Thursday, July 24, 2008


Lovely weather here down south, and a great time to be on vacation. Showers every alternate day, and mostly at night, makes it all the more pleasant and un-invasive. Great for morning walks, the soil still being damp and at places squelchy, dotted with chocolate puddles. The morning breeze being so fresh and invigorating, that it falls under the list of ‘those inexplicable’ blissful sensastions.

The roads in the early part of the day, bears no resemblance to what it is, during the better part of the day! Wading through a sea of vehicles, could well be an adventure sport in its own right! Nosing your way, sidling into the gaps, instincts razor sharp, you need them, either to swerve dramatically, to avoid an over speeding driver, zipping inches away, or to wedge your vehicle into the narrowest gap in front of you, before nudged by a million other forms on wheels. Its survival of the fittest, the fastest and the smartest out there. While in the back seat, its best to just shut your eyes, or take part in some deep, engrosing conversation, wherein you allow yourself not to be distracted by a racey action-flick, unfolding right before your eyes!

Just thought would touch upon some interesting features about food in the Middle East. The staple diet or rather the one you would order in an restaurant would be like khubuz and hummus (vegetarian), and showrma or shish taouk(non-vegetarian) along with pickles and garlic dip, and of course the famous Biryani .

Khubuz (has varied spellings and pronunciations!) also known as 'pita', very much like our Naan, and is a bread baked in a kiln, and removed by metal rods, just like our rotis. But slightly thicker and sort of spongy and yeasty.

Shawarma is a non-veg dish (of chicken or lamb) where the soft tender cooked meat, is shredded and garnished. Eaten as a roll or sandwhich with the khubuz.


Hummus is a dip or a main side dish, basically made of ground chickpeas or channa. It has a nice smooth consistency and is very wholesome.


Shish taouk is basically chicken kabab, served with salad. The only difference, from its Indian counterpart being that, they form one long section, instead of chopped individual pieces.


Garlic Dip - Not sure what the exact Arabic name is, but it is an almost inevitable accompaniment, and is said to neutralise the effect of excessive fat and oil in the meal.

Biryani - To be honest I have not tasted a typical Kuwaiti Biryani, so will refrain from saying much, except for the fact that the dish did indeed cross over from Persia across the Arabian Sea to India. So I would think it would taste much the same as it does in India! Maybe another blog can be dedicated to this Queen of all Dishes at a later stage; Or would welcome fellow bloggers or readers to contribute towards this section.
From my limited knowledge, and from what I have observed from my short stay in Kuwait, I understand that the cuisine, is a mixture of Lebanese and Iraqi and Arabian cuisine. And ofcourse the country has been sort of swamped by fast food chains, which are so very popular, that you tend to find them more, than the typical Arabi restaurants, and followed closely by Indian restaurants of course. So we do have our share of Dosas and Butter chickens and Utthappams and Naans, regulary at the local 'Udippis' or 'Saagars' and the 'Daawats'!

10 comments:

Sparkling Red said...

I love your poetic description of your morning walk.

Good thing I just ate lunch or I'd be unbearably hungry after reading about all that delish food!

Tys on Ice said...

u serious? its raining there?...wow...here its hot...touching 50 degrees almost everyday...

u really shud start a seperate blog on the local cuisine...i hve found arabic food generally pretty healthy...but apart from the shawarma and grills , really dont hve too much clue abt it...maybe i shud start doing it...

nice ...

WannabeWriter said...

yeah... I'm enjoying the rain too after the scorching heat back in the UAE! Great time to be on vacation and laze around! :) And I love Hummus...it is healthy, you say? wow! :)

onlooker said...

@ sparkling : glad you liked it but i am not sure if it was all that poetic!!

@ tys : ya, heard its boiling out there! i was talking about my hometown, having come down for vacation.
not a bad idea, starting a foodie blog. was imagining it, wound with your dark humour all over, with exotic captions! :)

@ wannabe : i absolutely love hummus. Health part have to get back to tys for that! kerala must be lovely, here, not consistent showers but no complaints! :)

enigmoma04 said...

Careless stroll amongst the golden sand was rather poetic. I have not got a nerve to relish Arabic cuisines so far (eventhough wandering in ME for the past 10 years); your foodie blog incites me to have a bite of these dishes during Ramadhan

Mohammed Ali (need identity!!)

onlooker said...

@ enigmoma
thanks for stopping by and the comments, and a real surprise that you havent been adventurous enough to try out the arab cuisine. trust me its great! :)

Prats said...

wow!!! thats a lovely read on the cuisine there....had heard a lot of the kobuz and stuff....but this is good.

onlooker said...

@ prats - glad you liked the write up. Have always enjoyed your genuine blogs tinged with humour.

Reflections said...

Good Post!!!!!
I love the garlic dip & lucky for me nobody else does:-D.
The cuisine here in UAE is almost the same as wht u have described...
There is one restaurent here called 'Tazaz' which serves SMALL whole fried chicken with khubz & their special hummus. Absolutely yummy. Do u have it there?

onlooker said...

@ Reflections

Glad you enjoyed the post. No a pity we dont have the 'Tazaz' here! :( Though it sounds real yummy!! ;)

Garlic dip i enjoy them at some places, else its too strong, the garlic flavour. yeah it does seem like a very similar cuisine.