Where to eat in Oman
Where to eat in Oman
From dining on the cliff edge to tasting authentic Omani recipes – here’s our pick of the best restaurants for a taste of local flavor
As with most Gulf countries, Oman has its share of decent restaurants inside high-end hotels. But let’s begin our culinary journey by highlighting some of the best-known independent venues in Muscat itself. If your sole aim is to sample genuine Omani cuisine, seek out Kargeen Restaurant (+968 2469 9055), which is a firm favourite among locals and expats alike. Named after the Omani word for ‘little wooden cottage’, the décor is characterised by dark wood and tapestries, while outside you can enjoy a beautiful candlelit dinner on the lawn. Order the traditional shuwa dish (usually saved for special occasions) and you’ll be brought beef or lamb wrapped up tightly in banana leaves and sprinkled with a generous helping of herbs and spices. Served straight out of a smouldering underground oven, the dish was a staple for Bedouins and Omani villagers, who would cook their meat for up to 48 hours.
Turkish House Restaurant (+968 2448 8071) on Al Hadiqa Street is widely considered to serve some of the best Levantine cuisine in Muscat. Don’t be fooled by the minimalist and unassuming décor – the food here is first rate, and in particular the seafood. The grilled fish and shrimp tajin with red sauce, served with homemade bread, is a firm favourite, although many guests also choose from the sizeable selection of fresh seafood, including calamari, red snapper and Omani lobster. Wash it down with the fresh melon drink served in a whole honeydew melon.
The Indian influence is strong in Oman, and the cuisine is well represented at Kurkum (+968 2471 1143), located between the main entrance to Mutrah Souq and the impressive fort. This modern, fine dining restaurant has tables outside offering views of Port Sultan Qaboos, and a clean, crisp interior. The crab and fish dumplings, and chickpea mango with fresh coconut are just a couple of the many standout dishes.
“Omani lobster is popular, as is the frankincense ice cream for dessert”
For a cultural setting, head to Al Angham (+968 2207 7777) at Royal Opera House Muscat. Local dishes such as harees (coarsely-ground wheat mixed with meat), lamb stew and Omani lobster are popular, as is the frankincense ice cream for dessert. The Beach Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat Oman
Of course, there are plenty of fabulous restaurants to tempt you within the walls of the Sultanate’s luxury hotels. If the weather is forgiving enough, you can’t beat a seat outside at The Beach Restaurant (+968 2452 4343) at The Chedi Muscat. You’ll get a taste of the beach in more ways than one, with sparkling panoramas that are sure to catch your eye, and first-rate seafood (from Beluga caviar to plump oysters) to please the palate. We say go all out by sampling the degustation menu – it’ll give you a little more time to soak up the marvellous view. Tuscany at Grand Hyatt Muscat Oman
If Italian tops your list, you’d do well to make a reservation at the award-winning Tuscany (+968 2464 1234). Located at Grand Hyatt Muscat, this restaurant has a terrace overlooking the pool and beach. All the pasta is made fresh and pizzas come straight out of a wood-fired oven. The tagliatelle lamb shank and lobster risotto are long-standing favourites, and the drinks list is decent.
You can taste authentic recipes from Oman, featuring ingredients harvested from the Arabian Sea and local farms, at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort’s Al Qalaa (+968 2521 8000). The Arabic restaurant is inspired by Khasab Castle in Musandam – think hanging lanterns and a sweeping mountain backdrop. Alternatively, head to all-day dining spot Al Maisan (+968 2521 8000) for regional specialities. Takara at InterContinental Muscat, Oman
If Oriental cuisine is your bag, seek out modern Japanese bites at Takara at InterContinental Muscat (+968 2468 0000). The hotel’s newest restaurant, you can expect a side of drama with your meal thanks to the teppenyaki area and sushi and sashimi bar. The hotel is also home to a Trader Vic’s , a lively spot for French Polynesian inspired fusion dishes and a selection of exotic drinks served in novelty cups.
Another Asian dining experience to tick off your list is China Mood (+968 2479 9666) in the majestic Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The inspired décor blends Chinese calligraphy and birdcages, with outdoor pagoda tents – all of which enhances the ambience. And when you do get down to ordering, you’ll find both Szechwan and Cantonese styles laid out before you. Try the crispy mushrooms and shrimp dim sum for starters while, for main, the crispy duck, lobster and sautéed king prawns all come highly recommended.
Over at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Al Tanoor (+968 2477 6565) serves classic cuisines of the Arabian Gulf in a traditional Omani setting. A lavish buffet is laid out, but you can choose to dine à la carte if you prefer. You can also taste the locally caught seafood at Bait Al Bahar (+968 2477 6565), complete with uninterrupted views of the Omani Gulf.
Moving out of the capital, you’ll find even more restaurants with a view that are sure to tug at your taste buds. For an elevated dining experience, there are few better places to start than Six Senses Zighy Bay’s signature restaurant Sense on the Edge (+968 2673 5555). Take a seat on its alfresco terrace and you’ll find yourself at one with the mountainous landscape, sitting on a cliff top and admiring far-reaching views of the sparkling sea. The cuisine is just as spectacular as the vistas. Fresh fare comes plucked from the resort’s organic garden, with fish caught from the surrounding waters, and extra touches, such as local dates, ramping up the flavour.
Heading south to Salalah, and you’ll find Palm Grove (+968 2321 1234) at the Hilton Salalah Resort, which serves up a stellar setting on the beach with a menu that sees fish flipped, grilled and cooked in all manner of styles – from Asian to Arabic – promising something for everyone. Just don’t head here between June and September or you’ll leave empty-bellied, as it closes for the monsoon season.
At Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Salalah, head to Darbat Restaurant (+968 2323 8035), which has a menu boasting bespoke recipes created by a panel of culinary ambassadors. Try the wasabi prawn with mango salsa by Chef Sam Leong, or the rice noodles with lobster by Chef Ian Kittichai. Mekong at Al Baleed Resort Salalah Oman
Meanwhile, Mekong (+968 2322 8250), at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, serves up the flavourful cuisines of China, Thailand and Vietnam. Try the authentic pho beef noodle soup, an aromatic broth with rice noodles, cilantro, spring onion, bean sprouts, fresh basil, lime, chilli-garlic sauce and sliced beef. Finally, at the same hotel, the bespoke Dining by Design experience, which takes place on a serene slice of sand, offers a curated collection of menus to pick from. Or, for a true taste of culinary extravagance, you can collaborate with a personal chef to tailor a fine feast that ticks all the boxes. The sounds of the Indian Ocean and the salty air will forever leave a reminder of this beautiful country – a delicious memory of your time in Oman.
^I love Pakistani food…I know it’s a subtle difference (to me) between that and Indian food, but I love all of it. I’m kind of a spice wimp so I don’t eat the stuff that will blow your head off. I wish I could, but my tastebuds don’t agree.
I realized I never said why I picked my choices.
Italian food because it has everything – pasta, seafood, cheese. I’m usually pretty polite but I told someone their face once that I thought they were flat out weird and something was wrong with them for not liking Italian food. I just can’t relate to that. Even/especially the healthy stuff.
Southern American cuisine because I feel like it’s underrated and it incorporates cooking from a ton of different cultures and also because fried chicken is manna. But there is so much more to it than fried chicken and barbecue. It takes a lot of very cheap and readily available foods and elevates them to something divine that you can dress up or down. And then there’s just Cajun food by itself and I could easily live on that, too. It’s not all fried junk food…it’s just hardy.
Japanese food because it’s amazing, it’s full of seafood, it’s beautiful to look at, and I feel like even the deep fried choices are “healthier” and lighter than other stuff. Desserts are less sweet. And you feel less guilt for fried food and carbs because it’s pretty balanced as long as you eat the ten bazillion veggies you can get with it. Also because sushi.
Mexican food probably for the same reasons I love American food – it’s more versatile than Taco Hell will have you believe – but also because I crave chilies and jalapenos often. Honestly, I probably crave Mexican food the most – the smell of the corn tortillas, the spices…must stop talking about it now.
@ Chalet – that looks so good! I make something like that…spinach pinwheel something or other, but it’s basically rolled up lasagna with spinach in it. “AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE.”
Sharpen your chopsticks: Where to find the best Asian street food in Dubai
Go on a food journey through Asia with these no-fuss eateries…
Dubai plays host to a number of pan-Asian and fusion restaurants that ooze sophistication and oh-so-delicate dishes.
But if you want to load up on authentic Asian street food with no fuss, there are loads of no-frills, wonderful restaurants in Dubai that will bring you all the authentic flavours of South-east Asia, from Thailand to Korea or China and loads in between.
From crispy Korean chicken wings to colourful made-to-order wok creations, these places will have you feeling like you’re wandering down a bustling street in Asia. Wok Boyz
The brainchild of three guys from Dubai who are passionate about Asian street food, Wok Boyz is an explosion of Asian artistic creation, both in the menu and in the loud and colourful design of the cafe. ‘Freestyle’ your own wok special with your choice of base, veggies, sauces and protein and see it cooked right there in front of you.
Wok Boyz, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Durrah Tower, Dubai, Sat to Wed 11am to 4pm, Thurs & Fri 11am to 4pm. Tel: (04) 330 0060. wokboyz.com ALSO READ: The best gluten-free restaurants in Dubai Streetery
This awesomely authentic Asian food hall has been causing a stir ever since it opened in JLT back in January. Pick from vendors with quirky names like Fat Aunts, King Hee or Zen, then perch up at one of the rustic tables with colourful chairs and devour your favourite Asian dish with wooden chopsticks.
Streetery Food Hall, Cluster D, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, daily 11am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 5873373. @streetery Daikan Ramen
Love your Ramen bowls? You need to check out Daikun Ramen, the walk-in bar in JLT, where you can get the noodle treat alongside traditional Asian Bao Buns. It might not be the fanciest restaurant inside, but it’s definitely up there with some of the best Ramen around.
Daikan Ramen, Lakeshore Tower, Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai, 11.30am to 11pm, daily. facebook.com/daikanramen Mango Tree
Mango Tree in JBR is more of a restaurant than a quick grab and go, but it’s well worth it for their delicious Thai street food dishes. Head there on a Wednesday for unlimited dishes served from 7pm till 9pm for Dhs99 per person, with dishes like crispy spring rolls to start and Pad Thai for main. They also have a daily happy hour from 5pm to 7pm with drinks starting at Dhs28.
Mango Tree Thai Bistro, Hilton Dubai, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 374 7555. facebook.com/MangoTreeJBR Vietnamese Foodies
Savour the flavours of South Vietnam without worrying about your waistline at Vietnamese Foodies. Vietnamese Foodies is super health-conscious, using fresh vegetables and lean meat or seafood, cooked in water or 14-hour broth instead of cooking oil. There’s a branch in JLT and a recently opened second spot Downtown.
Vietnamese Foodies, Cluster D, JLT, Dubai, 11am to 10.30pm Sunday to Wednesday, 11am to 11.00pm Thursday to Saturday. Tel: (04) 565 6088. vietnamesefoodies.com Asian 5
Asian5 promises fresh Asian street food with dishes from Thailand, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. Vegans can get in on the action too as they have a number of special plates that definitely won’t compromise on taste.
Asian5, Al Murooj Complex, Downtown Dubai, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9.30pm, closed Fri & Sat. Tel: (04) 325 99 55. asian5restaurant.com 24th St.
24th St is worth a visit, not only for its expertly crafted Indian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine, but for the atmosphere of the restaurant itself. The layout of food stations means you really will feel like you’re in an Asian food hall.
24th St Asian Street Food, Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Tel: (04) 317 4515. facebook.com/24thStDubai Asian Kitchen
This pan-Asian restaurant has been steadily growing its popularity on The Palm, however, recently they’ve also opened another branch in Jebel Ali. Head to the one on Palm Jumeirah for stunning views out across the water and try dishes such as their flavour-packed seafood curry.
Asian Kitchen, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 568 7439. facebook.com/AsianKitchenDubai Miss Tess
Stepping into Miss Tess feels like you’ve jumped into a backstreet in Asia, with patchwork and brick walls, colourful umbrellas and multi-coloured lanterns hanging from the ceiling. There’s even a neon-lit Tuk Tuk structure in the middle to really put you into the scene and the Asian street food bites, consisting of traditional fish cakes, chicken spring rolls and deep fried tofu are served in a wheel designed for two.
Miss Tess, Taj Dubai, Business Bay, daily 6pm to late. Tel: (050) 498 8505. misstessdubai.com Cafe Isan
This cute little cafe nestled in JLT is the perfect pit stop to grab some North-eastern Thai food. They do loads of great combos, or, if you’re really hungry, try their full moon bucket of wings and fries with a special Thai marinade served with chilli sauce and garlic mayo.
Cafe Isan, Waterfront, Cluster M, JLT, Dubai, Sun to Wed 12pm to 10pm, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 11pm, Tel: (058) 287 3181. facebook.com/cafeisan The Noodle House
There’s loads of branches of The Noodle House dotted around the city, but we recommend heading to the one at the Madinat Jumeirah for the unbeatable atmosphere and views over the aquamarine waters. At the moment they’re celebrating Malaysian cuisine with their ‘Feed Your Asian Soul’ campaign where you’ll get a set menu for Dhs100.
The Noodle House, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 11.3oam to 11.30pm. Tel: 800 666 353. thenoodlehouse.com Wise Kwai
Wise Kwai is definitely a restaurant that you won’t forget in a hurry, with funky multi-coloured chairs and tables, featuring artistic lights hanging overhead. Try their Nuea Phayu Foon (Dhs50) ,which is strips of marinated crispy beef in roasted rice. For when it’s not so hot, it’s got a really cute outdoor area too, adorned with twinkling fairy lights.
Wise Kwai, Barsha Heights, Dubai, Sun to Thurs 12pm to 2pm and 6.30pm to 11pm, Fri & Sat 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 567 2247. wisekwai.com
Sun City offers diverse culinary options with new tasting menus…
Authentically South African but with a truly global appeal, Sun City continues to be one of the most exciting and innovative conferencing destinations for local and international companies. Appealing to the diversity of guests who visit the resort requires innovation and creativity – especially when it comes to food.
The new tasting menus reflect Sun City’s global clientele, offering guests the chance to sample the flavours from around the world. Companies can choose from several tasting menus featuring dishes from different countries, allowing them to customise the culinary experience with the conference experience for their delegates. Gone are the traditional buffets that are typically available at conferences.
“We want our guests to experience authentic African hospitality and cuisine but we also want them to taste the world,” says Chef Willie Mcotoyi, the Executive Chef of the Sun City Convention Centre and mastermind behind Sun City’s new conferencing food concept.
“Cooking Unites” is this dynamic chef’s rallying call. He explains that he is committed to sharing the knowledge he has gained over the years through teaching and mentoring all those who want to learn. “I am a firm believer that through cooking, all cultures can be united, hence my rallying motto.” When seeing what is on offer on Chef Willie’s all-new taste menus, it is evident that he lives his motto every day.
From Asian and South African to Indian or Mexican cuisine, Chef Willie and his team have done the due diligence to ensure the authenticity of every dish. It does not get more authentic (but with a twist) than the “Taste of South Africa” option. Chef Willie explains that this theme is more about “Braai-ing” and live cooking stations.
Menu tastings are conducted in the resort’s bespoke venue called the Show Lab, where clients are provided with different options to assist them in making their choices. The first taste menus were introduced during February this year as the team decided to integrate them slowly.
When asked how the menus have been received, a prideful Chef Willie tells of a regular corporate client who recently selected the “Taste of Mexico” menu. “It was well received and enjoyed as it was in line with their themed function.”
For more information on conferencing at Sun City or to book a conference call them on +27 14 557 1000.
Utah’s ‘Tandoori Taqueria’ Brings Unexpected Indian Spice To Cowboy Country
Enlarge this image Five years ago, Ripple Desai opened the Tandoori Taqueria in her hometown of Panguitch, Utah, tapping into a growing tourist market. Kirk Siegler/NPR Kirk Siegler/NPR Five years ago, Ripple Desai opened the Tandoori Taqueria in her hometown of Panguitch, Utah, tapping into a growing tourist market.
Kirk Siegler/NPR Rural southern Utah is cowboy country, and with it comes a deserved reputation of being a meat and potatoes kind of place. So after a recent three-day hiking trip in Bryce Canyon National Park, when Kim Johnson saw a sign advertising a Tandoori Taqueria, she pulled over immediately.
Johnson and her family, who live in Salt Lake City, are vegetarian.
“We’ve eaten a lot of Subway sandwiches [this trip],” she says, laughing. “And a lot of large side salads because it’s a pretty meaty environment here.”
Inside, the family grinned as they dug into heaping plates of cauliflower tacos, with garbanzo beans, smoky Mexican spices and tomatillo chutney.
“They’re not flavors we’ve had for the last few days in rural southern Utah,” Johnson says.
Enlarge this image Ripple Desai talks with costumers at the Tandoori Taqueria. Kirk Siegler/NPR Kirk Siegler/NPR Ripple Desai talks with costumers at the Tandoori Taqueria.
Kirk Siegler/NPR And that’s exactly the idea. Five years ago, Ripple Desai opened the Tandoori Taqueria in her hometown of Panguitch, which has population of about 1,500. The Tandoori Taqueria definitely stands out on the town’s short main drag among several mom and pop coffee shops and diners, a Family Dollar and NAPA Auto Parts store.
“I’m Indian, my parents are both from India,” says Desai, quickly adding, “And, I love tacos.”
Her menu is a fusion of traditional Indian dishes with that beloved Mexican staple — tacos. She uses naan bread as the tortilla. Over a busy recent lunch hour, customers packed the tidy dining room eating slow-roasted beef chorizo tacos topped with tomatillo chutney, spicy pozole with pork marinated in a turmeric dry rub and a dish called curry a la verazcruzana, chicken and garbanzo beans in a roasted red pepper sauce. Every dish is cooked to order in a small kitchen off the dining area.
Enlarge this image A sampling of tacos wrapped in naan bread from the Tandoori Taqueria. Kirk Siegler/NPR Kirk Siegler/NPR A sampling of tacos wrapped in naan bread from the Tandoori Taqueria.
Kirk Siegler/NPR The Salt How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation? “I wanted to do something completely different,” Desai says. “I wanted to make sure that you’re eating something unlike anything else you’ve had.”
The Taqueria mostly caters to tourists who visit Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks and the nearby Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Desai says she did get a few second looks initially from locals. But she was used to it. They were the only Indian family in a mostly white, Mormon town for most of her childhood. Her parents still own the motel they bought in the 1980s, down the street from the restaurant, which is in a building Ripple’s father also owned.
Desai recalls fondly begging her mom to make tacos as a kid — her mom mostly made traditional Gujrati dishes from her native state of Gujrati in India, lots of spices, lentils, vegetables and rice. She grew up learning to cook it.
“And that’s what my mom [still] makes every single day, even to this day,” Desai says. “That’s what I have when I leave here at 10 p.m. and go home.”
Her mom, Tarla Desai is always cooking, except when she stops into her daughter’s Taqueria for a snack.
Enlarge this image Ripple Desai and her mother Tarla Desai in Panguitch, Utah. Kirk Siegler/NPR Kirk Siegler/NPR Ripple Desai and her mother Tarla Desai in Panguitch, Utah.
Kirk Siegler/NPR “She samples everything,” Ripple says, adding that she’s always letting her know if her rice is too crispy or if a dish needs more seasoning.
It’s clear though that Tarla is proud of her daughter.
“She’s doing good, everyone loves it,” Tarla says. “She has a business mind and got the Indian cooking style.”
And Mom is playing another key role. Every winter when the tourists leave, she and Ripple’s father close up their hotel and travel, usually home to India. They return in the spring with spices in two 50-pound suitcases.
It’s what gives those tasty chicken tikka tacos that extra kick.
2 Bedroom Apartment / Flat for rent in Madhapur, Hyderabad
Builder Floor in Sri Sangameshwara nilayam Parvath Nagar, Madhapur, Madhapur, Hyderabad (Telangana) Area: 750 SqFeet Rate: 17 per SqFeet -5% Available: Immediate/Ready to move Description The property is located in parvath nagar, madhapur just behind fortune indra villa. From fortune indra villa take the next left and second right. On the top of the building you will see a jio tower.The vacancy is on the first floor
When you contact, don’t forget to mention that you found this ad on PropertyWala.com. Features Floor: 1st of 3 Floors 1 to 5 years old Society: Sri Sangameshwara nilayam Price Trends Madhapur, Hyderabad Apartments / Flats for rent in Madhapur, Hyderabad This property is priced approximately -5% under the average for an Apartments / Flats for rent in Madhapur, Hyderabad (Rs.18/SqFeet) * Disclaimer: Data may be approximate. Locality Reviews Madhapur, Hyderabad A Group of MNC’S are located Mindspace of hi-tech cityone of prime location in Hyderabad locality to expand business operations Pros: 22 days ago by Putluru Mahesh Madhapur becomes IT hub for establishing corporate companies with group of similar companies having side by side where meeting end to end solutions at one place many MNC companies where came across to promote business vision Pros: High Speed of internet connectivity Metro stations are nearby One of the hot locality in Hyderabad . It’s like cosmopolitan having every culture here. Pros: by Hyderabad Estate (Hyderabad Estate) Madhapur city developed fastly within 10 – 15 years fast growing IT hubs and residential / commercial zones within heart of new city called CYBERABAD with all educated professions settled in this cyberabad city connecting to all major roads and connnecting ORR and entertainments like star hotels, pubs, exhibition centres hitex and marriage halls hifi hospitals schools and colleges any parts of the country can settle here with peaceful and good oxygen here in this area people are healthy, there were no polluted companies, in this area people enjoy like western countries saturday and sunday week holidays people move around inorbit malls, shilpa ramam handicrafts exhibition beside hitec tower food areas like paradis court, kfc, snookers, pubs, star hotels all parts of country people u may find out in future US embassy is going to come near kondapur – gachibowli areas its constliest city in Hyderabad in this area less crime because cctv cameras are more to cover any type of offences so anybody can stay in this zone its free zone and also people can invest their hard earned earnings in this area either to purchase plots,flats independent house row house in gated community all top class people like doctors, lawyers, judges, business men, celebrities are settled in this madhapur area, i love this area very much because within short span of time i have seen this type of city cyberabad has grown fastly other than any other city. Pros: VERY GOOD LOCATION NEARBY ALL FACILITIES SCHOOLS COLLEGES JOBS HOTELS HOSPITALS AND ENTERTAINMENTS Better to be early at home please dont go to lonely areas and new areas developing in some areas no cc tv cameras beware Posted: Jul 7, 2016 by Raj Kumar Madhapur is a part of prime business district of hyderabad . It is a part of the IT Corridor of hitec city. It has a cosmo touch to it with a presence of young IT professionals working here from all parts of India. It is the hub of many startup companies and has rentals ranging from a Rs. 30/- per sqft to Rs. 65./- per sqft for a fully furnished office space. Thus it caters to clients ranging from start up to large mnc’s. The place also has variety of restaurants covering most of the indian cuisine. There are ample options for people looking for residential options in and around madhapur. Pros: IT corridor with cosmo culture Excellent connectivity to all modes of transport Flexible rental options suiting all clients ranging from startup to large MNC Cons: Shortage of A grade space Lack of good hospitals Parking challenges in standalone buildings. Posted:
Uber Eats eye small town India to boost food orders
New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) As the online food delivery market in India goes hyper-competitive, Uber Eats, which is yet to create a significant mark on the Indian palette, is now eyeing young professionals in metros and joint families in smaller towns to increase its footprint. Amid reports that Swiggy is buying its India business and then stalled talks, Uber Eats that came to India in May 2017 is finally witnessing fast adoption of its services among millennials and joint families. “We’re actually seeing a trend of multiple combinations of orders at once in India, which is not limited to just Friday nights or festivals but on a regular basis,” Raj Beri, Head of Uber Eats-Asia Pacific, told IANS. Earlier this year, reports said the elderly population was behind the success of Uber Eats’ business in Japan. ALSO READ: Twitter to alert users if a leader posts harmful tweet Beri said the platform’s growth in India is beyond age demographics and more towards collective adoption of digital food delivery services. Countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region order more from Uber Eats than any other geography in the world, with 1.5 million unique cuisine choices available on the platform in the region. While Beri refused to reveal the company’s market and revenue share in India, he stressed that the company’s share in the APAC region is significantly growing. Uber Eats’ business grew by 50 per cent (month-on-month) in its first year of operations in India. According to Jason Droege, Global Head of Uber Eats, India was their fastest growing market in the world. Uber Eats is currently available in 38 cities. Launched much later than its competitors like Swiggy, Zomato and Foodpanda, Uber Eats is facing some problems in properly establishing itself as a food delivery platform among foodies in the country. ALSO READ: ‘Minor’ change in NBCC’s Jaypee bid, voting from Friday The company is introducing several India-first features on its app like the veg-only recommendations and cash payments. “Content, storytelling and just being transparent with the background behind where your food is coming from is very important. It would enable communication between restaurateurs and customers,” said Nikki Neuburger, Global Head of Marketing, Uber Eats. According to Uber Eats’ Senior Director and Product Manager Stephan Chau, the company is using advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to safeguard its customers’ data. “We don’t have reasons to really want to expose our users’ data outside of context. Our goal is to make sure that the users understand our steps and benefit from the transparency,” Chau said. When asked if Uber Eats was planning on implementing Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in its app to enrich customers’ experiences, top executives said they might work on the idea in the future. (Radhika Parashar can be contacted at [email protected] ) –IANS
Actual British cuisine is kinda great actually. It’s meat pies and roasts mostly. But also they have lots of dank food brought there by immigrants. Most notably Indian, Pakistani, and Greek food.
The Mexican food is shit though so they get a neg for that
Where to stay in Oman
Oman Where to stay in Oman Whatever style of holiday you’re seeking, the Sultanate of Oman has a home from home for you to stay happy
There’s a growing number of hotels and resorts competing for your attention in Oman. The charmingly rustic Shatti Al Qurum beachfront neighbourhood is home to a new cutting-edge hotel in the shape of W Muscat , bringing an updated flavour to the pastoral surroundings. All the rooms offer sea views, while dining venues include succulent steaks at CHAR, funky beats and drinks at Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-bar and alfresco fun at WET Deck. InterContinental Muscat, Oman
To immerse yourself in lush panoramas, InterContinental Muscat will serve you well. A coastal oasis, you’ll feel instantly at ease upon seeing its groomed gardens (35 acres, no less). Newly refreshed rooms welcome you in style, and the resort has two tennis courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and all the delights of the beach on the doorstep. Plus, you can leave it all behind for a taste of the city whenever you please, due to the hotel’s central address. The Chedi Muscat, Oman
A taste of the good life can also be found at the stunning The Chedi Muscat . Denniston Architects, spearheaded by renowned visionary Jean-Michel Gathy, were the creative minds behind the resort’s inspired designs. There are eight places to eat and drink, including The Restaurant, which boasts an elegant dining room and an inviting outdoor patio. Ease yourself into a state of relaxation at the 13-suite Balinese spa and take a dip in one of three swimming pools (we rate the 103-metre Long Pool). Set in a sprawling garden oasis dotted with 158 Omani influenced guestrooms and villas, it’s a truly magical setting.
Just a few kilometres along the same stretch of coastline, Grand Hyatt Muscat is a beautiful, serene hotel set around a fabulous pool and lazy river that snakes its way round the entire beachside pool area. But that’s not all this 280-room hotel has to offer – its restaurants afford plenty to whet your appetite (from Italian to Indonesian fare), while a fitness centre and tennis courts ensure you can burn off any extra calories. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Oman
“Float between the two hotels on the lazy river”
Around 45-minutes from the airport, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is equally sumptuous. Take your pick of two hotels at this sea-hugging hideaway.The family-focused Al Waha lives up to its name, with several swimming pools merging to form a serene oasis. Al Bandar, on the other hand, is a draw card for foodies with a roster of restaurants to dine your way around (head to Al Tanoor to taste authentic Arabian flavours). You can float between the two on the lazy river. Al Bustan Palace, Oman
Another stunning location nearby, Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel is nestled between the coastline and the Al Hajar Mountains. Reopened last year after a thorough renovation, its neck-craning 38-metre-high domed lobby sets the scene for the luxuries to be found inside. Beyond its walls, lush gardens are dotted with five swimming pools, the largest of which is punctuated by palm tree islands. Unwind the Arabian way in the hammam rooms at Six Senses Spa.
North of the airport, the modern Al Mouj development has an aspirational mix of green spaces, waterways, shops and restaurants, as well as a marina and Greg Norman-designed golf course. It’s also home to the luxurious beachfront Kempinski Hotel Muscat Oman , offering 10 world-class restaurants and bars, swimming pools, a tennis court, watersports centre and spa. Stay here and you will have everything you need for an adventurous, stimulating holiday.
The Sultanate also has some wonderful dive sites and at Millennium Resort Mussanah you’re in one of the best spots to delve below the surface. There’s a Padi centre here, as well as a marina where you can take part in watersports, go sailing, embark on a snorkelling excursion, or even charter a yacht. Other outdoor facilities include an 18-hole mini-golf course, tennis courts, pools, a zipline and a fun floating waterpark. For getting out and about, the Rustaq, Mussanah and Nakhal forts, the Al Hajar Mountains, and Daymaniyat Islands nature reserve are all nearby. Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Heading further north to Musandam, a mountainous peninsula separated from the rest of the country by the UAE, Six Senses Zighy Bay is like something out of a James Bond movie, with individual villas spread out at the foot of jagged mountains, and direct access to your own wonderful slice of pristine beach. Summer 2019 upgrades are set to make the property even more stunning than it already is – if that’s even possible. Take part in hiking, biking and more, or visit between January and March when it’s prime time for whale shark watching. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman
Back on the mainland, you can admire more spectacular mountain vistas if you head inland to the fabled Green Mountain where Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort , one of the world’s highest luxury resorts, awaits. Unsurprisingly, the spa and hammam rituals are top-notch, while at night you can star-gaze from the viewing platform where Princess Diana once stood in 1986. You can also dine here on the cliff-edge, in a stunning setting reserved for you alone, choosing from menus prepared by your personal chef and served by your butler.
Alila Jabal Akhdar offers an incredible gateway to the area’s history, culture and nature. The resort is surrounded by mountain peaks, small hamlets, uninhabited villages, caves and canyons. With architecture inspired by ancient forts combined with contemporary design, this is a uniquely relaxing environment in which to enjoy the breathtaking surroundings, or indulge in gourmet food and soothing spa treatments.
Sahab Resort & Spa is located in the same region, on the Saiq Plateau of the Green Mountains of Oman. Built on the canyon edge at an altitude of 2,000 metres, summer temperatures here are up to 15°C cooler than at sea level. Soak up the view, gaze at the captivating valleys, and breathe in the pure air for an all-natural way to unwind. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Oman
Journeying south to the wild and beautiful Dhofar province and its capital city Salalah, you’ll find ancient frankincense routes and vibrant Indian Ocean marine life. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara occupies a premier location between a private beach and a freshwater lagoon, providing the perfect base for exploring. Modelled on Oman’s coastal fortresses, garden walkways are lined with palms and water features, which you can marvel at while relaxing in the infinity pool. Once you’re suitably chilled, and have visited the spa, make the short journey to Al Baleed Archaeological Park and the Museum of the Land of Frankincense Rooms. After that, you can return to the hotel for drinks on the beachfront terrace.
Discover more of the picturesque coastline at Salalah Rotana Resort . Fronting the ocean, and set amid lagoons, water features and man-made canals, it’s an immersive experience like no other. Sightsee by day and rejuvenate at Zen spa before sipping sundowners at The Beach Bar & Restaurant, and embarking on a culinary journey at Silk Road.
Moving back up the coast to another far-flung resort, the splendid Masira Island Resort on Masirah Island is a great base from which to enjoy the pick of Oman’s natural charms. The island is magnificently diverse and offers a wide range of watersports (the surfing here is excellent), as well as excursions into the desert and the hills. The area is also famous for housing the world’s largest population of Loggerhead turtles. With just 21 rooms, you can be sure that the service here will always be attentive.
Going full circle to the thriving heart of Muscat, Grand Millennium Muscat is close to the airport, and connected directly to Muscat Grand Mall via a sky bridge. Stay here for easy access to Muscat’s landmark tourist sites, the business district and beaches, and also to enjoy the pool, badminton court and Zanta spa, where you can rejuvenate after a day’s sightseeing. Dining wise, Taybat offers contemporary world cuisine while Bahriyat has an incredible selection of fresh seafood. Crowne Plaza Muscat, Oman
Also within easy access to the airport, Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC is convenient and charming. The IHG Airport Booth is manned around the clock and will ensure you get a speedy shuttle bus to the hotel. The team will also assist with all your arrival requirements. Once there, you’ll find a 24-hour gym, swimming pool, and spa. If you want to venture outdoors, hiking, tennis courts, scuba diving and snorkelling are all within easy reach. In other words, you’ll want for nothing.
In the heart of the capital’s thriving business district, Centara Muscat Hotel Oman is another property offering the best of both worlds. With an excellent fitness centre and rooftop pool, you’ll stay in shape during your trip, which will serve you well for exploring the city on your doorstep. Spa Cenvaree celebrates Ayurvedic and Thai wellbeing rituals, while dining venues include Akdeniz Turkish restaurant and Tiptara, which serves a crowd-pleasing mix of Mediterranean, Omani and Asian flavours. Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb, Oman
A great value choice, the Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb ticks a lot of boxes. Just a 15-minute drive from the airport, downtown Muscat is a half-hour drive to the east. It’s also next door to City Center Muscat shopping mall, which has a Magic Planet entertainment centre, ideal for those with kids in tow.
For a premium spot overlooking the mountians and lush valleys, the Hormuz Grand Muscat, A Radisson Collection Hotel is your go-to. Set amid an oasis of trees, all guestrooms and suites are well kitted out with understated décor and stylish bathrooms. The hotel’s east-meets-west concept results in some fabulous food, including northern Indian cuisine at Qureshi Bab-Al-Hind. Plus, the tension busting Thai and Balinese massages at iSpa are the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
Having experienced the best hospitality, you’re sure to fly out of Oman with a firm resolve to come back to the Jewel of Arabia as soon as possible.
The recipe that reminds me of home | Food
Founder, Arawelo Eats, Bristol The key to Somali cooking is xawaash spice mix – translated it means “the essentials”. It’s often described as in between ras el hanout and garam masala, which is how I think of Somali food: in between Arabic and Indian, with African thrown in. When you make it, it will come as no surprise to know Somalia was called “Regio Aromatica”, or the aromatic isles, by the ancient Romans.
Xawaash is made family to family, so my mum’s is the one I make, although she sometimes adds turmeric to hers. You adapt it depending on what you have, but I’ve got a consistent recipe that reminds me of her cooking.
My idea of home is tied in with my mum’s cooking. I was born in Kuwait. My mum was probably born in Ethiopia; she was a nomadic herder. My dad is from the city, from Hargeisa in Somaliland. They moved to Kuwait, had children and then they separated and we came to London in 1985. Civil unrest had been rumbling in Somaliland, so we didn’t go back. Mum wanted her daughters to be educated, and Somali culture can be sexist, although it also celebrates strong women. I named my supper club after Arawelo, a fearsome Somali queen who led a women’s army.
We lived in Harlesden, in north-west London, which had Caribbean and African shops. But Mum would also take two buses to get spices and things like fresh tamarind from the Indian shops on Ealing Road. I used to help her out in the kitchen when I was young but was rubbish at it. I felt that girls were expected to help with cooking but boys weren’t, so that pissed me off. When I left London I missed her food, so had to learn it for myself.
Ful – we call it maraq digir – is a great way to feed a big family. Beans are cheap, and the xawaash is a good way of adding lots of flavour. People know about ful medames from Egypt, but the dish goes all the way down east Africa to Sudan. We would have that for brunch on Saturday, made with tinned adzuki beans, fried onions and lots of green chillies, fresh coriander, fresh tomatoes – and the xaawash spice mix.
Mum had to take two buses to get all the spices for this
When my mum had less money she would get bones with tiny bits of meat left on. She was feeding so many – she’d make enough for 20 people a day. Us and our friends who’d be round, or people from the Somali community.
We didn’t eat much English food, and of course I wanted fish and chips and pizza. Now I appreciate it all. My mum taught us to have a palate. If I go into a fancy restaurant, I don’t have to like it. Not because I grew up poor, Somali or as a refugee, or because I don’t understand western flavours. I just might not like it. But if you’re outside that world you can feel uncomfortable trusting your own judgment. It sometimes feels like the food world is for a particular class, a particular place, a particular kind of person who is a “foodie”. Everyone eats food, so I don’t know what defines a foodie. My mum is an amazing chef. She’s illiterate, she grew up as a nomadic herder, but has an instinctive way of making food that is good and tasty. HO’N
Maraq digir Somali bean stew
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Photograph: Jean Cazals/The Observer
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
fresh coriander 1 bunch
tomatoes 3 medium
green chillies 1-2
ginger ½ thumb (optional)
dried adzuki beans 200g
onion 1, peeled and sliced
olive oil 1 tbsp
xawaash spice blend 1 dsp (see below)
tomato paste 1 level dsp, or to taste
salt to taste
For the xawaash spice mix (makes about 35g or 4 heaped d sp)
cumin seeds 2 dsp
coriander seeds 2 dsp
black peppercorns 1 dsp
flat cinnamon bark 2cm piece
cardamom seeds 1 tsp
whole cloves 1 tsp
To make the xawaash, dry heat all the spices in a frying pan on a medium heat for about 2 minutes or until they begin to give off a lovely warm aroma. Once you can smell this, take it off the heat.
Use a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar to grind everything down to a powder.
If you want to make a big batch, just double the quantities, and it should last in an airtight container in the dark for up to 3 weeks. It can last longer, but the potency deteriorates – I use a lot of xawaash, so I get through it quickly.
To make the maraq digir, whizz up the coriander, tomatoes and chillies in a blender. Sometimes I add fresh ginger to give it an extra boost. Put the mixture to one side.
In a saucepan, boil the adzuki beans for about 20 minutes. (You can also use tinned fava beans.) Fry the sliced onion slowly in the olive oil until slightly caramelised. Stir in the xawaash spice blend. Fry a little longer, then add the coriander and tomato mixture, with some tomato paste. Add salt to taste.
Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, adding a little water if needed. Add the beans and cook for another 15-20 minutes, then mash some of the beans.
I like it with feta and black olives and lots of olive oil on top. Serve with pita or naan bread, za’atar and olive oil.
Arawelo Eats supper club in aid of the Leading Lights youth charity is on 27 July; araweloeats.com
Co-owner, Santo Remedio, London
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Edson Diaz-Fuentes Photograph: Jessica Arzate
Ever since I was little, I’ve craved new flavours. I always loved seafood, and this dish was my favourite. My mum or grandma prepared it on special occasions and it represents flavours from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
When I was growing up in Mexico City, living by the coast was the dream. In the late 1990s, places opened in Mexico City that evoked the marisquerías , the seafood restaurants of Veracruz, which is the state where arroz a la tumbada comes from. They weren’t glamorous but 20 years ago they were cool. They were neighbourhood places where the seafood was amazing and brought in from the coast. There is one called Contramar that’s still going, and is one of my favourite places. We’d go a lot, for the food, and the son jarocho , the music of Veracruz. Without travelling, I could be taken to the coast. It doesn’t matter where I am, arroz a la tumbada will send me to Mexico and give me that feeling of being happy.
It doesn’t matter where I am, this is the dish that sends me to Mexico
There’s a lot of Spanish influences in our cuisine, so this is a paella adapted to Mexico. There are no rules for the seafood you use, as long as there’s a combination. Like lots of Mexican dishes, it’s created so people can adapt to what’s around. White fish, clams, crab, prawns – whatever you have is what’s perfect. Now that I live in London, I add fennel and dill. In Mexico we use parsley, coriander, Mexican oregano and epazote , a very aromatic herb that’s difficult to find here. Instead of long-grain rice I use arborio, which I think makes more sense, being closer to the Mediterranean.
I feel very grateful that I’ve had many homes. My wife Natalie is half-Mexican and half-English, she was born and raised and studied in the UK. When I go away, I miss London. But I still sometimes miss Mexico, and it’s mainly because of the food. Tacos and tequila are easy to get now, but the flavour that always lifts me out of homesickness is smoky chillies. If I feel homesick I can now get or make the food I want. At the beginning when I moved here I couldn’t say this, but London is home. HO’N
Chipotle tumbada-style (Rice with haddock and prawns)
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Photograph: Jean Cazals/The Observer
For the rice
rapeseed oil 3 tbsp
unsalted clarified butter or ghee 6 tbsp
haddock 600g, skinless and sliced in thick chunks
king prawns 500g, shell on, cleaned and deveined
fennel 1 bulb, finely sliced
arborio rice 500g
tomato and chipotle recaudo 350ml (see below)
fish or vegetable stock 900ml, or half fish stock and half water
lemons juice of 2
dill leaves a handful
mint leaves a handful
flat-leaf parsley a small bunch
cherry tomatoes 100g
For the tomato and chipotle recaudo
beefsteak tomatoes 2, halved
vine tomatoes 3
white onion ½, roughly chopped
garlic 4 cloves
rapeseed oil 1 tbsp
dried chipotle chillies 2-3 (available online)
salt 1 tsp, optional
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
Start by making the tomato and chipotle recaudo. Recaudo in Mexico is a special blend of spices, herbs and chillies, and like many dishes in Mexican cuisine, it is the secret of our abuelitas , our grandmothers.
Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic on an oven tray, drizzle with rapeseed oil and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
I recommend using a variety of good quality tomatoes; seasonal local tomatoes during the summer in the UK are amazing, such as those from the Isle of Wight.
While the tomatoes are in the oven, place the dried chipotle chillies in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and rest until they become soft. Once softened, remove the seeds. Reserve the soaking water.
Take the tomatoes out of the oven and pour them with the juices into a blender, add the soft chipotle chillies, the salt and a little of the soaking water, if necessary, and blend to a very smooth paste. Set aside.
For the rice, in a paella-like pan heat a tablespoon of the rapeseed oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the fish and prawns, season with a bit of salt and sear them until they get some colour on each side. It’s important to use a really hot pan and not to overcook them. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan add the remaining oil and butter and the sliced fennel, and fry slowly until it softens and caramelises.
Add the rice and keep stirring. Once it is lightly fried, pour in the tomato-chipotle recaudo, add the stock a little at a time and stir frequently until the rice is fully cooked.
Three-quarters of the way through adding the liquid, and just before the rice absorbs all of it, add the seared prawns and fish and let them cook through. The rice should be al dente. Season with salt and coarse black pepper to taste.
Finish by generously squeezing the lemon juice over and add fresh dill leaves, a few sprigs of mint and parsley, and the tomatoes. Serve warm, making sure everybody gets some of the fish and prawns, as well as the fresh herbs and tomatoes. Enjoy with your family and pair it with a crisp, fresh lager or glass of wine.
Cookery writer The recipe for my grandmother’s omelette reminds me of West Sumatra, where I was born, and my first seven years living there with her. She did all of the cooking. My parents were teachers and they worked every day, so my grandmother gave us all breakfast. Sometimes she would make this omelette. We were an extended, multi-generational family living in one house, so there might have been my young uncle or cousin having breakfast with us. It is quite a filling omelette, so we could choose to have rice porridge or this, but some of my boy cousins might have both! Or, we might take it for lunch with rice.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Sri Owen. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer
Omelettes are quite universal. I debated when I wrote this recipe whether its origin is Chinese or Dutch. Probably in my household it would be the influence of the Dutch. Both my parents were educated in Dutch schools. My grandmother never went to school – she was rich enough to have teachers at home – but I am not sure where she learned to make this omelette. You never know with Indonesia. When I started to write my cookbook I didn’t know the origin of quite a lot of Indonesian food. Some seems to have come from the Arab countries, through India. A lot of our curries are Indian, and our snacks are very similar to Middle Eastern snacks like borek and falafel. With the Dutch we started making cake, and before the Dutch arrived we had influence from the Chinese. Fried rice was originally Chinese but now it’s famous as Indonesian nasi goreng.
After my husband Roger and I got married in Indonesia we came to live in the UK. My children were born here, and this is very much my home. When I moved to the UK, I had to make adjustments to my cooking. I first came here in 1964, and from then until 1969 we did our shopping in Holland. Indonesian food was already being imported there but not to the UK. So I travelled a lot to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or the Hague. We’d go with empty cars and come back with the boots full. And there were quite a lot of Indonesian restaurants to visit; there were only two in London.
I never really got homesick for Indonesian food, because I’d cook it myself. I could never recommend Indonesian restaurants in London, so whenever friends asked, “Where is the good Indonesian restaurant?” I’d say: “It’s here, in my home.” When I was writing books – I’ve written 15 – I’d give parties as a way of recipe-testing. It was a good excuse to do both. I’d put it in my household budget: my party, an anniversary, Roger’s birthday, or just a party for wanting to give a party. You can’t eat everything yourself.
I’m now staying in a care home. I’m not quite settled yet. I have a two-bedroom apartment, but hardly any kitchen. I can still cook for the two of us, me and Roger, and I can still give parties. And I can still make my grandmother’s omelette. I don’t think I put enough garlic in my recipe, so when I make it now for myself, I put a lot of coconut, and a lot of garlic and spring onions so it’s garlicky and oniony as well. I’m very fond of my grandmother and her food makes me feel at home. It gives me comfort, a feeling of, “this is what I’m used to”. HON
Telur dadar padang
My grandmother’s omelette
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Photograph: Jean Cazals/The Observer
This is one of my grandmother’s treats for breakfast. It looks like a cake, and to make the omelette thick she used freshly grated coconut, grated potato or sweet potato. And she would add a dollop of her sambal lado to spice it up. I use sambal ulek when I make this omelette at home. It is made by crushing fresh red chillies with a little salt, using a mortar and pestle. It is available ready-made from Asian food stores and supermarkets .
If you want coconut but can’t use fresh, you can use desiccated coconut. It’s a bit sweeter and drier, so you need to soak it for a few minutes and include a little of the liquid.
Serves 4 for breakfast or as a light lunch with some salad
shallots 2, finely sliced
garlic 1 clove, finely sliced
sambal ulek 1 tsp or ½ tsp chilli powder
freshly grated coconut or grated potato or sweet potato 100g
salt ½ tsp
milk or cold water 1 tbsp
duck eggs 6
peanut (groundnut) oil 2 tbsp
Mix together all the ingredients, except the eggs and oil, in a large bowl. Then beat the mixture thoroughly with the eggs – it needs more beating than an ordinary omelette and should be quite fluffy.
Heat the oil in a wok until hot. (I find a 25cm non-stick frying pan an easier alternative to a wok.) Carefully spoon the oil over the sides, or tilt and turn the wok or pan so the sides are well coated with oil. Pour the omelette mixture into the hot wok or pan, and while it is still liquid swirl it around so that the omelette is not too thick in the centre. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn it over carefully (it should be perfectly circular), and cook slowly for another 3-4 minutes until the middle, which of course is still the thickest part, is firm and the whole omelette is lightly browned. The edges should now be delicately crisp.
Serve hot or cold, cut up into slices like a cake.
From Indonesian Food by Sri Owen (Pavilion Books, £20). To buy a copy for £17.60, go to guardianbookshop.com
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Georgina Hayden.
Until I was 13 or 14, my grandparents owned a Greek-Cypriot restaurant called Dirlandas in Tufnell Park, north London. I was born upstairs and lived there for the first few years of my life. Even after we moved out, the restaurant remained the centre of our universe. My dad worked there, and during Christmas or Easter, when the restaurant was shut, everyone would congregate there to celebrate. It was a proper Cypriot taverna with tablecloths and plastic strip curtains. My grandmother would make stuffed vine leaves from scratch for the mezze. And, of course, it had grills where they cooked steaks, chops and souvlakia.
That smell of meat over coals is so evocative but when my grandparents shut the restaurant in the mid-90s it disappeared from my life. Around that time, I became vegetarian. My dad had also given up meat and my mum didn’t eat much of it. But when I started working in food in my early 20s, I began eating meat again. One day, during a shoot for a Jamie Oliver book in Athens, someone was cooking souvlakia on the grills and it was like a slap around the face. Never before had a smell conjured up such strong images and emotions. It was like I was back in my grandparents’ restaurant.
My grandparents on both sides moved to England in search of a better quality of life and better opportunities. My mum’s dad was an orphan and so poor that the people in his village outside Nicosia would feed him and give him shoes. When he got married to my granny, they moved to England and he got a job in a Wall’s sausage factory. The manager of the factory lent him the money to open up his first deli in Holloway, and he went from nothing to owning a few shops and houses around London. My dad’s parents moved over a bit later. Before they opened the restaurant, my granddad was a barber and my grandma a seamstress. They’re both still alive. My gran is 79 now and she still cooks for our entire family twice a week.
Never before had a smell conjured up such strong emotions in me
My sister and I helped out at the restaurant, but mostly we got in the way. My gran would get us to fill the salt and pepper shakers, or pod peas and broad beans. Food was the centre of our world. It took me a while to realise that, actually, not all 19-year-olds read cookery books all the time or spend three hours making moussaka on a Saturday night when their friends are out getting drunk.
My mum made a lot of Cypriot food at home. Any occasion was a feast. Now I’ve taken over that role. For Greek Easter this year, I had everyone round to mine and spent two days making flaounes , the traditional Cypriot Easter pastries, as taught to me by my gran. I love that I’ll be able to pass these traditions on to my daughter, Persephone – she has no choice!
Not only do I want to document my family’s recipes, I also want to preserve a sense of our culture and traditions. In my generation, out of all my cousins, only one other person is interested in food. When my grandma finally passes away, who else is going to keep all these food traditions going?Home means lots of noise and chatter, and it always revolves around cooking. As a housewarming present , my dad bought me my own foukou , the motorised grill used for cooking souvlakia. It’s my pride and joy, and that smell is just amazing. It’s my childhood, it’s my grandparents’ restaurant. KF
Herby pork souvlaki with mustard sauce
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Photograph: Jean Cazals/The Observer
pork tenderloins 2, around 400g each
rosemary a few sprigs
thyme 1⁄2 a bunch
garlic 2 cloves
olive oil 100ml
red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
For the mustard sauce
Greek yog urt 125g
mayonnaise 3 tbsp
honey 1 tbsp
English mustard 1-2 tbsp
red onion 1
flat-leaf parsley a few sprigs
pita breads 4 × round, fluffy
sweet smoked paprika a pinch
tzatziki (see below)
chips (see below, if you want to make your own)
Cut the pork into even 2-3cm chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Pick and finely chop the rosemary and thyme leaves and add to the pork. Peel and finely grate in the garlic. Season well, then stir in the olive oil and red wine vinegar and cover. Refrigerate and leave to marinate for at least half an hour, longer if possible. If using wooden skewers be sure to soak them in water first to stop them burning.
If you are making chips (see below), get them on the go now.Get the sides ready. To make the mustard sauce, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and mustard to taste. Season to taste, cover and set aside till needed.
Chop the tomatoes and peel and finely slice the onion. Mix them together in a bowl and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Finely chop the parsley and scatter over the top. Set aside until needed.
When you are ready to cook, preheat a griddle pan to a high heat (or get your barbecue going). Thread 4 large skewers (or 8 small ones) with the marinated pork, being careful not to push the pieces too close together, so that they cook thoroughly all the way through. Cook the meat on the hot griddle pan for around 10-12 minutes, turning evenly, until they are charred and cooked through. Warm the pita breads on the side of the griddle or barbecue for a few minutes at the end. Serve everything together and let everyone build their own kebabs – but be sure to finish with a sprinkle of paprika.
Talattouri – Mama’s tzatziki The cucumber is salted and drained, a small step but a key one, as it gives you an intensely creamy dip – it shouldn’t be at all runny.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic 1 small clove
dried mint 1 tsp
Greek yog urt 500g
extra virgin olive oil
Start by draining the cucumber. Trim it and coarsely grate it into a mixing bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt (if using fine sea salt, use ½ teaspoon), then spoon it into a clean, fine sieve. Leave it to drain over the mixing bowl for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to remove all the liquid.
When it is ready, spoon it into a larger mixing bowl. Finely grate in the peeled garlic clove and add the dried mint and a good pinch of ground black pepper.
Spoon the yogurt into the fine sieve. You don’t want to press it through, just to remove any excess liquid. When it’s drained, spoon it into the bowl with the grated cucumber, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze in a little lemon juice to taste and mix everything together well. Serve finished with a little drizzle of oil on top and sprinkled with a little extra dried mint.
Homemade oven chips This only makes a small quantity, enough for a few chips in the kebabs. If you want more, to eat alongside your meal, then double or triple the quantity.
potatoes 600g Maris Piperor King Edwards work best
Preheat your oven to 230C/gas mark 8. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cut the potatoes into chips, around 1cm in thickness. Cook for 2 minutes in the boiling water, then drain in a colander and steam-dry over the hot pan.
Place the chips in a large roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Use your hands to toss everything together, making sure that every piece of potato is coated in seasoned oil. Place in the oven for around 35-40 minutes, turning the chips halfway through, until cooked through, golden and crisp all over.
From Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen by Georgina Hayden (Square Peg, £25). To buy a copy for £22, go to guardianbookshop.com
Cookery writer When I was a kid in Bombay, I tried growing a lime tree in a pot on a windowsill at home and it didn’t work out too well, yielding only one fruit. But now that I live in California, it’s much easier. In Oakland, where I live with my husband, Michael, all the focal points in our back garden are citrus trees – we’ve got makrut lime, bearss lime and the tiny Mexican key lime. I make a point of using limes in my recipes. In India, it’s the citrus you use when you want to add acid to a dish. And in a cobbler – a southern American dish I learned from my mother-in-law in Virginia – lime makes perfect sense with blueberry and ginger as a way of amplifying the flavour.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Nik Sharma. Photograph: Saroyan Humphrey/The Observer
The food I grew up with in Bombay was not very connected. My mother is Catholic and her family comes from Goa, whereas my dad is Hindu from Uttar Pradesh, so her cuisine was more tropical and heavy on coconut, meat and seafood, while his was more vegetarian. Most Indian kids I know were rooted in a single culinary region, but I never had that. I think it makes it easier for me now, as a food writer, because I never worry about things needing to be done in a certain way.
My biggest influence was my grandmother on my mother’s side. She showed me a lot of techniques – teaching me to cut vegetables to the same size when making a stock, for example, so everything cooks in a uniform way.
I started cooking aged 10 or 11 because I was sick of eating what they were serving at home. But there was an experimental side to it as well. It made me very curious and I’d wonder what would happen if, say, I used vinegar instead of lime. Around that time, I found out that I was gay. I was scared to live in India because I’d heard my parents talking about gay people getting arrested, so I wanted to move to a safer place, and my only way out was through science – chemistry and biology were my strong points. In 2002, I got a scholarship to a college in Cincinnati to study molecular genetics. Six months after moving to America, I came out.
A lot of my classmates asked me for Indian food, but after a while I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to cook food that reflected my present as well as my past – and I started writing about this in my blog A Brown Table.
California definitely feels like home now. But after 17 years away, does Bombay still feel like home? That’s a hard question. For 12 years I didn’t go back at all. Going to Bombay with my husband Michael for the first time was stressful, at least to begin with, because it brought back all those memories of why I left. I knew my family was fine with me being gay but there were friends and relatives who didn’t know. I didn’t want to hide anything, but thankfully we were there for a wedding and we got completely absorbed in it. The next time there was no wedding, and that was more challenging, but by then India was becoming much more vocal about gay rights, which made things a little easier.
India has changed so much. The first week I’m there is fine, but after that I start to feel like I’m out of place. I feel like I’m a stranger in India. That’s when I realise America is more my home now. KF
Blueberry, ginger, and lime cobbler
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Photograph: Jean Cazals/The Observer
unsalted butter 115g, chilled and cubed plus extra to grease the dish
blueberries 600g, fresh or frozen
crystallised ginger 50g, chopped
jaggery or brown sugar 50g
lime zest and juice of 1
corn flour 2 tbsp
fine sea salt ½ tsp
plain flour 280g
sugar 2 tbsp
baking powder 2 tsp
whole milk 240ml
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 20 x 28cm rectangular baking dish with a little butter, add the blueberries, ginger, jaggery, lime zest and juice, cornstarch and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Fold to coat evenly.
In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and the remaining salt. Add the cubed butter and mix by hand until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk until just combined. Scoop the batter over the top of the blueberries with a teaspoon, covering as much fruit as possible.
Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with a scoop of a good vanilla or cardamom ice-cream.
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