Unique Uighur flavours in Waterloo – TheRecord.com

Unique Uighur flavours in Waterloo – TheRecord.com

Unique Uighur flavours in Waterloo Living by Jasmine Mangalaseril Grand magazine
In December 2004, Rahila David, her husband, Shaoket, and their young daughters, Shaida and Youli, stepped off a plane and into a new life in Canada. Toronto was different from Tokyo. About half a day earlier, they were in a bustling, chic city — a capital of world capitals — and now they were surrounded by a grey and slushy place.
But for the Davids, moving to a far-off destination wasn’t new. In 1995, Shaoket left their home in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China to go to Tokyo to begin his doctorate in city planning. Rahila followed a few years later for her master’s degree in agricultural chemistry. Schooling finished and with two little ones in tow, they focused on the best start for their young family. Canada offered better opportunities and, importantly, better schools for their children.
The Davids’ first few years in Canada were marked with the usual whirlwind of creating a new home in a new place. They connected with members of Toronto’s Uighur community, learned English, and Shaoket found a job as a truck driver. Within a couple years, the family welcomed a son, Bogda.
Toronto was fine enough, but they wanted to be in a more family-friendly community and moved to Cambridge. It wasn’t long before friends suggested opening a restaurant in Waterloo Region. Although there were many Chinese restaurants (Cantonese and Sichuan, usually) none served Uighur cuisine.
While they didn’t set out for a life as restaurateurs, this wasn’t the first time it was mentioned. When they were finding their feet in Toronto, they opened a restaurant with friends, but it was a difficult undertaking for newcomers with a growing family. They decided to give it another go. With cooking duties shared by Rahila and Shaoket, they opened Bogda Restaurant in Waterloo in 2011.
“The first thing everyone said was, ‘This is good! The chicken (Tohogoshi Narin) is good! You can’t find these handmade noodles here,’ ” Rahila David says. “I think we were full every day for three months. Two friends came from Japan and the four of us worked every day. We closed at 10 p.m., cleaned up and got home to Cambridge at 1 a.m. We slept five hours every night for the first few months.”
UIGHUR CUISINE
Uighur cuisine reflects the long history of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the influences of neighbouring peoples. The province, which is on China’s northwestern edge, borders several central Asian countries, as well as Russia, Pakistan, India and Mongolia.
Centuries ago, countless caravans laden with luxury goods – gold, ivory, porcelain, and silks, as well as spices, sugars and teas – criss-crossed the Silk Road, with some stopping at the market city of Kashgar. Today, the province’s economy is driven by natural gas production, but agriculture, including grapes, melons and pears, is also important.
“The fruits are good because of Xinjiang’s unique climate, ” David says. “There’s little rain and lots of sunshine. The days are very hot and the evenings are cold and dry. High temperatures make the acidity in fruit low and keep sugar content high.” Historically, Xinjiang was two separate regions – together, they’re about the size of Quebec – with the Tianshan mountains serving as a natural boundary. To the north was Dzungaria, home to the nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungars. To the south was the Tarim Basin (also known as Altishahr), home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group of Turkic-speaking sedentary farmers. Throughout its 2,500-year history, various empires tried to capture the overall territory, with the Qin Dynasty eventually taking control, later merging both regions into Xinjiang in the 19th century.
“Uighur food, it’s not like Chinese food, Middle Eastern food or Turkish food,” David says. “It is unique and the flavours are a mix of everything. We have food that’s unique — mantoo (dumplings), polo (rice pilau), narin (chicken).”
As Muslims, pork isn’t part of Uighur cuisine, but other meats — beef, chicken, lamb — are, often in spicing that combines cumin, garlic, ginger, and Sichuan pepper.
Growing up in Xinjiang, David remembers eating potatoes, carrots, traditional meats and hand-pulled noodles. In recent years, likely because of the increased influence of emigrants from other areas of China, the diet has shifted to include more vegetables.
For Rahila, the foods and dishes that were handed down are connections to her culture. The children, however, want to eat what their friends eat.
“My kids always ask why I only cook Uighur food,” she says. “For a few years they said, ‘Don’t make laghman (noodles with meat and vegetables), don’t make polo.’ Once a week I’ll make them chicken and fries or spaghetti. On other days I’ll make Uighur food.”
A family trip to Xinjiang sparked the children’s appreciation of their parents’ home cooking.
“They said, ‘The food is so good!’ ” Rahila says with a laugh. “I make laghman the same way and they ask, ‘Why can’t you make this?’ It’s the same dish that I learned from my mom!”
Today, Youli and Bogda are in high school. Shaida is a university graduate, now working in Ottawa but returns for visits.
“Now, when my eldest is back she asks, ‘Mom, can you make me this and that?’ I’m so happy.”
TOHOGOSHI NARIN
Tohogoshi Narin is a popular, easy-to-make dish also known as “Big Plate Chicken.” You can make it with boneless chicken but definitely try it with bone-in chicken. If you don’t like eating around bones, cleave them after separating them from the flesh, and add the lot to the pot. As the dish cooks, the marrow enriches the gravy, making it more flavourful than if it were made with meat alone or mixed with whole bones.
Serves 6 to 8
Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 to 45 minutes
80 ml to 125 ml (1/3 to ½ cup) peanut oil OR other oil suitable for shallow frying, as needed
15 ml (1 tablespoon) white sugar
1 kg (2 lbs) skinless chicken, bone-in preferably, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks (eight or nine bone-in chicken thighs)
½ onion, sliced from root to tip
45 ml (3 tablespoons) Shaoxing cooking wine (also called Shaohing or Shaoshing) OR dry sherry
6 to 10 whole dried chilies, to taste
3 cm (1¼ inch) ginger, sliced thin
1 or 2 star anise pods, to taste
10 ml (2 teaspoons) whole Sichuan peppercorns
5 ml (1 teaspoon) black pepper
125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped garlic
1 cinnamon stick
5 ml (1 teaspoon) cumin seeds
5 ml (1 teaspoon) fennel seeds (optional)
1 black cardamom pod (also called Bengal cardamom, brown cardamom, or bada/bara elaichi) NOT green or white cardamom
30 ml (2 tablespoons) dark soy sauce
2 to 3 chopped tomatoes (optional)
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
Water, as needed
2 carrots, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 green onions (green parts only), cut into 3 cm (1¼-inch) lengths
Salt, to taste
To serve:
Flat noodles, naan or rice
1. Heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add sugar and stir until it caramelizes, about a minute or two.
2. Stir in the chicken, onions, and then add wine. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add chilies, ginger, star anise, Sichuan pepper, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (if using) and cardamom. Mix well and let cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Stir in soy sauce, tomatoes (if using) and potatoes. Add enough water to barely cover. With the lid off, heat for five minutes before adding carrots. Keep the pan uncovered and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Skim the froth as needed and stir occasionally as it simmers for 15 minutes.
5. Add the red and green bell pepper. Stir and cook for five minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Adjust for salt, if necessary.
6. When ready, remove the cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and star anise. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Notes:
• This recipe can be halved.
• For a thicker gravy, use a wide-bottomed pan, such as a braiser, to allow for faster evaporation. Otherwise you can use a large wok or a Dutch oven and cook down the gravy for longer.
Stockists:
• Most spices can be found in major grocery stores, gourmet shops and bulk food stores.
• Black cardamom can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocers, including: Golden Indian Food and Spices, Kishki World Foods and Onkar Food and Spices, all in Kitchener. Unique Uighur flavours in Waterloo ‘It’s not like Chinese food, Middle Eastern food or Turkish food … the flavours are a mix of everything’ Living by Jasmine Mangalaseril Grand magazine
In December 2004, Rahila David, her husband, Shaoket, and their young daughters, Shaida and Youli, stepped off a plane and into a new life in Canada. Toronto was different from Tokyo. About half a day earlier, they were in a bustling, chic city — a capital of world capitals — and now they were surrounded by a grey and slushy place.
But for the Davids, moving to a far-off destination wasn’t new. In 1995, Shaoket left their home in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China to go to Tokyo to begin his doctorate in city planning. Rahila followed a few years later for her master’s degree in agricultural chemistry. Schooling finished and with two little ones in tow, they focused on the best start for their young family. Canada offered better opportunities and, importantly, better schools for their children.
The Davids’ first few years in Canada were marked with the usual whirlwind of creating a new home in a new place. They connected with members of Toronto’s Uighur community, learned English, and Shaoket found a job as a truck driver. Within a couple years, the family welcomed a son, Bogda.
Toronto was fine enough, but they wanted to be in a more family-friendly community and moved to Cambridge. It wasn’t long before friends suggested opening a restaurant in Waterloo Region. Although there were many Chinese restaurants (Cantonese and Sichuan, usually) none served Uighur cuisine.
While they didn’t set out for a life as restaurateurs, this wasn’t the first time it was mentioned. When they were finding their feet in Toronto, they opened a restaurant with friends, but it was a difficult undertaking for newcomers with a growing family.
They decided to give it another go. With cooking duties shared by Rahila and Shaoket, they opened Bogda Restaurant in Waterloo in 2011.
“The first thing everyone said was, ‘This is good! The chicken (Tohogoshi Narin) is good! You can’t find these handmade noodles here,’ ” Rahila David says. “I think we were full every day for three months. Two friends came from Japan and the four of us worked every day. We closed at 10 p.m., cleaned up and got home to Cambridge at 1 a.m. We slept five hours every night for the first few months.”
UIGHUR CUISINE
Uighur cuisine reflects the long history of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the influences of neighbouring peoples. The province, which is on China’s northwestern edge, borders several central Asian countries, as well as Russia, Pakistan, India and Mongolia.
Centuries ago, countless caravans laden with luxury goods – gold, ivory, porcelain, and silks, as well as spices, sugars and teas – criss-crossed the Silk Road, with some stopping at the market city of Kashgar. Today, the province’s economy is driven by natural gas production, but agriculture, including grapes, melons and pears, is also important.
“The fruits are good because of Xinjiang’s unique climate, ” David says. “There’s little rain and lots of sunshine. The days are very hot and the evenings are cold and dry. High temperatures make the acidity in fruit low and keep sugar content high.” Historically, Xinjiang was two separate regions – together, they’re about the size of Quebec – with the Tianshan mountains serving as a natural boundary. To the north was Dzungaria, home to the nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungars. To the south was the Tarim Basin (also known as Altishahr), home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group of Turkic-speaking sedentary farmers. Throughout its 2,500-year history, various empires tried to capture the overall territory, with the Qin Dynasty eventually taking control, later merging both regions into Xinjiang in the 19th century.
“Uighur food, it’s not like Chinese food, Middle Eastern food or Turkish food,” David says. “It is unique and the flavours are a mix of everything. We have food that’s unique — mantoo (dumplings), polo (rice pilau), narin (chicken).”
As Muslims, pork isn’t part of Uighur cuisine, but other meats — beef, chicken, lamb — are, often in spicing that combines cumin, garlic, ginger, and Sichuan pepper.
Growing up in Xinjiang, David remembers eating potatoes, carrots, traditional meats and hand-pulled noodles. In recent years, likely because of the increased influence of emigrants from other areas of China, the diet has shifted to include more vegetables.
For Rahila, the foods and dishes that were handed down are connections to her culture. The children, however, want to eat what their friends eat.
“My kids always ask why I only cook Uighur food,” she says. “For a few years they said, ‘Don’t make laghman (noodles with meat and vegetables), don’t make polo.’ Once a week I’ll make them chicken and fries or spaghetti. On other days I’ll make Uighur food.”
A family trip to Xinjiang sparked the children’s appreciation of their parents’ home cooking.
“They said, ‘The food is so good!’ ” Rahila says with a laugh. “I make laghman the same way and they ask, ‘Why can’t you make this?’ It’s the same dish that I learned from my mom!”
Today, Youli and Bogda are in high school. Shaida is a university graduate, now working in Ottawa but returns for visits.
“Now, when my eldest is back she asks, ‘Mom, can you make me this and that?’ I’m so happy.”
TOHOGOSHI NARIN
Tohogoshi Narin is a popular, easy-to-make dish also known as “Big Plate Chicken.” You can make it with boneless chicken but definitely try it with bone-in chicken. If you don’t like eating around bones, cleave them after separating them from the flesh, and add the lot to the pot. As the dish cooks, the marrow enriches the gravy, making it more flavourful than if it were made with meat alone or mixed with whole bones.
Serves 6 to 8
Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 to 45 minutes
80 ml to 125 ml (1/3 to ½ cup) peanut oil OR other oil suitable for shallow frying, as needed
15 ml (1 tablespoon) white sugar
1 kg (2 lbs) skinless chicken, bone-in preferably, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks (eight or nine bone-in chicken thighs)
½ onion, sliced from root to tip
45 ml (3 tablespoons) Shaoxing cooking wine (also called Shaohing or Shaoshing) OR dry sherry
6 to 10 whole dried chilies, to taste
3 cm (1¼ inch) ginger, sliced thin
1 or 2 star anise pods, to taste
10 ml (2 teaspoons) whole Sichuan peppercorns
5 ml (1 teaspoon) black pepper
125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped garlic
1 cinnamon stick
5 ml (1 teaspoon) cumin seeds
5 ml (1 teaspoon) fennel seeds (optional)
1 black cardamom pod (also called Bengal cardamom, brown cardamom, or bada/bara elaichi) NOT green or white cardamom
30 ml (2 tablespoons) dark soy sauce
2 to 3 chopped tomatoes (optional)
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
Water, as needed
2 carrots, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 green onions (green parts only), cut into 3 cm (1¼-inch) lengths
Salt, to taste
To serve:
Flat noodles, naan or rice
1. Heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add sugar and stir until it caramelizes, about a minute or two.
2. Stir in the chicken, onions, and then add wine. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add chilies, ginger, star anise, Sichuan pepper, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (if using) and cardamom. Mix well and let cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Stir in soy sauce, tomatoes (if using) and potatoes. Add enough water to barely cover. With the lid off, heat for five minutes before adding carrots. Keep the pan uncovered and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Skim the froth as needed and stir occasionally as it simmers for 15 minutes.
5. Add the red and green bell pepper. Stir and cook for five minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Adjust for salt, if necessary.
6. When ready, remove the cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and star anise. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Notes:
• This recipe can be halved.
• For a thicker gravy, use a wide-bottomed pan, such as a braiser, to allow for faster evaporation. Otherwise you can use a large wok or a Dutch oven and cook down the gravy for longer.
Stockists:
• Most spices can be found in major grocery stores, gourmet shops and bulk food stores.
• Black cardamom can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocers, including: Golden Indian Food and Spices, Kishki World Foods and Onkar Food and Spices, all in Kitchener. Top Stories Unique Uighur flavours in Waterloo ‘It’s not like Chinese food, Middle Eastern food or Turkish food … the flavours are a mix of everything’ Living by Jasmine Mangalaseril Grand magazine
In December 2004, Rahila David, her husband, Shaoket, and their young daughters, Shaida and Youli, stepped off a plane and into a new life in Canada. Toronto was different from Tokyo. About half a day earlier, they were in a bustling, chic city — a capital of world capitals — and now they were surrounded by a grey and slushy place.
But for the Davids, moving to a far-off destination wasn’t new. In 1995, Shaoket left their home in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China to go to Tokyo to begin his doctorate in city planning. Rahila followed a few years later for her master’s degree in agricultural chemistry. Schooling finished and with two little ones in tow, they focused on the best start for their young family. Canada offered better opportunities and, importantly, better schools for their children.
The Davids’ first few years in Canada were marked with the usual whirlwind of creating a new home in a new place. They connected with members of Toronto’s Uighur community, learned English, and Shaoket found a job as a truck driver. Within a couple years, the family welcomed a son, Bogda.
Toronto was fine enough, but they wanted to be in a more family-friendly community and moved to Cambridge. It wasn’t long before friends suggested opening a restaurant in Waterloo Region. Although there were many Chinese restaurants (Cantonese and Sichuan, usually) none served Uighur cuisine.
While they didn’t set out for a life as restaurateurs, this wasn’t the first time it was mentioned. When they were finding their feet in Toronto, they opened a restaurant with friends, but it was a difficult undertaking for newcomers with a growing family.
They decided to give it another go. With cooking duties shared by Rahila and Shaoket, they opened Bogda Restaurant in Waterloo in 2011.
“The first thing everyone said was, ‘This is good! The chicken (Tohogoshi Narin) is good! You can’t find these handmade noodles here,’ ” Rahila David says. “I think we were full every day for three months. Two friends came from Japan and the four of us worked every day. We closed at 10 p.m., cleaned up and got home to Cambridge at 1 a.m. We slept five hours every night for the first few months.”
UIGHUR CUISINE
Uighur cuisine reflects the long history of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the influences of neighbouring peoples. The province, which is on China’s northwestern edge, borders several central Asian countries, as well as Russia, Pakistan, India and Mongolia.
Centuries ago, countless caravans laden with luxury goods – gold, ivory, porcelain, and silks, as well as spices, sugars and teas – criss-crossed the Silk Road, with some stopping at the market city of Kashgar. Today, the province’s economy is driven by natural gas production, but agriculture, including grapes, melons and pears, is also important.
“The fruits are good because of Xinjiang’s unique climate, ” David says. “There’s little rain and lots of sunshine. The days are very hot and the evenings are cold and dry. High temperatures make the acidity in fruit low and keep sugar content high.” Historically, Xinjiang was two separate regions – together, they’re about the size of Quebec – with the Tianshan mountains serving as a natural boundary. To the north was Dzungaria, home to the nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungars. To the south was the Tarim Basin (also known as Altishahr), home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group of Turkic-speaking sedentary farmers. Throughout its 2,500-year history, various empires tried to capture the overall territory, with the Qin Dynasty eventually taking control, later merging both regions into Xinjiang in the 19th century.
“Uighur food, it’s not like Chinese food, Middle Eastern food or Turkish food,” David says. “It is unique and the flavours are a mix of everything. We have food that’s unique — mantoo (dumplings), polo (rice pilau), narin (chicken).”
As Muslims, pork isn’t part of Uighur cuisine, but other meats — beef, chicken, lamb — are, often in spicing that combines cumin, garlic, ginger, and Sichuan pepper.
Growing up in Xinjiang, David remembers eating potatoes, carrots, traditional meats and hand-pulled noodles. In recent years, likely because of the increased influence of emigrants from other areas of China, the diet has shifted to include more vegetables.
For Rahila, the foods and dishes that were handed down are connections to her culture. The children, however, want to eat what their friends eat.
“My kids always ask why I only cook Uighur food,” she says. “For a few years they said, ‘Don’t make laghman (noodles with meat and vegetables), don’t make polo.’ Once a week I’ll make them chicken and fries or spaghetti. On other days I’ll make Uighur food.”
A family trip to Xinjiang sparked the children’s appreciation of their parents’ home cooking.
“They said, ‘The food is so good!’ ” Rahila says with a laugh. “I make laghman the same way and they ask, ‘Why can’t you make this?’ It’s the same dish that I learned from my mom!”
Today, Youli and Bogda are in high school. Shaida is a university graduate, now working in Ottawa but returns for visits.
“Now, when my eldest is back she asks, ‘Mom, can you make me this and that?’ I’m so happy.”
TOHOGOSHI NARIN
Tohogoshi Narin is a popular, easy-to-make dish also known as “Big Plate Chicken.” You can make it with boneless chicken but definitely try it with bone-in chicken. If you don’t like eating around bones, cleave them after separating them from the flesh, and add the lot to the pot. As the dish cooks, the marrow enriches the gravy, making it more flavourful than if it were made with meat alone or mixed with whole bones.
Serves 6 to 8
Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 to 45 minutes
80 ml to 125 ml (1/3 to ½ cup) peanut oil OR other oil suitable for shallow frying, as needed
15 ml (1 tablespoon) white sugar
1 kg (2 lbs) skinless chicken, bone-in preferably, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks (eight or nine bone-in chicken thighs)
½ onion, sliced from root to tip
45 ml (3 tablespoons) Shaoxing cooking wine (also called Shaohing or Shaoshing) OR dry sherry
6 to 10 whole dried chilies, to taste
3 cm (1¼ inch) ginger, sliced thin
1 or 2 star anise pods, to taste
10 ml (2 teaspoons) whole Sichuan peppercorns
5 ml (1 teaspoon) black pepper
125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped garlic
1 cinnamon stick
5 ml (1 teaspoon) cumin seeds
5 ml (1 teaspoon) fennel seeds (optional)
1 black cardamom pod (also called Bengal cardamom, brown cardamom, or bada/bara elaichi) NOT green or white cardamom
30 ml (2 tablespoons) dark soy sauce
2 to 3 chopped tomatoes (optional)
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
Water, as needed
2 carrots, cut into 5-cm (2-inch) chunks
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 green onions (green parts only), cut into 3 cm (1¼-inch) lengths
Salt, to taste
To serve:
Flat noodles, naan or rice
1. Heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add sugar and stir until it caramelizes, about a minute or two.
2. Stir in the chicken, onions, and then add wine. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add chilies, ginger, star anise, Sichuan pepper, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (if using) and cardamom. Mix well and let cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Stir in soy sauce, tomatoes (if using) and potatoes. Add enough water to barely cover. With the lid off, heat for five minutes before adding carrots. Keep the pan uncovered and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Skim the froth as needed and stir occasionally as it simmers for 15 minutes.
5. Add the red and green bell pepper. Stir and cook for five minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Adjust for salt, if necessary.
6. When ready, remove the cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and star anise. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Notes:
• This recipe can be halved.
• For a thicker gravy, use a wide-bottomed pan, such as a braiser, to allow for faster evaporation. Otherwise you can use a large wok or a Dutch oven and cook down the gravy for longer.
Stockists:
• Most spices can be found in major grocery stores, gourmet shops and bulk food stores.
• Black cardamom can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocers, including: Golden Indian Food and Spices, Kishki World Foods and Onkar Food and Spices, all in Kitchener. Top Stories

Read More…

Raising the bar of street food in Thiruvananthapuram

When street shops in the city are mushrooming by day, the initiative aims at providing good quality food in clean environments. THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Under the ‘Clean Street Food Hub,’ an initiative of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, street food shops at different parts of the state including Shangumugham will be raised to five star standards. When street shops in the city are mushrooming by day, the initiative aims at providing good quality food in clean environments. According to the commissioner of Food Safety, Rathan U Kelkar, street food culture is deeply rooted in the minds of Indians, especially Malayalees. By focusing on local cuisines, the initiative also ensures social and economic upliftment of the street vendor community by helping them improve food quality thereby attracting more customers. “It is a 360-degree approach to Food Safety and Healthy Nutrition. We are trying to build a street food hub at the Shangumugham beachside where customers can have quality food while enjoying nature. Initially, an audit team verifies the street shop and lists down the requirements to gain quality certification. Once rectified, street vendors will be coached on cleanliness. Sessions comprise personal hygiene to food nutrition and health benefits,” said Rathan. The Food Safety Department officials stressed on the need to develop a healthy eating habit in order to avoid lifestyle diseases. “Unhealthy cooking using refined oil and the use of unhygienic ice and water can result in severe health conditions. Hence strict instructions must be followed by street vendors. Lack of washbasins was one of the major problems faced. This will be sorted by making it mandatory to install washbasins in each shop,” he added.

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Top 10 Attractions You Can’t Miss In Brisbane And Its Surrounds (Near Halal Food!)

Brisbane is packed with many exciting world-class attractions and in recent years, the Australian city has transformed into a vibrant hub for shopping, entertainment, fashion, the arts and more 😊
Credit: @aerialadvantage on Instagram
The list of things to do in Brisbane just seems never ending and if you’re planning a trip there, don’t worry! We’ve narrowed down 10 of the must-see attractions in Brisbane and its surrounds, so you won’t be missing out on anything. Plus, we’ll also be providing halal food options near each attraction so, you can conveniently fill your tummy and carry on sightseeing! Are you ready to see what Brisbane has to offer?
[P.S. Visiting Brisbane? Make sure you check out our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary !]
Credit: giphy
#HHWT Tip: Did you know that Malaysia Airlines flies 4 times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane? Check out promotional airfares to Brisbane on Malaysia Airlines here ! 1. Queen Street Mall
Every traveller to Brisbane would most likely set foot on Queen St Mall. This pedestrian mall is Brisbane’s main shopping and commercial district and you can take your pick from an array of malls and shops here.
Credit: @mitchtalbot on Instagram
Our top picks are the area’s largest mall, Queens Plaza, Wintergarden and the Brisbane and Tattersall Arcades. Make a turn into Adelaide St and uncover a whole row of trendy independent boutiques and hip coffee shops instead!
Credit: Hiroki Serikawa on Instagram
But who says you only have to shop here? While some retail therapy makes your vacation even better, those of you who don’t wish to shop can simply soak in the atmosphere of Brisbane here. Sit in the many cafes to people-watch or catch some performances from street buskers – there’s something for every mood at Queen St 🤗
Halal food options:
Abra Wraps
Thankfully, there’s a good number of halal eateries at Queen St Mall too. One of the popular ones is Abra Wraps in the Myers Centre which sells Middle Eastern style wraps, grilled meats, burgers and more.
Credit: @sand2508 on Instagram
Try their specialty, Al Karrumba Nachos – a delectable combination of nachos topped with fresh tomato salsa, melted cheese, guacamole and sour cream. Add some freshly grilled chicken or beef to make it even yummier 🤤
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: The Myer Centre, level e/54A/91 Queen St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia Opening hours: 9am – 6pm daily
Turquoise Kebab And Pizza
Looking for some late-night grub? Then Turquoise Kebab and Pizza is the ideal place for you. This 24h stall offers a range of beef, chicken kebabs, pizzas and Turkish pide (flatbread) – perfect for a satisfying meal.
Their prices are pretty affordable too. If you’re looking for something other than Middle Eastern fare, then make sure you get their pizzas. Try their cheesy margarita pizza or sink your teeth in their meat lovers!
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: 1/79 Albert St, Brisbane City QLD 4000, Australia Open 24 hours 2. South Bank Parklands
Brisbane’s South Bank is a great place to spend a day and unwind. Stretching along the Brisbane River, South Bank is home to beautiful green spaces, attractions, shopping places and world-class museums.
Credit: @zeniakk on Instagram
Here’s also where you can find the world’s only city beach, Streets Beach. This man-made beach has a stunning lagoon complete with fine white sand and it makes for a great respite from the city.
Credit: @britinbrisbane on Instagram
We suggest spending a half day or more in South Bank as there’s an endless list of things to do here! After relaxing at the beach in the morning, head over to the Wheel of Brisbane to catch a sweeping bird’s eye view of the city 😍
Then snap a quick photo with the colourful Brisbane sign overlooking the city skyline before immersing yourself in art at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). You’re not leaving South Bank without making a shopping stop at the Collective Markets (open Friday to Sunday) where you can find awesome clothes, homemade trinkets, souvenirs, snacks and more!
Halal food options:
Mado Cafe and Restaurant
While you’re at South Bank, refuel with authentic Turkish and Middle Eastern fare at Mado. The restaurant prides itself for having passed down the recipe for traditional Turkish dishes from generations to generations, so you can only expect the best from them 😋
Credit: @foodpandaz_ on Instagram
Whether you’re in the mood for grilled meat platters like lamb and chicken shish or looking to chow down their really cheesy Turkish Pide, consider your scrumptious meal settled. End your meal with Kunafe, a sweet treat and slurp some refreshing Turkish tea.
Halal status: Halal ingredients used, Alcohol served in establishment
Address: 1-3/15 Tribune St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia Opening hours: 11.30am – 9pm (Sun – Thur), 11.30am – 10pm (Fri – Sat) 3. Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Brisbane has its fair share of activities for adrenaline junkies too. One of the things you have to strike out your checklist is the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Check this out – it’s one out of only 3 bridge climbs in the world, and to top that off, you can abseil down the bridge too 😱
Credit: @aneesaali_xoxo on Instagram
After rallying all your courage and energy climbing the bridge, you’ll be rewarded an amazing view of Brisbane city from above! Whether you’re doing a sunrise, sunset or night climb, the view from up here will not disappoint.
Credit: Brisbane City on Facebook
If your heart is pumping for even more action, head over to Kangaroo Point Cliffs, just minutes away from the Story Bridge. Challenge yourself by climbing the rocks up the cliff or let gravity take control and abseil down. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to look back and admire the view of Brisbane’s skyscrapers!
[P.S. There’s so much more to Brisbane than meets the eye! Check out these 10 amazing things you have to do to get the best out of the city🙂]
Halal food options:
Oporto Fortitude Valley
After all that adventure, it’s time for a hearty meal! Head over to Oporto in the hip and trendy district of Fortitude Valley. This chain is known for its flame-grilled chicken and burgers.
Credit: @vivi_hiyo on Instagram
Oporto’s signature Bondi Burger is an absolute must-try! Consisting of 2 freshly grilled chicken fillets, cheese, mayo and slathered with their legendary Original Chilli Sauce, biting into this succulent burger will be a treat 😋
Halal status: Halal meat available (chicken is from a halal-certified supplier)
Address: Shop 1/281 Brunswick Street Mall, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006, Australia Opening hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Wed), 10am – 2.30am (Thur), 10am – 4.30am (Fri), 11am – 4.30am (Sat), 11am – 9pm (Sun) 4. Whale Watching Experience
Did you know that Queensland is one of the best places in Australia for whale-watching? Every year between June and November, the humpback whale makes an appearance at the Moreton Bay (near Brisbane) as they migrate north to warmer waters.
Credit: Jennifer Cahill on Facebook
Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity and hop on a cruise tour from Brisbane. While there are points along the coast where you can chance upon the whales, we recommend going on a cruise as it’s the best way to get as close as possible to the graceful creatures 😍
Credit: Tangalooma Island Resort on Facebook
There are 2 famous tour operators that run these cruises – Brisbane Whale Watching (from AUD135) and Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruises (from AUD129). If you’re looking for somewhere with less travel time, then we recommend The Tangalooma cruise as the pick-up point is nearer to the city while Brisbane Whale Watching’s pick-up point is in Redcliffe, located about a 45-minute drive away from town.
Muslim-friendly options near Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruises pick-up point:
Eat Street Northshore
With a mix of seafood, halal and vegetarian options all in one place, Eat Street Northshore is probably one of the hippest food places in town! Consisting of containers and food trucks, not only does Eat Street offer a smorgasbord of yummy food, but it is also a cool spot to hang out at 😎
Credit: @noah_and_chef on Instagram
Take your pick from fresh oysters, grilled seafood as well as halal pizzas, pastas and other treats. Check out the full list of stores here .
Halal status: Some stores sell halal food, vegetarian and seafood options
Address: 221D MacArthur Ave, Hamilton QLD 4007, Australia Opening hours: 4pm – 10pm (Fri – Sat), 12pm – 8pm (Sun)
Muslim-friendly options near Brisbane Whale Watching pick-up point:
The Boat Shed
Craving for some good ‘ol fish and chips before or after an awesome whale-watching experience? Then head over to The Boat Shed which is just a 5-minutes’ drive away from Brisbane Whale Watching pick-up point. They have a variety of fish from cod to snapper, barramundi and more, so feel free to take your pick!
Credit: Kerryn Nicholls on Facebook
Add a Calamari Platter to your order and you’re guaranteed a scrumptious seafood feast. What’s great about The Boat Shed is that it’s overlooking Scarborough Beach so you can have your fish and chips takeaway and enjoy it on the beach.
Halal status: Seafood options available, do note that The Boat Shed is not halal-certified but they don’t serve pork or alcohol, so dine at your own discretion.
Address: 2/63 Landsborough Ave, Scarborough QLD 4020, Australia Opening hours: 11am – 8pm daily 5. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Bet you never knew you could find the world’s largest AND oldest koala sanctuary in the world in Brisbane! Located about a 30-minutes’ drive away from the city, Lone Pine is dedicated to the conservation of 130 koalas and other native Australian animals.
Credit: @hinam_ko on Instagram
One of the must-do experiences here is to cuddle a koala! But more than just cuddling and taking photos with these furry beings, visitors are also encouraged to connect emotionally with them and understand more about their habitats 🤗
Credit: @vendelasaetre on Instagram
Although it’s called a koala sanctuary, koalas aren’t the only animals that you can expect to meet! Feed, pat or take a selfie with free-roaming kangaroos, or get familiar with various Australian wildlife animals like the Tasmanian devils, platypuses, wombats, freshwater crocodiles, lorikeets and more!
#HHWT Tip: If you’re not driving, you can get to Lone Pine Sanctuary by taking the Mirimar River Cruises. Choose between an express boat ride (35 min) or a relaxing cruise ride (with full commentary!) along the Brisbane River (75 min).
Halal food options:
Sendok Garpu Indooroopilly
Fancy some authentic Indonesian food like satay, gado-gado or soto ayam? There’s no better place to get that taste of home than at Sendok Garpu Indooroopilly. What started out as a warung (small stall) is now a full-fledged restaurant.
Credit: Sendok Garpu by Bunda Alicia on Facebook
Get your fix of hearty Indonesian food by ordering the national dish, Nasi Goreng and pair it with some juicy satay or Nasi Iga Penyet (slow cooked beef ribs). The Gulai Kambing (lamb curry) seems to be a hit with customers too. Afterwards, wash your meal down with some Cendol for a refreshing finish!🤤
Halal status: Halal ingredients used, alcohol is allowed in establishment
Address: 1A/172 Clarence Rd, Indooroopilly QLD 4068, Australia Opening hours: 12pm – 2.30pm (Mon – Tue), 12pm – 2.30pm, 5pm – 9pm (Wed – Fri), 10.30am – 2.30pm, 5pm – 9pm (Sat), 10.30am – 2.30pm (Sat)
FLY TO BRISBANE WITH MALAYSIA AIRLINES!
Malaysia Airlines flies 4 times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. Check out promotional airfares to Brisbane on Malaysia Airlines here ! 6. Mt Coot-tha
Need a breather from the city? Head up to Mt-Cootha to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the Brisbane skyline and Moreton Bay, as it’s the closest to Brisbane city!
Credit: @maizaitul_zainudin on Instagram
Other than simply taking in the view, you can have a picnic at the lawns, or go on an Aboriginal Bushwalk trail for a more cultural experience. Those who are more adventurous might want to try mountain biking too!
Credit: @theadventurersoflife on Instagram
For those of you who are travelling with kids, this is the perfect chance to bring them to the Brisbane Botanical Garden to learn more about the exotic plants and flowers around the area. Don’t miss the Tropical Dome where tropical plants are kept warm throughout the year. Not to mention that the dome is really instagrammable too 😍
Muslim-friendly options:
The Fishery
You can never get enough seafood when in Australia, especially if they are tasty and prepared fresh! Located around a 10-minutes’ drive away from the Mt Coot-tha lookout point is The Fishery. The store is well-known for its high quality of fresh seafood and with its chef having more than 20 years of experience, you’re in good hands if you’re having a meal here.
Credit: @wishfoodweekend on Instagram
What’s great about The Fishery is that you can get advice on which fish to get as well as how it’s best prepared – either crumbed, battered, steamed or baked. For those of you who prefer cooking when travelling, you can also choose from a variety of fresh fish and seafood which are ready to be cooked at home.
Halal status: Seafood options available, The Fishery does not serve meat or alcohol but do dine at your own discretion
Address: 6a/16 Baroona Rd, Milton QLD 4064, Australia Opening hours: 10am – 8pm daily 7. Moreton Island
Pristine beaches and crystal blue waters await at Moreton Island, the world’s third largest sand island! This breathtaking paradise is only a 75-minutes’ ferry ride away from Brisbane and it’s also known as one of the least polluted islands along the Queensland/New South Wales coast – so, here’s where you can experience a slice of untouched nature 😉
Credit: @__roamsweethome on Instagram
There are so many activities to do in Moreton Island that we recommend spending at least a full day here or stay a night at the Tangalooma Island Resort. Go snorkelling or glass kayaking around the Tangalooma Wrecks where you’ll find plenty of coral and tropical fish amidst rusty ships which were sunk in 1963 to create a breakwall for small boats stopping by the island.
Credit: Zilah Hamdan on Facebook
As if whale-watching around Moreton Bay isn’t awesome enough, every evening at sunset, several wild bottlenose dolphins will swim near the Tangalooma Island Resort jetty and you’ll get a chance to hand-feed them! For those of you searching for an adrenaline rush, why not try tobogganing down the island’s sand dunes instead?
Muslim-friendly options:
There aren’t any halal eateries on Moreton Island and although there are eateries selling seafood, they serve other meats too so if you’re dining at those eateries, do check if they separate the utensils for halal and non-halal items.
Moreton Bay Bugs
The one delicacy that you can’t miss while in Brisbane is the Moreton Bay Bugs. Don’t worry, these aren’t insects but it’s actually a type of lobster which is found along the northern half of Australia’s coast. Some people refer to it as bay lobsters or slipper lobsters and they are bigger in size than crayfish.
Credit: @jeremy_raine on Instagram
What’s so special about the Moreton Bay Bugs is that it’s known for its rich and sweet flavour, and the meat looks a little like lobster. To savour the fresh taste of these delightful crustaceans, head over to The Beach Café at Tangalooma Island Resort to enjoy their Moreton Bay Bugs Platter. 8. Australian Outback Spectacular
To fully immerse yourself in Australian culture, head over to the Australian Outback Spectacular where you’ll be treated to a performance set in the Australian outback. The environment in the outback is usually known as “harsh and unforgiving” and this show follows the story of 2 individuals overcoming life in the outback, including some amazing choreography and stunts 😱
Credit: @outbackspectacular on Instagram
With the use of high tech projection mapping, watch in awe as the arena turns into a stream, a waterfall and anything you could possibly find in the outback. You’ll immediately feel as though you’ve been transported into the wilderness!
Credit: @outbackspectacular on Instagram
This immersive experience also features horses and eagles among other animals. Besides the stunning graphics and light show, you’ll also be able to catch some impressive horse-riding skills and more.
Credit: Australian Outback Spectacular on Facebook
What’s great about this show is that it includes a yummy three-course meal complete with beverages and desserts. The best part is, it’s all halal! Dig into a nice Vegetable and Goat Feta tart for appetisers before indulging in a juicy fillet steak or tender chicken breast – made from Australian beef and farm-seasoned chicken. Afterwards, cap off your experience with a Dark Chocolate Tart, that’s sure to leave you thoroughly satisfied 😋
Halal status: Halal meat available, alcohol served in establishment
Address: Entertainment Rd, Oxenford QLD 4210, Australia Price: From AUD90 9. Surfers Paradise
If you are in Brisbane, you must stay a few nights in the beautiful Gold Coast, where you can get a more laidback and chill out coastal holiday. One well-known attraction in Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise! Known as the “jewel” of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is packed with incredible beaches, skyscrapers, amazing shopping and food places, and more. The atmosphere here is unbeatable – it’s always full of energy, perfect for the holiday mood.
Credit: @jopauls_photography on Instagram
With over 57 km of unbroken coastline in Gold Coast, lounging and sunbathing at its beaches are a must and if it’s your first time, we recommend hanging out at Surfers Paradise beach. When evening comes, soak in the sights and sounds of Cavill Ave or do some shopping at the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets (only on weekends).
Credit: @juliaadlwart on Instagram
But if there’s one thing you can’t miss at Surfers Paradise, it’s the Skypoint Observation Deck! As Australia’s only beachside observation deck, you’ll get the chance to catch awe-inspiring views of both the sea and skyscrapers 230 metres above sea level 😍
P.S. Feeling brave? Then go for the SkyPoint Climb, Australia’s highest external building climb!
Halal food options:
Being a major tourist attraction means that you’d have no problem finding halal food at Surfers Paradise too. A pro-tip is to head over to Surfers Paradise Blvd where you’ll be greeted with any array of cuisines from Western to Middle Eastern, Indian, Indonesian and even Thai food.
Free Range Chicken Shack
Fried chicken is always a good idea and thankfully, you can satiate your cravings for fried chicken at Free Range Chicken Shack. Their chicken is marinated in unique African herbs and spices, so it’s really different from the ones we’re used to back home.
If you can handle the heat, go for their hot and spicy wicked wings which will tingle your taste buds but yet so flavourful. Their pulled chicken burger is highly recommended too!
Halal status: Halal meat available
Address: Surfers Paradise Blvd & Elkhorn Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia Opening hours: 11am – 9pm daily
Cocohut
How does a meal with tom yum, pad thai and green curry sound like? Awesome, isn’t it?! Cocohut is a haven for Thai food lovers. Their specialty Coco Tom Yum Noodle is a must-try – customise your choice of meat, noodles and spice level before tucking into this delectable sour-spicy soup.
If you love curries, then you’re in luck. Cocohut’s red and green curries are to die for, with a perfect mix of flavours. The Chicken Pad Thai is also worth ordering as well.
Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: 3114 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia Opening hours: 11am – 2.30pm, 4.30pm – 9.30pm daily 10. Pacific Fair Shopping Mall
No vacation is complete without some shopping and if you’re looking for the ideal place for your much needed retail therapy, Pacific Fair Shopping Mall fits the bill! Did you know that the mall is constantly ranked as the number 1 shopping spot in Gold Coast?
Credit: Siti Johari on Facebook
Take your time browsing through its 400 stores. Whether you’re looking for iconic international brands like H&M, Zara and UNIQLO or shopping for high-end goods like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, you’ll most likely find something you like here! There are also independent and specialty boutiques if you want something that’s one of a kind. Those of you on a tight budget don’t have to worry too – pop into department stores like Myers, Kmart and Target or discount shops like Stacks Variety.
Credit: @lisa_marcelle on Instagram
What’s more, you’ll never feel like it’s crowded over at Pacific Fair as the mall is spread out with gardens and water features, giving it a unique outdoor ambience, which is perfect if you need a little breather. Needless to say, this mall gives you an all-in-one shopping experience, perfect for families!
#HHWT Tip: Those travelling with kids can head over to Play Street where your children can try out a high climb course or toddler room. If you need to do your prayers, head over to the prayer room located at the Visitor Lounge 😊
Halal food options:
Origin Kebabs
We’re pretty sure those hours of shopping and walking around Pacific Fair will work up your appetite, so head over to one of the halal eateries, Origin Kebabs.
Credit: @originkebabslabrador on Instagram
Get your fill of generous juicy chicken and lamb kebabs or refuel with their Halal Snack Pack. If you’re unfamiliar with this dish affectionately called HSP, it actually consists of doner kebab, fries and then topped with different sauces and more. It’s so good that you won’t be able to resist!
Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: L1 (near Target), 359 Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach Waters QLD 4218, Australia Opening hours: 9.30am – 5.30pm (Mon – Wed, Fri – Sat), 9am – 9pm (Thur), 9am – 5pm (Sun)
Charis Seafood
You can’t leave Gold Coast without having fresh seafood and the best place to savour it is at Charis Seafood. Located just a 20-minutes’ drive away from Pacific Fair Shopping Mall, Charis Seafood sells a wide variety of items from whole fish, prawns and crabs to oysters, mussels and more. It’s also the biggest seafood retailer in Queensland!
Credit: @alvin3dot on Instagram
What’s great here is that you can choose your preferred seafood and the staff will suggest the best way to prepare your seafood. But if you wish to have fish and chips, you can also get them from the cooked counters. Do note that all meals are takeaway but this is great as you can have your meal by the beach 😛
Credit: @chainsmoker666 on Instagram
Besides filling your tummy with the freshest seafood, feast your eyes as dozens of pelicans swing by every day at 1.30pm sharp for a pelican feeding session! The staff from Charis will feed leftovers to the pelicans and it makes for a really interesting sight.
Halal status: Seafood options available
Address: 371 Marine Parade, Labrador QLD 4215, Australia Opening hours: 7am – 7pm daily
From impressive shopping malls to thrilling activities and fun-filled theme parks, what’s not to love about Brisbane and its surrounds? Not to mention that halal food options are aplenty too – whether you’re craving kebabs, burgers or fresh seafood! Plus, with comfy direct flights to Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur, your vacation planning just got easier. So, start calling your travel buddies for an epic trip!🤓
FLY TO BRISBANE WITH MALAYSIA AIRLINES!
Did you know that Malaysia Airlines flies 4 times weekly from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane? Check out promotional airfares to Brisbane on Malaysia Airlines here !
This article is brought to you by Malaysia Airlines and Tourism and Events Queensland.

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The 10 Best Places to Enjoy Lamb This Easter

The 10 Best Places to Enjoy Lamb This Easter Give your celebration an international spin with one of these options, from Russia to Brazil. By Alice Levitt 4/9/2019 at 7:00am
Uyghur-style grilled lamb skewers at Afandim Restaurant are a dish worth seeking out.
Image: Alice Levitt
This Easter , you could go for a traditional brunch. (The $85 buffet at La Table is somehow worth every penny.) But you’ve been doing that your whole life.
This year, why not give your family go-to a twist? Lamb is a classic Easter table trope, but we’re not talking about Granny’s roast with mint jelly. Just choose your favorite cuisine and enjoy a lamb dish that is sure to please this April 21, or any other day. Uyghur: Afandim Restaurant
Houston’s three Chinese Muslim restaurants have whittled down to just this one. Luckily, the lamb kebabs keep us coming back time and again. The skewers of tender, crisp-edged flesh dusted in cumin and chile powder arrive still sizzling from the grill. Get them over fresh naan bread to soak up all their juices. Greek: Helen Greek Food + Wine and Helen in the Heights
Greek Easter isn’t until April 28, but Helen chef William Wright is warming up on the 21st with meltingly tender slices of whole lamb served with greens and lemon-roasted potatoes. Don’t worry, you can say “Opa!” with the dish on the 28th, too.
Barbacoa de borrego en salsa verde is worthy of your Easter celebration. Mexican: El Hidalguense
Whole lamb is the name of the game, here, too, but you can get it every day. Foil-wrapped, chile-sauced mixiote is a serious $11.99 meal with cactus salad, consommé, homemade tortillas and a plate of herbs, but our favorite is the barbacoa de borrego in tangy salsa verde. Indian: Surya India
There are five lamb curries on the menu here, but trust chef-owner Sheel Joshi to bring it up several notches from a vindaloo or rogan josh. Instead, spring for the tandoori rack of lamb. Rubbed with rosemary, ginger and a collection of Indian spices, it all but vaporizes into a tantalizing perfume between your teeth. Ethiopian: Blue Nile
You don’t have to leave the loop for Ethiopian thanks to the Audley Street location of this established favorite. There, you can choose from six lamb stews served over sour, spongy injera bread. Our favorite is the yebeg key wot , cubes of softened meat served in an earthy red sauce flavored with berbere spice mix.
Cooling the coals at Fogo de Chão. Brazilian: Fogo de Chão
Rock salt and high heat. Sounds simple, but these chops drip with juice once you’ve crunched through the saline exterior. You’ll have to wade through bacon-wrapped turkey, picanha and about a dozen other meats to get to this rodizio-style churrascaria’s greatest attraction, but trust us, you won’t mind. Inner Mongolian: Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
The company that birthed this hot pot chain is based in Inner Mongolia, a region of northern China that borders the country of Mongolia, and a global ground zero for luscious lamb. Don’t think too hard about the fact that Yum! Brands, the corporation that owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, is now in charge—just enjoy boiling fragrant lamb dumplings and savory shaved lamb in your spicy soup.
Drive to Cypress for a taste of some of our region’s best lamb chops. Russian: Nyam Nyam Café
This casual Cypress storefront specializes in crêpes and pirozhki , but for our money, the best dish is its pile of deeply marinated lamb chops. They’re served over aromatic rice and pita-like bread with a burstingly fresh tomato-cucumber-and-feta salad. Pro tip: Pack up half to-go so you have room for Bailey’s-chocolate crêpe. New American: Nancy’s Hustle
You can thank some nods to the Mediterranean for the pair of irresistible lamb dishes at this eclectic hot spot. It’s hard to order just one plate of the lamb dumplings dressed in spicy tomato sauce and tangy labneh , but console yourself with a dish of olive-dotted lamb tartare, scooped up with warm sesame-crusted flatbread. Lebanese: Sayad Mediterranean Grill
Every Mediterranean restaurant in town does some iteration of the lamb kebab. The proprietary spice blend enlivens the ultra-tender cubes of meat here to make this lamb dish one of our favorites. It’s even better when paired with the frozen lemon mintade. Filed under

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Tucson: Cycling the Sonoran Desert

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 Tucson: Cycling the Sonoran Desert As we arrived in Tucson we heard from our friends Sean and Paul that they were in town visiting Nancy. We wasted no time hooking up for dinner at Safron where we caught up while eating delicious Indian food. Nancy, Paul and Sean invited us to join them on a visit to Biosphere 2 . You may remember the history: they sealed ‘Biospherians’ inside to measure survivability in two missions between 1991 and 1994. Beyond the sculptures on the grounds you can see the glass pyramid structure where the Biospherians lived. The name Biosphere 2 was chosen because it’s modeled on earth, our first biosphere. Currently Biosphere 2 is owned and managed by the University of Arizona (UA) as a research institute. One of their current projects called Model City includes testing these high powered solar collectors to try to generate as much of their own power as possible. The solar collectors were reflecting the clouds and sky overhead. UA now offers educational tours to help support Biosphere 2. Sean and Kristina have on headsets in order to hear the guide as we did the main tour. We learned that within Biosphere 2 there are functioning replicas of an ocean with coral reef, a mangrove wetlands, a tropical rainforest, a savanna grassland and a fog desert. These are all used for research purposes. It was hot inside, like being in a greenhouse. This is the coastal fog desert area. Here we are in the tropical rainforest, which contains over 150 different species of plants. After descending through a tunnel we toured one of the two Biosphere “lungs”. The lungs are large geodesic domes in a simple and elegant design that originally prevented Biosphere 2 from exploding or imploding. Now the lungs help regulate the temperature. The basement is known as the Technosphere and it’s where all the electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems are located. Overall it was a fascinating visit. Nancy, Sean and Paul had visited the Gem and Mineral Show , a big deal here in Tucson. The next day we decided to peek in, and we quickly overwhelmed. They even had dinosaur eggs for sale for a mere $10k. We couldn’t believe it, but we got some snow in early March. It didn’t last more than a few hours and it was beautiful while it was snowing. We joined Indivisible Southern Arizona’s protest against Trump’s fake border wall national emergency in downtown Tucson. We came to Tucson to get in shape by riding our tandem bike. Even though the weather started out cold, we had enough warm cycling clothes to go out and ride a bit right away. The fishhook barrel cactus were fruiting. We rode a lot on The Loop , which runs alongside the banks of the arroyos. Construction of Tucson’s first multi-use non-mechanized path started in 1986, and it quickly became a very popular place to walk and ride. As always we take photos of the interesting bike-related signs. It took a long time for The Loop to actually become a loop; It was only finished in 2018. One day we rode the 87 kilometers of the full loop but several of the sections weren’t that nice so once was enough. On several Saturdays we saw a tandem cycling club riding on The Loop. This is Jack and Libby, whom we met on The Loop. They are both 88 years old and only started riding a tandem 18 years ago. We told them they were an inspiration for us! One Saturday the local rotary club sponsored a group ride called Tour de Cookie. We talked to a family and they hoped to ride about 8 kms between cookie stops like this one. This is the youngest rider we saw, she’s six. Kristina immediately noticed her princess Barbie bike and Hello Kitty helmet. The Loop was also a convenient way for us to get to interesting sights in Tucson. Several times we rode through Catalina State Park via The Loop. Another day we took The Loop out towards Mission San Xavier del Bac. (While there we learned about an upcoming pow wow. We decided to come back for it, so more photos of the mission and pow wow are included below.) One of our favorite rides via The Loop was out to Saguaro National Park. This sign was posted before a very steep descent. We didn’t see any tortoises but there were plenty of bikes, cars and pedestrians in the park. Saguaro cactus can grow as tall as 12 meters. This giant is probably close to 150 years old and was close to the Saguaro National Park’s Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center had this interesting tile sign showing the flora and fauna in the National Park. As the fishhook barrel cactus began losing their fruits, we started seeing lots of this fuchia flowers called Parry’s penstemon. Parry’s penstemon is a favorite food source for hummingbirds in the Sonoran Desert. There was also lots of desert hollyhock blooming by mid March. Here’s a closer look at the flowers. After about a month of training we felt ready to ride partway up Mt Lemmon, the highest peak in the Santa Catalina mountain range. The Native American tribe of this area, the Tohono Oʼodham call the mountains Babad Doʼag , which means frog mountain . The name Tucson is also from the Tohono O’odham’s Cuk Ṣon, which means at the base of the black mountain . This view shows how rocky the area is and we found the geology very interesting. We rode part way up Mt Lemmon on three different days. Each time we were glad we had brought jackets and long fingered gloves for the descents.We stopped a few times to rest and to get closer looks at the scenery like these hoodoos. On our final ride up Mt Lemmon, the brittlebush was flowering at the base of the mountain, adding yellow to the landscape. Brittlebush is in the daisy family. Cycling is very popular in Tucson and we saw several artworks with biking themes. We were surprised by how many artworks were made of tile here. The Loop has some 60 works of art along the trail. This tile mosaic wall features an image reminiscent of Arizona state flag and is entitled Be Kind . Santa Catalina State Park was unveiling this lovely tile mural by Santa Theresa Tile Works . Here’s a close up showing the blooming saguaros with hummingbirds and butterflies. We liked the mosaic tile lizard in Tumamoc and the River of Life by artists Linda Haworth, John Lovegrove and Les Wallach. A closer look at the on the wall revealed quotes in tile, including: “By placing primacy on the earth and by being protective of their environment, the Hohokam forged a social and economic system that enjoyed 1,500 years of ascendency. Emil W Haury” The Hohokum lived in present day Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Chihuahua between AD1 and 1450 and Emil Haury was an anthropologist who studied them. The Hohokum were the ancestors of the Tohono Oʼodham. The Hohokum also inspired the Joining Hands sculptures on The Loop by Chris Tanz. She explains her piece, “The figures come from a large Hohokum clay pot that was used in ceremonies about 1000 years ago. Joining hands, they encircle the ancient vessel, an emblem of communal life. And now they span the path of this park, which is part of a network of parks that will one day encircle the City of Tucson.” Tanz is both an artist and a writer whose public artworks are all located in Arizona, her adopted home. We rode 38 times during our stay in Tucson. Our rides took us frequently by Spoked Cathedral by Joseph Lupiani. We were surprised to see all the metal sculptures were rusted because it felt so dry in Tucson. “The design is reminiscent of a cathedral window, with a vegetative pattern on the lower section tying into the natural world. The star shape on top is based on the Arizona flag.” We came upon this cool sculpture and were happy to learn it was built by the Portland Wheelman. Tucson is home to many cyclists from the northern US and Canada during the winter. Most of the sculpture is made of bike parts, and it is dedicated to bicycle safety. Pete is at the end of the Diamondback Bridge . Constructed by artist Simon Donovan in 2002, the bridge is about 91 meters long. This is Color Wash Pedestrian Bridge on The Loop. Before we learned the name we called it under the waves . This sculpture always make us smile. Tandem Batty Biker Family by Stephen Fairfield is one of three bat-themed sculptures showcasing the role of roosting bats under the bridges along The Loop. It was erected in 2016. Tucson has mostly Mexican free-tailed bats, who are insectovores. This is Extreme Batty Bikers . We read that the artist was representing one bike doing a loop-de-loop.In the third sculpture in the series, Batty Biker , the bat is riding a recumbent bicycle. We saw more cyclists on recumbents here in Tucson than we have anywhere else.We also saw bat graffiti along The Loop. The Loop is open dawn to dusk and we don’t like to ride at night so we didn’t see any real bats. Almost every time we rode we saw at least one roadrunner. Part of the cuckoo family, we think they are handsome birds and it was nice that they aren’t too shy. They are popular with Arizonians. Here’s a link to an interesting article about roadrunners. And this cutie is Arizona’s state bird, the cactus wren. This mural by Joe Pagac was close to our Airbnb so we rode past it each day. If you look close you can see a Gila woodpecker in the saguaro cactus on the left. Gilas frequently nest in saguaros. We didn’t see any Gila monsters here, perhaps because they spend 90% of their time in underground burrows. Joe Pagac is a Tucson native and we saw several of his wonderful whimsical murals of desert scenes. Greetings from Tucson features a woman with agave hair. Our favorite Pagac mural is entitled Epic Rides Mural Tucson, AZ. And here Kristina is posing by his latest, La Encantada. Our new friend Nancy, a recent migrant from the Bay Area, retired and moved to Tucson in lovely home at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. She made a delicious Indian-inspired vegan meal and even shared the leftovers with us! Nancy has frequently gone on walking tours in Kenya’s national parks so we were happy to hear about her adventures over dinner. We have also been experimenting with vegan cooking ourselves, trying to adapt some of our favorite dishes. One day we made variations traditional Southern cuisine inspired by our trip to the Deep South : pulled jackfruit (instead of pork) with barbecue sauce, collard greens, beans, pickled onions, coleslaw and toasted brioche. Kristina has been experimenting with making more healthy desserts by substituting almond flour and honey. She made a vegetarian version of traditional Southern banana pudding with a coconut whipped cream. Traditionally the pudding has a Nilla wafer crust and a lot more sugar. We tried out a few local restaurants and found two favorites that serve either vegan or vegetarian cuisine. One was Zeman’s for delicious Ethiopian cuisine. Our other favorite was Tumerico for their creative vegan and vegetarian Mexican food. We ate at Tumerico a few times. This time Pete had the huitlacoche tostadas and Kristina had the veggie mole. We could finish the large portions because we’ve been riding 5 days a week and our appetites are big. Another time we had Tumerico’s version of tacos al pastor that uses jackfruit instead of pork. Of course we tried making it too, and it’s what gave us the inspiration to try jackfruit in our pulled “pork” barbecue. We stayed in Tucson for two months. One of the great things about staying in the same location for an extended period of time is that we can scratch our puzzle itch. We used our Airbnb’s sheet pans for sorting the pieces. It was a hard puzzle but we persevered and finally completed it. The image is of Remedios Varo’s painting Roulotte . We picked up the puzzle during our last trip to Mexico City . We also picked up disc golf, as we saw several courses while riding on The Loop. During our second disc golf game we had the good fortune to play alongside John, an experienced player who was also visiting the Tucson area. He was really helpful in sharing tips, instructions, and explaining some of the etiquette of disc golf. John even gave us two discs as gifts! Pete is holding the putter he gave us. Tucson has six disc golf courses, all of which are free of charge. Our favorite was the Santa Cruz River Park course because it was well maintained, had good signage, and had the lowest risk in terms of losing a disc. Here Pete is completing a hole by throwing his putter into the basket. The chains help stop the flight of the disc and capture it so that it falls into the basket below. We are finding disc golf challenging and fun. We also went to a show at the Fox Tucson Theater, a cool, restored building from 1930. After sitting empty for 25 years, it was restored and reopened in 2005 and now hosts 100 shows a year. We saw a fantastic Cuban group named Asere! perform. One of the dancers used the Cuban flag as a cape, bringing back memories of our trip to Cuba in 2017. We went back to Mission San Xavier del Bac, this time with Nancy and in her car (rather than on our tandem). The blue sky made the ‘white dove of the desert’ even more picturesque. Kristina and Nancy were checking out the model of the mission while Pete was taking this photo that shows the interesting ceiling. You can see above the rough-hewn beams narrow slats that are actually the dried ribs from the interior of saguaro cactuses. The thick adobe walls meant it was cool inside. The church, built by the Spanish Franciscans, was completed in 1797. Here’s a look at the colorful interior. We liked the Spanish lions near the altar. This photo shows the restored ceiling. From Spain, San Xavier del Bac passed to Mexico in 1821 and then to the US in 1854 with the Gadsden Purchase. Now the mission is located on the Tohono O’odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. Behind the church we entered the pow wow grounds and made our way into the arena where the music and dancing was taking place. The Master of Ceremonies was calling for different Native American styles of dress to parade in the arena. We think these are northern plains fancy dress. Young men and boys were called forth to perform the Grass Dance.This photo shows the back of several beautiful costumes.The Tohono O’odham today are a nation of more than 24,000 people who live on four separate land bases totaling more the 2.7 million acres. Tohono O’odham, means Desert People in the O’odham language. In researching the Tohono O’odham, we learned that their land is split between northern Mexico and southern Arizona.It did not surprise us to learn that the Tohono O’odham oppose a border wall . They state, “There is no word for wall in O’odham.” This photo gives a sense of how many Native Americans participated in the pow wow, which was billed as the largest pow wow in the US. We were mesmerized by this man who danced with hoops. These three men were the eldest people we saw participating in the pow wow. The pow wow had an inclusive quality, with small children being carried in their parent’s arms. We loved the brightly colored clothing at the pow wow. And as spring came to Tucson we started seeing brightly colored wildflowers. These are desert marigolds. The hedgehog cactuses were the first cactus we saw blooming.With similar colors, soon after we saw a blooming purple prickly pear. We are not sure what the name of this cactus is, but the color was so amazing we had to include it. As we rode from our Airbnb to The Loop, we spotted this cactus with a huge flower. It is appropriately named Big Bertha . The flower only lasted a day. The last time we rode in Saguaro National Park we were rewarded with the ocotillos blooming. Here’s a close up of the flowers. The Loop had this charming tiles with different cactus flowers. We were here too early to see the saguaros in bloom, but we did start to see the flower buds forming.We spent a late afternoon at Saguaro National Park, hiking and enjoying the scenery. All the holes in this saguaro made it like a residential high-rise for birds. Saguaros are favorite nesting spots for Gila woodpeckers, gilded flickers and cactus wrens, and we saw all these birds frequently. Although the sky looked threatening, it was pleasant to hike with the clouds and it never felt like it would rain. As the saguaro dies, everything except the ribs deteriorate first, leaving the “bones” of the cactus visible. We liked this photo because of the iconic shape of the saguaro that remains. It’s been a great couple of months in Tucson. Next we head up the coast of California to continue our riding adventures. Posted by

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[Startup Bharat] Meet IIT aspirants turned college dropouts who are now running a foodtech startup in Kota

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Rajasthan’s Tier II city Kota, known as the Mecca for IIT and medical aspirants , welcomes 1.5 million students every year who come to prepare for JEE and other entrance tests. Life-sized banners and hoardings of coaching classes line the roads, and at any given time, you will see a group of students pottering about in the city.
In 2014 , two friends from Purulia , a small town in West Bengal, travelled all the way to Kota with the same aspiration. Abhishek Srivastava (22) and Sameep Agarwal (21) were two of the many IIT aspirants but have now ended up as entrepreneurs in the same city.
The duo founded EatXD Food Services , a venture in the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment in December 2017. Initially serving only North Indian cuisine and biryani, EatXD soon rolled out brands ‘Hotpan Pizza’, ‘Mojo Burger’, and ‘Iceberg Milkshakes’ under its umbrella in 2018.
Abhishek Srivastava and Sameep Agarwal of EatXD
Also read: [Startup Bharat] These entrepreneurs bring the flavours of India to the whole country Brain food
Food keeps students going through all the late night study sessions and revisions. Kota hosts as many student messes as the number of coaching classes in the city. But it is a strength by numbers, not by variety, with most messes dishing out the usual fare – roti, rice, dal, and sabzi.
Bored by the food, and sure that others like them would be feeling the same way, Abhishek and Sameep returned to the city to spice it up. Abhishek adds, “We came to Kota for JEE preparation and knew that the demand for a food brand was quite high.”
Tapping this unorganised QSR segment, EatXD started operations in April 2018, targeting students just like them, who come to the city with high hopes. From drop-outs to entrepreneurs
Unable to crack the JEE test, Abhishek and Sameep went to Bengaluru for their graduation. Abhishek started BCA in Jain University while Sameep went on to join BTech in Computer Software Engineering from Sapthagiri College of Engineering. But this did not excite the duo. “The lack of interesting sessions and avenues for creative learning made us drop out of college,” Abhishek says.
While still in Bengaluru, they noticed the current trend in foodtech: major startups in the sector concentrated their efforts in Tier I markets. This leaves Tier II and III cities highly unorganised, with only international food brands dominating those markets.
Since they lived in Kota for two years, knew their way around the place, and the expectations and demands students there had, it made sense for Abhishek and Sameep to start up there.
EatXD operates four brands under the same 300 sq ft cloud kitchen. “This helps us minimise the operating cost, and the perception that a pizza brand cannot serve good biryani,” Abhishek explains.
They source the raw materials from food processing plants in Delhi and Indore , and weigh each ingredient before they hit the pan. The co-founder adds, “This ensures the same taste and experience every time a customer orders from us.
The menu ranges between Rs 65 for wraps, and goes up to Rs 480 for the non-vegetarian combo. Besides having their own website from where customers can place orders, EatXD has also partnered with Zomato and Swiggy for delivery services. It also has three delivery partners of its own, seven cooks, and one manager. Small towns, big hopes
Starting up was no cakewalk for the duo. Abhishek says, “We faced the challenge of getting hold of the initial investment to set up the kitchen.”
They approached IDBI Bank and received support under the Pradhan Manti MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) and bootstrapped EatXD with an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh. The startup recently received approval from the Government of Rajasthan as well, for a loan of Rs 8 lakh.
Their next challenge was taking the brand to the masses. “We did not have the marketing budget , so we started with social media marketing, and pamphlet distribution to help us grow steadily,” Abhishek adds.
Recalling a memorable experience, he says that they once delivered a birthday order for a Class 12 student, comprising 70 wraps, within two hours.
“Every member of the staff, including us founders, prepared the wraps, and we also sent a complimentary cake,” he recalls.
The student, Chirag, tells YourStory : “EatXD never disappoints me. I have tried almost all their dishes and their quick delivery and packaging are brilliant.” Rising numbers, one dish at a time
Initially serving 150 orders a month , EatXD now serve up to 150 orders each day, with 80 percent customer retention rate. They have grown their revenues from Rs 20,000 a month, initially, to Rs 6 lakh a month. “We are currently growing at a rate of 150 percent on quarter,” Abhishek says. Their target is to clock Rs 1.5 crore this financial year.
A report by Statista states that the Indian F&B industry market size is estimated to reach $46 billion by 2020. EatXD works just like a Fassos or Box8. With none of these being present in Kota, EatXD directly competes with the local restaurants and food joints in the city.
“Currently, the market in Kota is unorganised with only foreign food brands like Domino’s, and McDonald’s,” says Abhishek.
The founders are planning to raise funds this financial year and expand to other cities, including Jodhpur, Indore, and Jaipur. EatXD is planning to start a subscription model soon and hopes to enter the healthy food segment as well.

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Hotel Jobs in Kenya

Position: Cashier – Indian Cuisine Restaurant Location: Mombasa – Kenya Industry: Hospitality Our Client, a first theme and the finest modern Indian restaurant in Kenya is urgently looking to hire a versatile, intelligent and energetic Restaurant Cashier with passion for delivering outstanding service. He/she will be responsible for providing customers with fast and friendly service in foodservice to maintain the restaurant’s energy and help in our Client’s mission of providing each customer with excellent customer service and other matters by performing the following duties; Essential Duties & Responsibilities: · Receive bills from the guest table, receive cash or credit card, process payment and give change if needed · Handle guest complaints with follow up to ensure guest satisfaction · Settle all guest checks in the computerized system and maintain accountability for all financial transactions · Perform daily cash reconciliations and prepare cash for deposit · Verify register and complete the appropriate paperwork at closing · Ensure all credit payments for companies are documented, signed by the manager, and customer information taken down · Appeal to impatient or irritated customers, especially during rush hours · Maintain complete knowledge of point-of-sale and manual systems and procedures. · Post in detail register totals, receipts, shortage, overage and refunds · Prepare and balance cash register; prepare cash for the following business day · Maintaining high hygiene standards at the cashier station · Perform any reasonable duties as required from time to time in order to contribute to the achievement of business Key Competencies & Qualifications: · Diploma in Food & Beverage Service or any other related field from a recognized institution · CPA II, Proficiency in MS Office Suite and/or Accounting applications will be treated as an added advantage · At least 2 years of experience in a similar role in a busy high-end establishment or proficiency in a similar task · Experienced in restaurant POS software/system · Ability to run accurate food service transactions · Familiarity with menu costing procedures · Incredible customer service skills & the ability to help maintain a customer focused culture · Ability to work a flexible schedule of nights, days, weekends, and holidays · Ambitious and driven by over exceeding customer expectations · Excellent interpersonal skills Location: Mombasa – Kenya Industry: Hospitality Our Client, a first theme and the finest modern Indian restaurant in Kenya is urgently looking to hire experienced and talented Indian Cuisine Chef with experience in designing and preparing high-end Indian cuisine. He/she will be accountable for overall success of the daily kitchen operations and other matters by performing the following duties; Essential Duties & Responsibilities: · Preparation, cooking and presenting dishes within your specialty · Assist with stock ordering and monitoring procedures · Maintain high standards of food hygiene and health & safety at all times · Participate fully in all meetings, training and forums · Take responsibility for your own personal development · Demonstrate excellent food preparation practices, portion control and end to end food production · Supporting the Head Chef to deliver on all establishment’s measures & targets · Follow all Restaurant’s operational kitchen process and procedures, achieving all required standards · Take responsibility for delivering the highest measures of food production and presentation to customers including manning the live cooking stations if required · Monitor food consumption to ensure 100% customer satisfaction and waste control to maintain profit margins · Support the Head Chef in the introduction of new seasonal dishes · Suggested innovation and commercially viable ideas to improve food quality · Perform any reasonable duties as required from time to time in order to contribute to the achievement of business Key Competencies & Qualifications: · Diploma in Culinary Arts or any other related field from a recognized institution · Must have at least 4-5 years’ culinary experience in a high-volume, full-service restaurant · Expertise in Tandoori, Curry and/or Gujarati cooking · Passion for food and an innovative approach with extensive experience in Indian cuisine · Must be an all-rounder and be able to support both the curry and tandoori sides of the kitchen · Excellent knowledge of relevant food and health & safety regulations · Thrives under pressure in a high volume food environment · Possess/develop a food & customer focused approach to work · High standard of personal hygiene · High level of enthusiasm and drive to achieve high standards · Hard working, flexible and prepared for change · Ambitious and driven by over exceeding customer expectations · Excellent interpersonal skills · Familiarity with menu costing procedures If you’re up to the challenge, kindly send CV and cover letter only to recruitment@linkarkconsultants.com before close of business 12th April 2019. Clearly indicate the position applied for and expected salary on the subject

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World’s most expensive countries and their cheaper, cooler alternatives

World’s most expensive countries and their cheaper, cooler alternatives Kevin Brouillard 08:27, Apr 10 2019 Reddit BROOK SABIN From dining in a pitch black room full of strangers, to finding a theme park inside a shopping mall – Kiwis Brook Sabin and Radha Engling discover another side of Kuala Lumpur. 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 123RF A panoramic view of lovely Ljubljana, capital of 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 US$200 (NZ$297) and US$500, with cities like Zurich and Geneva on the higher end. Lift day passes hover between US$40 and US$70, depending on location, and apres-ski activities and dinner are often much steeper. READ MORE: * The budget and blow-out destinations for hotel bookings 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 US$100. 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 US$30 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 BROOK SABIN Kuala Lumpur is an exciting city with plenty to do. 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 US$150 and US$300 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. 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 US$50 to US$75, while US$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 3. SKIP JAPAN AND VISIT TAIWAN COLLEEN HAWKES Taiwan provides an interesting alternative to Japan. 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 US$200 or more, while luxury accommodations can exceed US$1000 per night. The famed train system may be convenient, but a one-way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto costs around US$120. 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 ISTOCK A beach in Salalah, 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 $150 and $250, while luxury options creep above US$500 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 US$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 123RF The Indian Ocean has no shortage of idyllic islands, so stretch your travel budget further and head to Mauritius instead. 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 tantalising 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 US$200 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 snorkelling. 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 aroundUS $200 per night, which is a huge value compared to the Maldives. Mauritius Hotel Pick: Tropical Attitude – Oyster.com

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Here’s why there’s free food at Vaisakhi 2019 parades

Here’s why there’s free food at Vaisakhi 2019 parades DH Vancouver Staff Apr 09, 2019 12:19 pm 511
If you’ve ever attended a Vaisakhi parade you know that food is a big part of the festivities.
Every year, hundreds of families cook up delectable Indian cuisine and give away free food along the parade routes. See also These are all the events celebrating Sikh Heritage Month in BC
For these families, spending hours stuffing samosas and frying up pakoras is a labour of love.
The act is a form of sewa, a word meaning selfless service, and it is a fundamental principle of the Sikh religion.
Here’s where to find delicious free eats made with purpose during Vaisakhi 2019.

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THE FOOD
I had free breakfasts at my motel and 5 meals sorted at the opera. Here are the places where I chose to eat out.
OLD PERSONAL FAVORITES (in chronological order)
I have a few restaurants that are my favorites whenever I come to Santa Fe and I try to eat at them when in town. Fortunately, 2 weeks gave me time to both do that and experience a lot of new places.
JAMBO CAFÉ: The last time I had stayed in Santa Fe, they were unfortunately closed…because someone had accidently driven their car into the dining room (fortunately, no injuries all around)! But I was excited to get back there on this trip and so went my first night in Santa Fe. I started with the Cinnamon-Dusted Plantains ($5.95) that came with a pineapple curry dipping sauce. Oh, so good! For my main, I had Lamu Coconut Pili Pili Shrimp ($15.95), an entrée I hadn’t tried before. Definitely “on the list!” Finished up with Jamaican Rum Pecan Pie a la mode ($5.95). I get this almost every time and was not disappointed. Oh, and some coffee ($2.29). Everything I’ve tried at Jambo Café has been excellent with service to match.
TECOLOTE: This time around I tried the Huevos Yucatecos ($11.95) and it’s my new favorite here. The green chile had a great kick and I was sweating! I’ve always loved their “No Toast” motto…especially because the Bakery Basket that’s included is so good. A nice cup of Joe rounded out my meal.
TUNE-UP CAFÉ: Everything was as excellent as ever…the food, the service, and the ambience (casual…which I prefer). I opted to order items I’ve loved before: Mole Colorado Enchiladas, Blood Orange Agave Wine Margarita, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie à la mode, and coffee. $29.61 with tip.
LA CHOZA : My personal favorite New Mexican restaurant in Santa Fe. Solid, excellent choices that never disappoint. This time around I had a cup of Green Chile Clam Chowder (one of the best; $5) and the Carne Adovada Enchilada Plate ($12.50), which I loved.
PALACIO CAFÉ: My favorite lunch place in Santa Fe. I love sandwiches and they have so many great options. This time around I had a Palacio Club ($9.75) with Chips ($1.50) on a Wednesday. I came right back the next day and had my first B.L.T.A. ($8.50) with Turkey (add $1), Chips ($1.50), and Iced Tea ($2.75). On the second day, they kind of tag teamed the service and it worked very nicely. I did note that they now serve breakfast all day, which I don’t think is indicated on the website. Also, they now have a daughter café: PALACIO CAFÉ 2: I was pleased to discover this second Palacio Café since it was open on Tuesdays and the original is not. Same great menu. More seating inside and out. Not as busy as the original, probably due to location, but just as worth visiting for a meal. I had the Cuban Reuben ($8.50), Fries ($2.75), and Iced Tea ($2.75). Excellent service. Excellent food. Between these two locations, I had 3 meals which is the only locations that I plan on multiple visits on my trips to Santa Fe.
KAKAWA CHOCOLATE HOUSE : They have never failed to be awesome! This time I tried the Green Chile Caramel, Red Chile Caramel, Caramelized Passionfruit Truffle, and Caramelized Goat Cheese and Sage Truffle. Yum! To this I added a Meso-American Chili Elixer with Whipped Cream (which they suggest but don’t tell you it’s extra…shoulda known). Be prepared to spend some bucks…my total was $22.65, but worth it. I ended up relaxing, reading, drinking, and eating my caramels and truffles for about an hour.
NEW FAVORITES
CLAFOUTIS: I tried out this place on canbelto’s recommendation. I ended up eating here twice which tells you what I thought of the recommend! First time I had the Quiche Chile Vert et Bacon ($8.50) and Iced Tea ($2.50). Second time I tried a cup of the Soupe à l’Oignon ($2.75) and Sandwich Salami ($7.95). I enjoyed both of these meals and Clafoutis has moved to the “must eat lunch at” list when in Santa Fe. I found it humorous that, at this French café, I was greeted with “What would you like, señor?” (I’m sure deliberate by the waiter but still funny.) Note: Parking can be an issue. On my first visit I had to wait a few minutes for someone to leave.
CACAO: THE ART OF CHOCOLATE: I visited Cacao (on Casa Azul’s recommendation)…right before my visit to Kakawa Chocolate House. I had 4 extraordinary chocolates: Red Chile Raspberry, Ginger Cashew, Passionfruit, and Roasted Caramel Sea Salt. All very, very good. I also had a Prickly Pear Lemonade which, with the ice, was not very much. I wouldn’t have that again. Total cost was $18.27 so, like Kakawa, be prepared for some expense. The service was really slow until the manager noticed, stepped in, and fixed it all. Kudos to her! Would definitely visit again.
TIA SOPHIA ’S: I can’t believe that with my many trips to Santa Fe, this was first visit to Tia Sophia. It will not be my last! Excellent New Mexican food at low price. I had the Carne Adovada Burrito for a total of $10.84 for a late lunch just before they were closing. Very convenient when in the Plaza area.
TORTILLA FLATS: Went on Casa Azul’s recommendation. Terrific! Normally, I don’t get ribs (too much work for too little meat), but the Red Chile Pork Ribs for $15.99 sounded worth abandoning my preferences. They were! Loved them! I liked that Tortilla Flats gave a choice of pinto or black beans since I much prefer black beans. Came with 2 Sopaipillas. Tried their Flan al Caramelo ($5.29) for dessert. Best flan I’ve ever had…which is saying a lot. Tortilla Flats is definitely on the “repeat eats” list for me! Note that while I didn’t got to Meow Wolf on this trip (I’ve been before and highly recommended!), this restaurant is very close and could pair nicely with a visit.
INDIA HOUSE: I added this one based on canbelto’s recommendation. They were one of the few restaurants on my option list open later on Sundays, which I needed for an after concert dinner. The service was great, even late in the day. I know I like Indian food, but I don’t “know” Indian food so I chose the Rani Dinner ($25.95; on my waiter’s recommendation). I was not disappointed! A sampler including vegetable pakoras, lamb curry, chicken makhani, malai kofta, onion kulcha, peas pallao, tea, and mango custard. While I can’t compare to any other restaurant’s take on these dishes, I enjoyed every one of them and would order this again. Bonus: They played authentic traditional Indian music. I really prefer ethnic restaurants that also play the ethnic music. Very enjoyable!
PAPER DOSA: Another Casa Azul recommendation. This was my first time for South Indian cuisine. While I have enjoyed all the Indian food I’ve previously had, I think I like this style the best (sorry, India House, but I still like you, too). I had the waiter help me order since I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up with Rasam ($5), Lamb Keema Dosa ($13), Homemade Lemon Pickle ($1), Passion Fruit Custard ($7.50), and Thistly Cross Ginger Cider ($10). What a great meal! I LOVE this place and will definitely return.
LOS POTRILLOS : Sorry, I forgot to record who recommended this place to me on TA, but they were right! What a great meal! First, I was served chips with 3 very interesting and good salsas. Throughout I had VERY good and friendly service. My main was Molcajete al Pastor (pork and pineapple grilled with onions, jalapeño, chef’s special sauce) served with tortillas, beans, tomato/pineapple, and lettuce. All for $14.95. Throw in the House Margarita for $6.95 and my meal was complete. I’ll be back.
COUNTER CULTURE CAFÉ: I love that I’ve found this place! I’ve been looking for a coffee place in Santa Fe with good coffee and food where I wouldn’t mind hanging out a bit. Ohori didn’t do it for me. This is it! I spent 3 hours on a Saturday and a bit over 2 hours on a Sunday. The first day I had the excellent Cowboy Bowl and Coffee. The next I had the definitely sinful Cinnamon Roll that was as big as a house and Coffee.
OTHER DINING
These are places I liked (there was no place that I didn’t like), but aren’t on my “favorites” list. I would eat at any of them again, though, if convenient.
THE PANTRY: This was my first visit to The Pantry. Given the time and my willingness to sit at the counter, there was no wait. I had the Waffle Combo which was good and I’d get it again. I do have to say, though, that The Pantry seems to me to be “ordinary” good, the kind of place I’d gladly visit again. But I don’t understand the raves that I’ve seen for this place, nor do I understand the long lines that can form at this place. Just one viewpoint. I’ll still be back if convenient.
GABRIEL ’S: I’ve been to Gabriel’s before and I like them. But contrary to the received wisdom on these forums, I don’t see them as a must visit place, at least not for me. My plans changed on one of my days and Gabriel’s was a really convenient place for lunch so I stopped in and had Chicken, Scallops, and Tiger Prawn Fajitas ($15.95). All very good and I recommend the dish. I was seated outside at my request…but wouldn’t you know it, a monsoon hit while still eating. I ended up retreating to a table under the roof and quite enjoyed the experience.
SECOND STREET BREWERY : I ended up eating dinner here only because I was planning on catching a free concert right outside their doors in the Railyard. I’m so glad I did. I had a Fatty Burger (their version of the Green Chile Cheeseburger with bacon) for $14 and worth every penny. Added in a Coffee Porter and Dragon’s Blood for a very enjoyable meal. Unexpected discovery at the Railyard!
PLAZA CAFÉ: An old reliable on the plaza. I ate here for a late dinner on a Sunday night after a concert. Just a Cobb Salad ($13.25) which was excellent. As a solo traveler, I generally eat at the counter to avoid a long wait. I didn’t need to this time, though.

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