Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

A great place to try traditional Arabic cuisine with a clever contemporary twist. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

  • Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist
  • Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb

DUBAI: Those of us who grew up eating Levantine cuisine will recall the warmth and flavor of many dishes, along with childhood memories of family gatherings and chitchat.

Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist.

Starters include shatta prawn crescents — sourdough sambuseks stuffed with prawns, shatta (a Middle Eastern hot sauce), ginger, coriander and lime. The crispy dough encloses a zesty and slightly spicy filling.

Aubergine sfiha stars — sourdough shaped stars with smoked eggplant, pomegranate molasses and walnuts — are a smokier, vegetarian version of the Arabic meat pastry or sfiha.

Dayma also offers a selection of four starters in its “swingers special.” Try a range of pastries and decide which you would recommend.

From the dips, we would suggest the carrot mutabbal, a perfect marriage of tropical and Middle Eastern flavors. Unlike the original recipe based on smoked eggplant, this one uses whipped carrots and caraway, tahini, slivered dates and coconut shavings. The dip has a delicious sweet flavor with an interesting sour aftertaste.

Among the mains, if you are looking for a more traditional or mainstream example of Levantine cuisine, try Beik’s lamb chops. The meat is delightfully tender, with a sweet and smoky flavor.

Looking to try something old style cooked in a new style? The kebbeh mini-tray bake features burghul pie filled with a tasty stuffing of minced beef, caramelized onions, sour cherry and flaked almonds, generously spiced with cinnamon. 

Another delicious main is the yellowtail faskar. Locally sourced sea bream fillet is marinated in ginger, tamarind and coriander and then barbecued, giving it a smoky flavor.  

Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb to honor the Middle Eastern tradition of serving guests coffee after a meal.

A great place to try traditional Arabic cuisine with a clever contemporary twist.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”