have a lot of discussions about authenticity, and it’s such a messy, dirty word. I used to write for a magazine called Saveur, and the tagline had ‘authenticity’ in it, and we’d go ‘Ooh, how do we define that?’ One of things…
RAGHAVAN IYER: How about the word ‘delicious?’
NGUYEN: Right! Right! We use it all the time, but how do we define authenticity? One of the things that Hai does, is he’s also making this modern food, but if you go to Vietnam, you see it! People are playing all the time. When I researched my pho cookbook, there were pho cocktails in Hanoi.
TRUONG: We did one. We did a Hot Toddy with pho broth.
NGUYEN: Yeah! So I went home and there’s a pho michelada in the book. So I think sometimes with authenticity, when we think about it, we think about it as being a fixed thing, but it’s moving. So I’d like to move on to Ann Ahmed, who owns Lemongrass as well as Lat14. Her [TripAdvisor] review goes like this: I experienced a disconnect at Lat14. The concept is somewhat interesting: exploring the food of Asian countries along the 14th parallel, including Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Cambodia.
Judging by the layout and decor, Lat14 is clearly positioned as an upscale Asian fusion dining experience, and the prices reflect it. The problem is that pricey menu items are just humble offerings found on the street in these Asian countries.
Was it good? Yes, what we ordered was OK. Was it as good as the same dish bought on the street? Not in my experience. Was it a value? No. What makes street food good is not just the taste, but the simplicity and straight-forward nature of the dining experience. Gussying up street food in an upscale environment is, to me, a disconnect. Not impressed.
ANN AHMED: When I thought about this, one of the things is—I can’t really blame this guy, he takes a trip, he’s on the streets of Asia, and he has these wonderful memories. It’s something he remembers. But when I think of my upbringing, my childhood, we’ve been here for more than 30 years. And my mom has always been in the restaurant business. I blame her for that. She works these long days, and she’s making all this food, and I feel bad and say: ‘Mom, what can I help you with?’ just to get things done. And she puts it on the menu for $2. I’m like: ‘You made me do that for 12 hours and you’re charging two bucks?’ There is a labor in it.
When you think about it, it’s fresh ingredients. We never took shortcuts—it’s still fresh papaya. Is there an option of getting frozen papayas? Would that make it cheaper? I’ve seen avocados come out of a bag, but the thing is, with Asian food, when you think about the history of how we got here—it’s a lot of assimilation, a lot of adaptation. Thirty years, people weren’t into Asian food, and that’s why we priced it so low. Just [so] that somebody who’s not within your race will buy it. And then you look at trying to sell it to somebody who’s within your demographics, that’s within your race—they’re in the same struggle you are, they just got here. They probably got a job as a janitor or they probably got a job at the flower factory, plucking plastic flowers into foam. Does that justify you charging a lot?
That’s where the standard came from. So I don’t blame this man for thinking Asian food should be at the cost of street food all the time, just because when we got to the U.S. that was the only way for us to display our food. Because we were trying to fit in. And not only that, my mom doesn’t have a business background. She doesn’t have the business savvy that I do. The sausage platter at Lat14 // Photo by Kevin Kramer
I’m running all these numbers, calculating, ‘Ooh, that portion cut is five cents, you can’t have more than two.’ These are all the things that add up. For her, it was survival mode. She had three jobs, and she’s still going home and cutting pork skin to make nam khao. And yes, nam khao’s on every menu and there are different prices for it. But because this man is in my restaurant and paying $12 when he got it for 50 cents on the streets of Thailand, it’s overpriced and he’s not impressed. You know what? He doesn’t know that the disconnect is within him. Does he know our community and the struggles?
NGUYEN: One of the things Ann hasn’t touched on is that she’s Lao. Nam khao is a Lao dish. But it has become subsumed under the rubric of ‘Thailand.’ So much of the food that we love as Thai food is Lao food. You’re serving Lao food, baby, but you’re couching it as Thai food! Can you tell us more about that?
AHMED: I opened up my first restaurant 14 years ago, it’s in Brooklyn Park, it’s a super hip area! But the thing is—14 years ago, nobody knew what Lao was. If I said Lemongrass Lao Cuisine, everyone’s really going to be popping in, lines out the door? No, that was not the reality. Yeah, I was a little smart—no, I’m not going to put ‘Lao’ on this because it’s never going to work. I’m not going to be able to stay afloat.
So, I saw Lemongrass Thai Cuisine. And people came in, still looking for chow mein and orange chicken … it got them in the door. Once again, it’s about educating. One of the most successful Thai restaurant owners is Andy Ricker, and he’s so successful because he educates. And that’s what we need to continue to do is educate people about our food. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to say, ‘This nam khao really originates in Laos, and much of the population of Northern Thailand are Laotian, they’re Isaan people.’
I was hiding. I was like: ‘I don’t want them to know I’m Lao at this Thai restaurant. I was afraid I was going to fail. My thing is—now, I’m comfortable educating people and I’m comfortable about sharing my story and the audience is ready. They’re ready to learn more about us and about our food. We opened our restaurants because we’re passionate about it and because we wanted to share. It’s something very near and dear and when people write these reviews it’s hard. When I first got my first review for Lemongrass, I shut myself down for a week. I didn’t know what to do. I felt personally attacked, and like I’d failed. And it’s from a complete stranger! That is a lot harder than when it comes from someone I care about, like my mom. She’s real harsh, but these reviews are worse.
Just the other day, my husband decided to delete the Yelp app on his phone because he’s crazy—the first thing he does in the morning is check Yelp to see what kind of reviews we have. And that was not productive. I was like: ‘Dude, we’ve got to get on with my day. We’ve got to get the kids ready. We don’t have time to deal with this man and him being not impressed with us.’ But we do read these because we want to learn from them and we want to be better and take what we can from it.
TRUONG: I did that the first year, just deleted everything. But just to let you know: [it took] five years before people stopped asking for chow mein and sweet and sour pork.
NGUYEN: That brings me to my dear friend Raghavan Iyer. I’ve known him as a fellow cookbook author, teacher, and consultant. He’s always been telling me to come to Minneapolis, and well—here I am, Raghavan! And here you are, going to talk about your latest project, which is Pizza Karma out in Eden Prairie. These are his recipes and his concept and it’s such a wonderful concept for pizzas. So, this is what someone recently wrote, just back in March: Fusion of Indian and Italian food. Modern, clean, very well designed place. Also earth friendly.
My review of this place is comparing this to desi pizzas available in San Francisco Bay Area. So please bear with me.
Ordered the pan seared slices of potato and veggies. super thin pizza. The taste is neither Indian nor Italian. The toppings were very spicy and too sour. The base is not an authentic naan. Naan needs to be soft and crispy, it was none. It not even tasted like the base of thin pizzas I have tried in Europe. I will not call this a naan pizza. Definitely a Tandoori roti pizza. Cheese still needed 1 more minute in oven.
Definitely well tried but needs more work. The garbanzo beans were very well cooked and taste. I will recommend them to create a garbanzo pizza.
Will be back to try the paneer pizza soon.
Hit was the automatic hand washer near the cooler. Takes 12 secs to clean hands.
IYER: Whatever his name is, I would say the first words that come to mind are: ‘Dear F.U…’
It is, in many ways—obviously my background has always been as a teacher, and one of the things I learned early on is to ignore reviewers. If you were sitting there trying to answer every reviewer, you would go crazy. There’s always somebody who hates what you do, and hates your guts—it’s not worth your time to do that.
What it all boils down to is the belief in what you’re doing and the integrity of what you’re doing, and you just keep with it. Like many of the others on this panel, I hate the word ‘authentic,’ I hate the word ‘classic,’ I hate the word ‘spicy,’ because they’re all so misused and misconstrued. I remember talking to somebody—and, of course, Indians are very opinionated and then some—I go to these book signings and have these heated discussions with Indians and one of the guys said, ‘You’re not doing Indian food, you’re doing fusion, and it’s not classic.’ And I said: ‘Sir, can you define what classic means?’ He said, ‘Well, you know, this is what my mother didn’t do…’ And I said: ‘Sir, I ain’t your mother.’
I said: ‘What you find, to me, is a country that’s 6,000 years old and you see every invasion and every foreign power that goes through it has an influence in terms of techniques and ingredients and so on.’ So is it fusion? India has been doing fusion cooking for 6,000 years. You think about potatoes. The latest book I did was all about potatoes. Potatoes didn’t come into India prior to the 16th Century, which also brought at the same time as tomatoes and chilies. So this guy talks about, it was too spicy and as a teacher, I cringe inside. Because to me, ‘spicy’ does not equate to hot. ‘Spicy’ equates to a world of spices. And so oftentimes if I feel very persnickety and bitchy at a restaurant and somebody says ‘How spicy would you like your food?’, I would say: ‘What spices are you using?’
And they would say, ‘We really meant hot,’ and I’d say: ‘Then ask me how hot I would like my food, that is a more appropriate question.’ But it’s very rare I’m bitchy, you know that.
NGUYEN: Very, very rare.
IYER: Here is another example of—I’m sorry, but the customer is not always right. Everybody says the customer is always right. But not really. In this age when everybody has a platform to stand on and spew whatever they want to spew without any knowledge of what they’re talking about—and as an educator of almost 30 years, I always feel the best thing to do is to educate your audience. Whether they are restaurant goers, or your readers, or people who watch you on television, it’s all about education. And so, you know, for somebody to say, ‘You’re not doing Indian food.’ Yeah, hello? Have you looked at the menu? It’s Pizza Karma, there’s not one word that says it’s Indian.
NGUYEN: Explain Desi pizza.
IYER: Desi is a Hindi word which loosely translates to ‘homeboy.’ Desi food is Indian food or Pakistani food or Bangladeshi food. So when they talk about Desi food, I’m the first one to say Pizza Karma is not an Indian restaurant. It was never designed to be an Indian restaurant, it really looked at the concept of pizzas in a very different light.
You look at how a restaurant defines pizza—we’ve got Ann Kim here who has amazing pizza restaurants around town. And her restaurants define them as wood-fired pizzas. You go to Black Sheep and it’s coal-fired pizzas. And I said, over the years, I’ve always realized that nobody has done tandoor-fired pizzas. These are not naan pizzas. The tandoor in one shape or size or form is used as a live fire cooking technique in over 80 percent of the world. But you look at people who want to pigeon-hole you into a category. But I look at this when I wrote the potato cookbook and I was on a 45-city book tour, and reporters said, ‘Wow, we love Indian potato recipes!’ And I said: ‘Well, you’d be disappointed because this book has only two Indian recipes in it.’ The remaining 73 recipes are potato recipes from around the world.
So what I wanted to showcase at this pizza restaurant was the medium of cooking that dough qualifies what that restaurant is all about. It’s all about the pizza, but it’s also all about the global nature of that dish. Pizza Karma’s Pulled Pork Pizza // Photo by Becca Dilley
I wanted to really showcase the true global nature of that cooking instrument. When we opened there were a few people from Shanghai and they looked at it and their eyes lit up and they said: ‘Oh my God, that’s what we have in the streets of Shanghai!’ If you look at that cooking technique, it’s used in 80 percent of the world. But they look at you, they look at your brown skin and the fact that your name is Raghavan Iyer and they look at the fact that you have written four books on Indian food [and they assume] that’s all you know. But it’s the other way around. I have stepped into the world of the European-American market.
I hate the word ‘Asian-American,’ because it’s 48 countries in Asia you’re talking about. I hate the word ‘Mexican-American.’ Everybody is qualified except for European-Americans. So now, on purpose, I always say European-Americans because they too are from a different country. It sets the field on a more equal platform. All of a sudden it’s not like it’s them against us, we’re all ‘us.’
So how do you portray that with food? When it comes to stepping on the other side now, it’s about the integrity of what you’re serving. You believe in good food, you believe in integrity. That’s what you find in Pok Pok in Portland, with Andy Ricker. David Thompson, who did a huge book on Thai cooking. This European guy who lived in Thailand for a long time and did a big tome about Thai food. That to me is—that’s gravitas. Lynne Kasper in the audience—she did an amazing book called “The Splendid Table,” if you’re not familiar with it. But again, these are individuals who spend years of research on something so they have the ability to talk about it with some knowledge and some authenticity. I think this is where the word authentic can come into play. They have credit. They have clout to do it.
I did a book on curries called 660 Curries . So I know a little bit about spices and I know a little bit about Indian food, but I also know a fair bit about working with foods from around the world. So to me, to qualify Pizza Karma as an Indian restaurant that wants to be an Italian restaurant… I had a discussion with a food critic on Twitter—I won’t mention the name, and he said ‘does a naan pizza count as being a pizza?’
He was trying to be cutesy with the word ‘naan.’ So I said answer a question for me: ‘When you take flour, you take a leavening agent, and you take salt, and liquid, and you make a dough out of that and you put it in the oven, and you bake it—that’s a pizza.’ And he goes: ‘Good point.’ The chile-spiked spinach greens // Photo by Becca Dilley
The concept of who owns Asian food—everybody owns it. Who owns Italian food? Everybody owns it. It’s what you do—if you do it well—but don’t sit there criticizing saying, hey, you’re not doing Asian food but I’m going to teach you how to do Asian food because a European-American guy knows how to do Asian food. You can’t put down, and you can’t talk about these phenomenal immigrants who came to the U.S. from these 48 countries and they did food, and yes—Laura Chin is here, whose mother was Leeann Chin, one of the most phenomenal businesswomen … and [Leeann] said, ‘What I serve at my restaurant is not Chinese food.’ She said she gave people what they thought they wanted.
You have to feed the people, but you have to be honest to your food and you have to understand what you’re doing and be okay with that. At the end of the day, can you walk away and have a Teflon coating, and say, you know what, they’re going to express their opinion no matter what it is, but in reality, they don’t understand where things are coming from. If I were to sit there and critique this guy—I could do it in an educational setting, but to do it in a Yelp setting… it is about nobody really owning anything. It is about the globality of it.
NGUYEN: What I’d like to talk to Yia Vang about is his experience in crafting his Hmong cuisine.
There are 66,000 people of Hmong heritage in this area, and they are stateless people, they’re people with no flag. Yet they’re some of the strongest people and bravest people who have lived off the land. I’ve had the great joy of spending time with Hmong farmers in the Central Valley of California when I reported a story there. They were fierce. I asked the man how to prep something in his kitchen and he whipped out a machete. And Yia’s like: ‘That’s right!’ He’s doing something so beautiful, as a young person forging his cuisine here in Minneapolis.
So I wanted to ask him to answer the question—because he’s been spared of Yelp (until soon, I think)—to tell us what you see and what your strategies are for crafting your idea of Hmong food.
YIA VANG: Yeah, uh, if you start out as a pop-up, people can’t locate you so they can’t do Yelp reviews. And if you just keep moving constantly… [audience laughter]
One of the things I always get asked is, ‘What is Hmong food?’, right? It becomes this really awkward eighth grade dance where … ‘Uh, where do I put my hands?’ You try to explain it’s not Thai food, it’s not Vietnamese food, it’s not Laotian food, but it’s kind of like Thai food, it’s kind of like Vietnamese food, it’s kind of like Laotian food. So you end up talking yourself in a circle. I don’t know if we have a Hmong Council somewhere, but even they don’t know what it is.
So over the last four years of what we’ve been doing, my cousin Chris [Her] and I, with some friends we’ve come up with this thing: Hmong food isn’t a type of food, it’s a philosophy of food, it’s a way of thinking about food. When you think about it that way, it frees you. The word ‘Hmong’ is loosely translated to ‘free’ or ‘freedom,’ and a lot of times growing up I would have kids ask me, ‘Hey, like, is it weird that you don’t have a country?’ As a kid, yeah, that was weird. But as I’ve gotten older, in that sense of having freedom, some people might see that as a negative, but I see it as a plus. Freedom means without borders, and I have that chance for creativity. The one thing I’ve learned over the last 30-some years of being alive is that freedom comes at a price, right? That price was my mom and dad.
If you guys are familiar with the history of the Hmong people, the first Hmong people came into the Twin Cities in 1975. It was right after the Vietnam War. The Hmong people were considered hill people—the hill people of Laos. They traveled from all over, they have been traced back to Western China in 2,000 B.C. Our people are agricultural people, so we go where the land is. Eventually, we ended up in the hills of Laos. If you know anything about the terrain of Laos—you don’t have a lot of good seasons in the soil. You only get two seasons and then you have to move to another place. Yia Vang preparing a dish // Photo by Wing Ta
And while this was happening, we drew these kind of connections. We’re a restaurant searching for a home and in a funny way, our people were a group of people searching for a home. So what happened is the U.S. government, the CIA, came in and said: ‘We’re not allowed to have boots on the ground,’ so they found this group of indigenous people in the hills of Laos called the Hmong people and said: ‘Hey, can you be our proxy army?’ My dad would tell stories of U.S. CIA caseworkers and special forces guys who would come in and train them. Their main job was to rescue downed U.S. Air Force pilots. My dad and my brothers at age 12 or 13 joined the fight, as all able-bodied males did. There was a handshake deal that was made, win or lose, whatever happens in this country, you guys have free citizenship in America. America loses the war, pulls out, and leaves the Hmong people behind and the Communist Party came through and just slaughtered our people.
When that happened, the Hmong people needed refuge. Refugee camps were set up in Northern Thailand across the Mekong River. And my mom would tell stories of how the men had to escape—my dad and his friends would spend months in the jungle eating roots of trees to survive and escape to the refugee camps. I heard that story, and when you’re in a refugee camp—I was born in a refugee camp and it wasn’t until I was five that moved here—when I hear all of that, it makes sense to me when my mom said to someone interviewing her, ‘What was it like to come to America to be free? What are your thoughts?’ When my mom said this, and it changed my view of life. She said, talking about her and my dad: ‘We knew when we came to America, our life was over, our life was done. But by coming here, we know that our kids’ lives just only began.’ What they did was they traded their life for mine.
My dad had this potential to be this great man in Laos, a well-respected man in his village—he threw all of that aside to work a job getting paid barely seven bucks an hour cleaning toilets so his kids could have a life. When you realize a life was given so you could have life, it changes the way you live. It also changes the way you cook. It changes the why of how you cook.
I don’t really get annoyed by this ‘authenticity’ stuff… Hmong people will write things on our Facebook pages and tear us a new one about how we’ve sold out, and bastardized our food for our own glory. Let me tell you, there’s no glory in this. [audience laughter] At midnight you’re stuck scrubbing a pot that you don’t know why one of your line cooks burned. You want that glory? Take it.
What we’ve coined at Union Kitchen is that every dish has a narrative. Every dish. Not just a Hmong dish. You follow that narrative long enough and you get to the people behind that dish. It’s not about the food, it’s about the people. We firmly believe food is the catalyst to cultivating great relationships. You want to know the story of my people, of my mom and dad—know our food. My mom made sure there was dinner on the table constantly—every night. And the fear of ‘we don’t have enough money,’ we didn’t have to take on that fear. She protected us and made sure we were always well-fed.
I get to tell that story through a noodle dish we make. It is stupid easy to make that noodle dish, but when I make it, it has so much meaning to me. All I really want to do is share that with people. If you want to look at that and say: ‘That’s not authentic!’ I guess? Sure, not hurting my feelings. But in this noodle dish, there is a deep soul love that comes from my mom. I know that there’ll be young people out-cooking me, and I’m okay with that—they’ll make their lavender foam and do whatever they want, and that’s cool, and they’ll have some fancy show. But you’re not going to tell the story of my parents better than me. Because I lived it. Because I’m still there.
We have this dish called Hill Tribe Chicken—again, stupid easy to make. It’s like chicken over wood fire, you grill it, my mom has this hot sauce, you put the hot sauce on and eat it with sticky rice. It’s pretty easy to make. That dish comes from this idea… I played football in high school. Every Friday night I’d come home from football games. I’d get home maybe 10 or 10:30pm. My parents couldn’t come to my football games because they were working late. But every time I came homethere was always one whole chicken and a pot of fresh rice every Friday night during the football season that was always out there every night. It sounds silly, but when I eat that Hill Tribe Chicken I go back to that. That was my father saying to me: ‘I love you. I love you not because you made this many tackles or you had a great game. I love you because you’re my son.’ So when you realize that… this food, it tells the story of our people. If you take time to listen, you can see the history of our people. The Kaymayan Feast prepared by Yia Vang // Photo by Wing Ta
Our people are what I call a progressive people, a people in progress… because we’re not there yet. When you don’t have a home of your own, or a flag of your own, or an anthem, what do you do? You have your food. And what’s going to help the next generation is passing that food on to the next generation. I’m merely building my layer for the next generation. Because my parents? They built a strong layer, and they got us here to America, where we’re free to explore our dreams. They left everything in their homeland. People always ask us: ‘Do you ever want to go back?’ And my mom’s like, ‘No… this is awesome here!’ My dad’s like: ‘We don’t get shot at!’ But we can do that [go back] with our food.
I really encourage you guys to listen to the food that’s put in front of you, because it tells you stories about the people it comes from. I know that growing up a lot of my white friends would tell the story about a Hmong kid who they’d become friends with, and they’d go over to their house, and their mom fed them whatever. Because that was our language of love, and how we loved each other. Even today, my mom feeds my nieces and nephew, and she doesn’t call them ‘my grandkids,’ she called them ‘my kids.’ The same hand that fed us when we were kids is feeding my nieces and nephew.
Every time we’re over there, my mom says: ‘Hurry up, eat, there’s still something to eat.’ And that’s the same feeling we want people to have when they visit us—here’s a shameless plug—at Sociable Cider Werks where our food trailer is. We want that same feeling when you come over—come learn from my mom and dad’s story.

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Dubai Premium Malls & Virtual Offices Presents Best Iftar Options

Dubai Premium Malls & Virtual Offices Presents Best Iftar Options Get link
Written by News Reporter at Time Out Dubai. Original article can be found at https://www.timeoutdubai.com/news/402157-best-dubai-iftar-options-for-ramadan-2019 . Best Dubai iftar options for Ramadan 2019
Where to break the fast this year – from traditional buffet to set menus.
During Ramadan , iftar is the meal that breaks the fast after sunset each day – and there are hundreds to choose from across the city.
While many offer traditional Middle Eastern buffets, others feature contemporary set menus to be shared with family and friends.
The fast is usually broken with dates and a small drink of water, juice or Arabic coffee. Prayers are then undertaken and iftar is served – usually starting with soup, followed by rice, salads, grilled meats and more.
While many restaurants serve iftar, Emirati families often put on big evening – and you’ll even see tents popping up outside big villas.
As a reminder, the Ramadan 2019 dates are expected to start on Sunday May 5 and go on until Tuesday June 4 – although that’s subject to change because the dates are determined by the sighting of a new moon. Bur Dubai
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding Get a deeper understanding and learn about the history of Ramadan in the UAE by attending this unique experience for tourists and residents alike. The SMCCU sits in the heart of Dubai’s Old Town the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and is a hotspot for learning about Islamic culture. Iftars will run every night from May 8 to June 1 except on Fridays. It begins with Athan (the call to prayer) followed by breaking the fast with your Emirates hosts. You’ll enjoy coffee and dates and watch the hosts pray, before joining them in a delicious Emirati dishes. Asking questions about Ramadan, Islam and UAE cultural traditions is encouraged. Available for private bookings, too. Dhs185 (adults), Dhs90 (ages seven to 11). May 8-Jun 1 (except Fridays), 7pm-9pm. House 26 and House 47, Al Fahidi District (04 353 6666). Business Bay
Bayside Restaurant & Terrace This restaurant overlooking the water is offering a traditional spread of Arabic favourites alongside international fare with a different theme each day. Expect live cooking stations with delicacies from across the globe, with indoor and al fresco seating available. Dhs175 (adults), Dhs100 (kids aged five-12), free (kids under four). Daily, sunset-10.30pm. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, Dubai (04 369 0000).
Kcal Life Restaurants Not quite in the mood for cooking? Try a combo of Ramadan dishes that will be delivered right to your door – soup, mains and side, dessert and a snack for just Dhs65. Kcal focuses on serving healthy, balanced dishes. Starters include veg labneh dip and cucumber, mains include Arabian beef, chicken makloubeh or veg biryani and sweets, which are made with zero sugar or white flour, include salted tahini caramel bars, brownies and oat bar. Dhs65. Delivery: daily from 10am-1am, dine-in sunset-1am. Various locations in Dubai including Business Bay and JLT, kcallife.com . City Walk
Gürkan Şef Take in Turkish favourites at this steakhouse with a selection of kebabs and a four-course set menu on offer for iftar. Dhs149. Daily, 7pm-10pm. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 379 9777).
Walnut Grove This popular family-focused rustic restaurant comes to Dubai direct from South Africa. For iftar, it’s offering a three-course set menu including appetisers, mains and desserts inspired by the red, white and green of the UAE flag. Guests will also get a special gift box. Dhs129. Daily, 7pm-10pm. City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 344 441). Deira
Al Mansour Dhow An iftar with a difference, taking place on the back of a traditional dhow. Enjoy juices, soft drinks and a large spread of Arabic and international favourites while taking in the views of Dubai Creek. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs89 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Daily, 6pm-8pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 205 7033).
Aseelah Traditional iftar buffet putting Emirati dishes front and centre served with juices and soft drinks. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs89 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Daily, sunset-9pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 205 7033).
Fish Market Near the Creek, this restaurant has excellent views and makes fresh seafood a key part of its menu. Each night’s iftar offers a buffet as well juices and soft drinks. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs89 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Daily, sunset-9pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 205 7033).
Glasshouse Brasseries This art deco spot will be decorated specially for Ramadan and will serve up a traditional iftar buffet each evening. Dhs139 (adults), Dhs69.50 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under five). Daily, sunset-10pm. Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 227 1111).
Minato For something a bit different this Ramadan, try the iftar buffet at Japanese restaurant Minato. It will feature some of the restaurant’s signature dishes as well as juices and soft drinks. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs89 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Daily, sunset-9pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 205 7033).
New Season Restaurant Iftar buffet with a wide selection of traditional dishes and delicious salads as well as Asian-inspired mezze and grills. Tea and coffee are also included. Dhs89 (adults). Daily, sunset-10pm. City Seasons, Port Saeed, Deira (04 294 2777).
QE2 Two iftars are on offer at this traditional vessel. At Majlis Al Malika, a buffet will showcase the very best in Arabian gastronomy, while at Majlis Al Mulook guests can expect live stations, grills, salads, mezze and an English roast carvery. Dhs195 (adults), Dhs97.50 (kids aged five-12), free (kids under four).Majlis Al Malika: Daily, sunset-9pm.Majlis Al Mulook: Daily, sunset-11pm. QE2, Port Rashid, Deira (04 526 8888).
Shabestan A Persian restaurant with traditional flavours and music. Expect a buffet of traditional dishes and the restaurant’s signature classics along with juices and soft drinks. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs89 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Daily, sunset-9pm. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek, Deira (04 205 7033). DIFC
Fogo de Chão Offering a different take on typical Arabic cuisine, Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão’s nightly iftar is a must for meat-lovers. Running from sunset to 9pm, diners can mix both traditional Arabic favourites with South American specialty cuts such as alcatra (centre sirloin), cupim, fraldinha (bottom sirloin, leg of lamb and marinated chicken all served tableside by gaucho chefs. Finish with a selection of homemade desserts and wash down with iftar beverages. Dhs199. Daily, sunset-9pm. Central Park Towers, DIFC (050 616 5415). Downtown Dubai
Angelina Café & Tearoom This Parisian-style café is creating a special four-course set menu combing French and Middle Eastern flavours. You can work your way through soups, salads, mains of steak, saffron risotto and sea bass or ratatouille and desserts, alongside aromatic Ramadan special juices in Angelina’s elegant setting. Its location in The Dubai Mall means this will be a popular spot throughout Ramadan. Prices vary. Daily, sunset-2am. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 449 2112).
Bab Al Mansour Iftar buffet inspired by the regions of Morocco, with live calligraphy displays each evening. Dhs220 (adults), Dhs110 (kids aged six-12). Daily, sunset-2am. Loft East, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 350 9440).
BiCE Mare Another great spot for those seeking a family-friendly iftar with Dubai Fountain views, BiCE Mare’s La Famiglia menu reinvents Italian fine dining. Expect four courses, including Mediterranean favourites such as gnocchi, meatballs and slow-roasted lamb shank, plus a selection of Italian mini cakes. Dhs195. Daily, sunset-11pm. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 423 0982).
Burger & Lobster This well-known international chain will cater for fans of shellfish, burgers or both. The five-course menu will include soup, the classic cheeseburger, mini prawn roll, half a pound of lobster and tres leches to finish. Dhs149. Sat-Wed sunset-midnight; Thu-Fri sunset-2am. Burj Daman Building, DIFC (04 514 8838).
Dubai Opera The auditorium will transform into a magnificent banquet hall with three different iftar menus throughout the month. Choose from Arabic delicacies and international favourites from the huge buffets and dessert counters every night from sunset to 9.30pm. There’ll be live musicians playing, too. There’s a discount for bookings of 11 and more, call for more details. Dhs260 (adults), Dhs130 (ages six to 11), free (six and under). Daily, sunset-9.30pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai (04 440 8888).
Karak House This homegrown Emirati restaurant is serving a four-course menu of dishes that have a modern interpretation of traditional dining. Begin with lentil or chicken and mushroom soup, summer or superfood salad, mains of non-veg biryani, lamb machboos, shish taouk and finish with cheese and pistachio katayef, fudge brownie or rehash pistachio basbousa. You can opt to dine on the terrace and watch the Burj Khalifa glittering in the background. Dhs109. Daily, sunset-2am. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 551 6852).
Trèsind Throughout Ramadan, Trèsind (Time Out Dubai’s Best Indian Restaurant 2018) is running a special steak menu. And, at Dhs175, it’s a top way to experience the flair of the modern restaurant at a pocket-friendly price. Eye-catching dishes include date candy with popping sugar, meat board, steaks and chefs’ take on a baklava. A veg menu is available, too. Dhs179. Daily, sunset-11.30pm. VOCO Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 308 0440). Dubai Marina
Alloro Dubai The flavours of Italy meet Arabic traditions at this iftar, which promises to blend both cuisines. Wide selection of dishes on offer as well as juices and water. Dhs119 (adults), Dhs55 (kids aged 12-16). Dubai Marina (04 407 8872).
RÜYA Set menu with a weekly soup, cold and hot starters, a choice of main course and a selection of Turkish desserts served to the table. Juices, tea and coffee are also available and included. Dhs249 (adults). Daily, sunset-1am. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 3999 123). Garhoud
Yalumba Expect Middle Eastern favourites including kibbeh, katayef and more in a large iftar buffet spread. Price includes juices and water. Dhs169. Daily, sunset-9pm. Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Airport Road, Garhoud (04 217 2455). JBR
Al Maeda Buffet featuring Lebanese cuisine including kebabs and lamb mandi. Iftar is accompanied by traditional live oud music. Special rate available for corporate bookings. Dhs139. Daily, 7pm-10pm. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (055 166 8092).
BiCE Italian-inspired iftar with sharing starters and desserts as well as live cooking stations for main courses. There’s Arabic live music on the weekends. Dhs250. Daily, 7pm-11.30pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR (04 318 252).
Bombay Bungalow The menu brings an Indian twist with dishes such as assorted kebabs or stir-fried greens to name a few and finally a sweet desert platter. Dhs110. Daily, sunset-2am. The Beach, JBR (800 692 8779).
Oceana Restaurant Iftar buffet with live cooking stations in a restaurant decorated in a traditional Ramadan style. There’s live oud music each evening. Dhs215 (adults), Dhs107.50 (kids aged six-12), free (kids five and under). Daily, sunset-10pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR (04 318 2540).
Sah El Nom There’s an iftar set menu at this new Syrian restaurant on Bluewaters Dubai. Dhs145. Daily, sunset-9pm. Bluewaters Dubai, JBR (04 587 7096).
Seven Sands Restaurant Taste authentic Emirati dishes at this iftar buffet that offers cold and hot starters, main courses, a daily carving station and desserts. Dhs155 (adults), Dhs77.50 (kids aged six-12), free (kids five and under). Daily, sunset-9pm. The Beach, JBR (04 551 6652). Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Nosh Iftar buffet combining Arabic favourites and international cuisine. Live cooking stations with ouzi carving, Arabic mixed grill and shawarma. Juices included in price. Dhs135 (adults), Dhs67.50 (kids aged six-12), free (kids five and under). Daily, sunset-10.30pm. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, JLT (04 438 0000). Jumeirah
Bebabel Tuck into some brilliant Lebanese home-style cooking with a side of Dubai Fountain views. The iftar menu includes a choice of soups, hot and cold talatas, mains such as lamb, siyyadieh and chicken freekeh with a sweet finish. Just sit back and be amazed by the water show below. Dhs120. Daily, 7pm-midnight. Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 419 0950).
COYA Time Out’s reigning Best Latin American presents exquisite Peruvian food with a twist. The special iftar menu is dotted with plates like beans with black truffle, sea bass croquettes, chicken tacos, shiitake and avo’ rolls, baby chicken, salmon and more. Dhs250. Daily, sunset-8.30pm. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah 1 04 316 9600).
MASTI This is currently the city’s Best Indian Restaurant, having scooped the accolade at Time Out Dubai’s awards this year thanks to its fusion-style cuisine. And, you can enjoy a special selection of Ramadan dishes for a snip at Dhs150. Highlights include dynamite cauliflower koliwada, kheema empanadas, chicken or paneer curry, MASTI-style biryani and a selection of desserts. Dhs150. Daily, sunset-2am. La Mer South, Jumeirah 1 (04 344 4384). Palm Jumeirah
Asateer During Ramadan, you’ll see tents springing up across the city at scores of restaurants. None is as big or famous as Asateer at Atlantis The Palm. It’s headed up by famed chef Ali El Bourji and typically serves 60,000 diners during the month for iftar and suhoor. Expect to find buffets for both, live cooking stations, hot and cold mezzeh, soup, grilled meat and seafood, Ramadan desserts and more. Dhs220 (adults), Dhs110 (ages four to 11), free (three and under). Daily, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Until Jun 12. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Ibn AlBahr Savour authentic and fresh seafood, at fishermen owned Lebanese restaurant IBN Al Bahr. Iftar highlights include sayadieh, fish biryani and fish curry. There are glorious views out to the coastline here, too. Dhs125. Daily, sunset-2am. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 553 9575).
Hakkasan Try an alternative take on traditional iftars by heading to the world-famous Cantonese restaurant. The four-course set menu includes signature dishes such as the Peking duck and dim sum platter as well as dishes specifically created for Ramadan. Dress code is smart elegant and only children aged ten and above are permitted. Dhs288. Daily, 6.30pm-onwards. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Kaleidoscope Serving up a vast international buffet, Kaleidoscope features dishes from around the world and is ideal for families and groups of friends. The restaurant will be offering its usual Mediterranean, North African and Indian specialty dishes, alongside a special iftar spread with live cooking stations for a more interactive experience. It’s a goodie for young travellers. Dhs215 (adults), half-price (ages four to 11), free (three and under). Daily, 6pm-8pm. May 5-Jun 4. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
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