What does camel meat taste like?

What does Camel meat taste like? Would you like to taste a Camel Burger? How about Camel Pasta alongside a camel Milkshake?

One fine Saturday morning, me and my friend found ourselves wandering in the area of Old Dubai, specifically in the Bastakiya heritage village where there is a restaurant called Local House that serves the infamous camel meat. Located just beside my favorite tea house (Arabian tea House Cafè), Local House is a restaurant that serves traditional and authentic arabian food.
Surrounded by art galleries the area is perfect for a quick walk and sightseeing. You can easily spot the local house restaurant by trying to find the camel statue outside.
Local House
has an arabesque ambiance that goes really well to the whole setting of Bastakiya. When we entered the restaurant it feels like it was an old house converted into a restaurant.
Just look at this cute pepper and salt shakers emirati figures.
The Menu.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of tourists were eating inside. They have outdoor and indoor seating but me and my friend opted to seat at the courtyard and enjoyed the nice weather.
Ok let’s review the most talked about Camel burger. Yup that’s me devouring the Camel burger and my friend who is about to try their camel pasta.
The burger comes with fries and it’s quite big.

First and foremost, to be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of lamb meat or mutton meat, so the idea of eating camel meat was quite weird to me but since I’m always adventurous when it comes to food, i told myself to give it a try. The meat is lean and tough so I quite didn’t like the texture but it is very tasty. Texture aside, it tastes like lamb.
The camel pasta is really good. Not the way as I expected it to be but it was good.  It is more of like Hakka Noodles and I love Hakka Noodles so I really liked it. It’s salty and very spicy.
We’ve also tried one of their camel milk shakes. This one is the Dates flavored. The taste is a mixture of saltiness and sweetness. It reminds me of goat’s milk. Do you know that camel meat is very healthy?  Not only does it contain 40 per cent less fat and cholesterol than cow’s milk, it is also rich in calcium and contains three times more vitamin C, more minerals and iron.
The prices were reasonable. We paid a total of 123dhs for 2 people. As they are very traditional, please be aware that they only accept cash.

All in all, our meal at Local House was quite an experience. If you’re in Dubai and wanted to experience some local flair, I highly suggest to visit this place and try their Camel goodies.

Local House restaurant is located at House No 65, Bastakiya near Al Fahidi Round About Opposite Al Mussallah Post Office Next to Majilis Gallery, Burdubai. You can also visit their website here.

 

Dubai’s Little Manila

Well it would be Satwa (if you really want to have a glimpse of what Manila is like, here in Dubai), but in this case there’s a newly opened restaurant in Murraqabat, Deira that is called Little Manila. It’s not really a restaurant. When we went there, it looks like a mini food court. At Little Manila, you’ll see  six of Philippine’s famous food brands like Binalot, Jay-J’s, Fruitas, Zagu, FifTea, Mochi Crème along with their in house brand Bread Shop and Kwekie Bites.


Like a normal newly opened Filipino food joint here in Dubai (e.g Jollibee, Max’s), it was expected that it will be flocked with dozens of fellow Pinoy so it really wasn’t advisable to visit this place while the hype is still on but since it was EID and it’s a holiday and we’re so stubborn, we still gave it a go.

The moment you enter inside Little Manila, you will hear staff saying order numbers using a microphone. We thought there was a Bingo game happening :D.  As expected, there were so many people queuing on the food stalls and there weren’t any available table for me and my friends to sit in but we’ve expected that so it’s alright.
Add Media




Isn’t it weird that the Toilet signage was placed aboved the Binalot signage?

I grew up eating at Binalot  as a kid (or Binalot sa Dahon) so when we went there and saw Binalot, I immediately ordered at Jay-J’s lol. I haven’t really heard much about the food from Jay-J’s so I thought although I miss Binalot, why not give Jay-J’s a try. While waiting for our turn to order, I’ve noticed there weren’t so much queue at Fruitas so I immediately went there and ordered their famous Mango shake. I didn’t even bother to try Zagu because the queue was quite long.



The staff of Jay-J’s advised us that order will take about 50 minutes minimum. I know, that’s a long wait but whatever we’re hoping for good food so it should be worth the wait. And because we already knew we’re going to wait long, we’ve decided to grab some mini bites because we’re a bit hungry as well. We tried to queue at Kwekie Bites but unfortunately their cash register isn’t working so they had to stop taking orders. Meh. We went to Bake Shop instead and good thing their Ensaymada didn’t disappoint.
If you’re going to Little Manila, I suggest bring something to kill time. In our case we brought sketchbooks. 50 minutes was over and they still haven’t called our queue number. We were starving, even if we ate Ensaymada. After a whopping 2 hours, we finally got our food but wait there’s more, well the order wasn’t complete as our whole chicken wasn’t really whole and our ensaladang mangga didn’t include alamang or shrimp paste but oh well we were so starving we have no time to complain. We’ve ordered Ensaladang Mangga, Chicken Inasal, Inihaw na Pusit and Chicken Sisig. We wanted to order their Bulalo but unfortunately it isn’t available yet.
Their Ensaladang Mangga tastes like… well it tastes like Ensaladang Mangga. hehe but their alamang (shrimp paste) was really good. It tastes really fresh.
Their inihaw na pusit tastes so sweet which is a bit weird but it was ok.
The chicken inasal wasn’t bad but it was just ok. I didn’t find it mind blowing but it’s good enough for the starved ones.


Their Chicken Sisig is a must try. It definitely was the star of the show. It was so good. You can really taste the mayonnaise (well im not sure but seems like it) but it’s not too overpowering.  It was perfectly cooked although it wasn’t sizzling enough when it was delivered to us.

We paid a total of 158 dirhams for 4 pax. To be honest, I find it  a bit pricey considering the service, taste of food and how the food was presented. I  personally think that they can do better with the plates like maybe instead of using styro plates they can use bamboo plate holders – you know the ones we use during fiestas? and then maybe they can place banana leaves on it to have a more Filipino feel.


Overall, I can say that the food is good though not overwhelming.  If you forget the long wait and queue, it was a good experience. Somehow, they gave us a chance to satisfy our Filipino food cravings. I highly suggest visiting them after the hype is over.

Little Manila is located in K6 Building on Al Muraqqabat Street, Deira, Dubai (opposite Coral Hotel). You can visit their Facebook page here.

 

Escape Quest Dubai

I had an awesome weekend last week as me and my partner tried Escape Quest: A unique live escape game experience.

So here’s the drill: you are trapped in a room with no idea of what to do. Basically you have to find clues, , solve puzzles(I think it has at least 20 puzzles or maybe more?) and put lots of information together to work your way out in under an hour.  Forget Google and forget Wikipedia as it will not help you. This is a real life brain teaser, a test of brainpower and a test of willpower.  

Escape Quest reminded me of those escape games online I used to play before (college computer laboratory days haha… those simple flash based point and click games where you need to click around to find clues e.g Doritos’ HOTEL626 and SINTHAI’s The House ). But in real life it was my first escape game experience so I really don’t know what to expect.

Just a tip: don’t take clues unless you really need them, challenge yourself.  I’m highly recommending this activity for team building exercises or it could be a great idea for a first date as  it allows you and your partner to enjoy each other’s company while working together. In our case, I was quite amazed how escape quest showed me and my partner’s teamwork skills and it made me appreciate him more.  I was amazed how we trusted each other and we didn’t argue at all. ;) I also love the adrenaline rush while we’re solving the clues under time pressure. We were running around the room finding and solving clues like crazy little kids. We felt so accomplished after solving the game with still 10 minutes time left remaining. It left us with a feeling of achievement and we can’t stop talking how awesome our experience was even days after.

P.S. I would love to get my hands on the Mensa Puzzle Box and that DaVinci Cryptex once again!

Thank you very much Steve and team! We heard there’s a new Mad Scientist themed room comin’ up and we can’t wait to try it.

Escape Quest is open seven days a week from 10am to 11pm, and prices range from Dh90 to Dh120 a person, depending on the size of the group. They are located at Office 2004 (20th Floor) HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, Jumeirah Lakes Towers. You can book online here.

There are also other room escapes which I have yet to try soon! Challenge Chambers in Sunset Mall and HintHunt in Times Square Center. :D

 

Tasty Eats at Taste Kitchen

In celebration of Eid Al Adha, me and my friend decided to ditch the overrated malls in Dubai (e.g. dubai mall, mall of the emirates and the likes) because we’re pretty damn sure it’ll be overcrowded. Instead we’ve decided to go to Mercato Mall in Jumeirah.

We really wanted to eat at Paul but we saw this nifty restaurant called Taste Kitchen. We saw their ads inside the mall and since we’re suckers for healthy clean food, we decided to try it. Apparently it is owned by Nick Alvis & Scott Price, the creative guys responsible for Table 9 (ehem, Gordon Ramsay trained chefs).  Think of fresh ingredients, creative cooking and friendly service in a very relaxing ambience, this is Taste Kitchen.

Continue “Tasty Eats at Taste Kitchen”

Quick Visit to Bastakiya: Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

When the glitz and glamour of Dubai gets a bit too much, then better get out of the hotels and malls and I suggest you pay a visit to Bastakiya, the old neigbourhoods of Dubai. It’s just a couple of walks along Dubai Museum. Here, you’ll step into Dubai’s past and get a glimpse of what Dubai looked like in the days before oil. This is the other side of Dubai. Visiting this place keeps on reminding me that I’m in the middle east after all.

Bastakiya, located along the Dubai Creek, is known for its traditional homes, wind towers, and labyrinth of narrow alleyways. This is where the first settlements of Dubai were built. It was named after Bastak, a province in southern Iran, from where merchants emigrated on the invitation of the Emir of Dubai in the early 20th century to avoid taxation by the Iranian state. Today the restored quarter is filled with art galleries, cafés, museums, and boutique hotels.

Continue “Quick Visit to Bastakiya: Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood”

Impromptu Summer Escapade: Musandam, Sultanate of Oman

If you live in Dubai and you’ve had enough sun and tired of the malls, or maybe when it’s too hot to stroll around Dubai’s iconic landmarks. What should you do? Do as the locals do and drive to Musandam, Oman.

This is what me and my friends did a couple of weeks ago. But since we don’t have a car and no one has a license, we opted to just do what a normal tourist would do: search for tours in Groupon! With just a click of a button and for only 179 dhs, we found ourselves one weekend with a group of strangers travelling to Oman for a day trip to Musandam.

Why Oman?

Located on the north, eastern point of the Gulf, a peninsula separated from the rest of Oman by the Emirates. It is a place where the Arabian Gulf meets the Indian Ocean, whose waters are called the Gulf of Oman.  It is the land of the Queen of Sheba, a land of deserts, rolling sands and shifting dunes. A land of spectacular mountains and wadis.

Meetup point for the tour was in Mall of the Emirates at 8:00 am sharp. From there the van and our very cool driver slash photographer was waiting for us. In over three hours we drove all the way to Oman – one of the Arabian Gulf’s most dramatic drives in the Peninsula. We’ve seen some of the region’s most breathtaking views. The drive is somewhat harrowing, climbing a steep, narrow dirt road that winds around the rocky mountain. The scenery is extraordinary, from stone houses built into the sides of precipitous cliffs to the surprisingly fertile Sayh Plateau with its farmed fields of almonds, mangoes, and date palms. ANearby, there are birds-eye-views to Khor an-Najd, a breathtakingly beautiful, glassy turquoise bay.

Continue “Impromptu Summer Escapade: Musandam, Sultanate of Oman”

Arabian Tea House Café: a haven in the midst of a busy city

After visiting the infamous Dubai Museum (read more about it here) and Bastakiya Neighbourhood and you are in the mood to take in some fresh air and at the same time enjoy some tea or coffee then Arabian Tea House Cafe (formerly known as Basta Art cafe) is the place for you.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city, Arabian Tea House Café is a place where serenity and calmness coincide, waiting for a romantic couple, group of friends or a happy family to spend unforgettable moments under the branches of old acacia or narra trees to relish delicious and mouthwatering food.

Located in the heart of Bur Dubai, this place is inside a bastakiya. Bastakiya neighborhood is named after the place where migrants from Iranian region, Bastak, resided. It was preserved, restored and maintained for every tourist, foreigner or otherwise.

I am telling you, the moment you enter this place, it is magical. Once you get in there, it will get into your mind and you’ll not forget it as long as you are alive. I was like, am I really in Dubai? I felt like I’m in a scene from the Secret Garden. The whole place is surrounded by greenery and blossoming pot plants like bougainvilleas. This leafy courtyard café makes you feel you’re a million miles away from the hustle of Bur Dubai. Arabian Tea House serves vast bowls of salad and tasty wraps, accompanied by freshly squeezed juices, a variety of teas and Arabian coffee. Books, craftwork and jewellery are also sold in their little shop.

This place will instantly remind you of the backyard of your house: serene calm and beautiful. The setting is very simple and comfortable under a huge tree with pretty flowers.

 

The stone walls house a cool and tranquil environment out of the sun or you can bask in the sun in the courtyard. Beautiful and rustic feel.

Arabian Tea house cafe delivers both atmosphere and tasty food. I couldn’t ask for more.  They offer 150 different teas. It is served in a pot, which you pour into a pretty little glass to drink the steaming tea.

We asked the staff what’s their best seller and she instantly recommended  1001 Nights Tea from Sri Lanka. I’m not exaggerating but by far, it’s the best tasting tea I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Arabian Tea House Club House (not so bad but not so special as well)

The pastries are heavenly.

The food is served in large portions and is a good value for the money. The only downside is the service is so unfriendly. Probably because they lack staff? There is only one girl attending to all the customers. Anyway, you can just sit back and relax while waiting for the server.

The contemporary bill box

The bill was exceptionally reasonable. For only 55dhs the Afternoon Tea comes with a couple of Pastries.

It isn’t so bad to hang out there at night as well. :)

While the weather in Dubai  is still bearable make sure to drop by to this picturesque cafe! As of writing, this restaurant / cafe is now one of my favourite places to visit here in Dubai. If I will go on a date or something like that I will definitely go here. It’s so relaxing.  :)

Dubai Museum: A Step Back in Time

Almost 2 years stay here in Dubai and I can’t believe I’ve only visited the infamous Dubai Museum just a few days ago.

I know Dubai nowadays is all about luxury – gigantic malls, impressive cars and lavish lifestyle. But visiting Dubai Museum I’ve learned that Dubai is way more than the grandeur. Dubai is a place rich in history and culture which is worth raving about.

Located at the Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai which was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. Upon entering, you will be welcomed with a sandy courtyard where you will find examples of the various boats used over time (for transport, fishing, pearl-diving and more), numerous cannons as well as a reconstruction of a traditional Areesh house.

Inside Areesh House

From here you can have a glimpse of the interior design taste of the past

Various weapons of the past, traditional musical instruments and other artifacts.

Start of The Gallery

This is the video room, showing a video, updated in 2007 that depicts Dubai from before the discovery of oil in the 1960s to the current day. Below it there is a map that shows the urban scape of the city growing in sync with the timeline of the video. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the Emirate before the advent of oil, in addition to artifacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 B.C.

Life-size dioramas of the pre-oil era await behind the next door. A dhow unloading at the model creek-side souq. Moving ahead you will see the shops filled with craftsmen, vendors and buyers. A tailor, a carpenter, an iron smith, a textile vendor, the grocer’s, the Quran school and more. Realistic sounds and life-size videos of craftsmen at work give the impression of a bustling souq.

Look at the vintage Tide branding and packaging. I personally prefer this than the detergent’s current branding. :))

What is Middle East without Dates? :))

and of course Camel.

Depictions of desert life. A date farm, a camel, wild animals, and a Bedouin tent filled with jewelry, trinkets and objects from the daily life of Bedouins. The walls tell about their knowledge of the stars and how they used it to guide their activities.

The pictures above  shows the largest diorama which is all about the sea, with a huge scene of the building of a dhow, scenes of marine life detailing local species, in addition to a collection of sea-faring equipment. You will see how dhows are constructed and about the dangers of the pearl-diving industry – some divers could hold their breathe for up to 4 minutes and they risked jelly-fish stings and more in their pursuit of the tiny little white pearls.

The last diorama features an archaeological site in Al Qusais area that goes back to 3000 BC. There are tombs, an excavated skeleton, and an archaeologist. All the way sounds, visual effects and electronic guides accompany the dioramas. Cabinets filled with archaeological finds from Al Qusais site line the walls next to the excavation scene. Then finally the last track leads to a gallery displaying finds from other sites and historical eras, like the Umayyad site at Jumeirah. You will also see pots, pots and pots. Did I say pots? :))

Cute pens!

Then your last stop will be the gift shop from which you can buy several souvenirs.

Visit the Dubai Museum and learn how this city grew into what we see today. While you’re in the area, a visit to the Bastakiya (Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood) and the Arabian Tea House Cafe (read more about it here) is a must! These places are different stories to be told. :)

Entry fee: 3dhs for adults, 1dhs for children under 10;
Timings: Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 8.30am to 8.30pm, Friday 2.30pm to 8.30pm;
Location: Bur Dubai, 04 353 1862
How to get there:
Take the green line metro and go down at Al Fahidi Metro. It’s walking distance from there. it’s a bit of a walk though. Or from Al fahidi Metro Station, take a cab and ask the driver to drop you off at Dubai Museum. It’s a 10dhs ride.

Disclaimer: some excerpts taken from: http://www.expatwoman.com/dubai/monthly_discover_dubai_Dubai_Top_10_Museums_8471.aspx