Makkah Route should extend to Uzbekistan: Envoy

Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ulugbek Maksudov. (Social media)
Updated 05 August 2019

Makkah Route should extend to Uzbekistan: Envoy

  • About 6,000 pilgrims from 72 countries will perform Hajj this year as part of the program

JEDDAH: Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ulugbek Maksudov has said that the Makkah Route initiative is a very useful project to serve Hajj pilgrims.

Speaking to Arab News, Maksudov expressed his gratitude and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for providing the best services and security for pilgrims.
He added that the Makkah Route initiative was expected to serve more than 225,000 pilgrims passing through airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tunisia this year, and that in the future he would like to see it extended to his own country.
“All necessary measures have been taken to create favorable conditions for pilgrims, as well as reduction of cost of the Hajj,” said Maksudov.

NUMBER

96m - According to the General Authority for Statistics, the Kingdom has served more than 95.85 million Hajj pilgrims in the last 50 years.

This year 7,200 pilgrims from Uzbekistan will perform Hajj. “We opened more ports in Uzbekistan to facilitate our pilgrims,” he added.
The number of pilgrims arriving via the Makkah Route initiative has reached 164,040. The services include issuing visas, ensuring compliance with health requirements and sorting luggage at airports in the pilgrims’ own countries.

Guests program
So far this Hajj season, 911 pilgrims from 37 countries have arrived in Makkah as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.
About 6,000 pilgrims from 72 countries will perform Hajj this year as part of the program, the SPA reported.


LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Amadeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Amadeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Amadeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Amadeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.