Where We Are Going Today: Hot Pot - a Chinese cuisine in Riyadh
It offers a selection of add-ons to the hot pot concept: meat, vegetables and noodles, an array of seafood including shrimp, fish, and crab balls or squid rings, or more common selections such as crab sticks or sea bass
While the temperatures are still low in Riyadh, what better way to send off the winter season than to gather with friends and family for a hot meal?
In your next hunt for comfort food, head to Hot Pot, a local joint where diners get to experience a modern take on Chinese cuisine.
Historically, Mongolian warriors would keep warm as they gathered around a fire beneath the pot in which they had cooked their meal.
In modern times, restaurants offer a divided or split pot, commonly known as yuanyang pots, for diners to fill their soup with different ingredients, or choose a different broth-base for each side.
Hot Pot, located on the northern end of King Abdulaziz Road, is a cozy spot.
It offers a selection of add-ons to the hot pot concept: meat, vegetables and noodles, an array of seafood including shrimp, fish, and crab balls or squid rings, or more common selections such as crab sticks or sea bass.
One of the more popular dipping ingredients is beef rolls made of thinly sliced meat, but it also offers sausages, chicken wings, tofu, and much more.
A miso-based sculpted teddy bear is placed in one of the yuanyang pots as the server pours the hot broth into the container, dissolving the figure into a hearty base. The selected ingredients are added in, including veggies and noodles.
The meal can also be made vegan just by removing any meat orders to the pot.
Diners can also add on various dips to their bowls, such as Chinese chive flowers, chili sauce, and sesame paste. Pour in the cooked creation onto your sauce-glazed bowl, and pack a punch with the flavorful meal.
The restaurant is also decorated with modernized Chinese murals and lantern motifs, overlayed by East Asian instrumental melodies, giving a cozy but authentic ambiance to the dining experience.
Hot Pot is open to the public from 12-2 p.m., and opens again from 6-11 p.m. daily with limited seating.
Where We Are Going Today: Athr Cafe in Riyadh offers gourmet coffee
Updated 31 March 2023
If you like reading books while enjoying a beverage in a cozy atmosphere, you should visit Athr Cafe. Located in the center of the Al-Malqa district in Riyadh, it is a terrific spot to study, unwind, or get together with friends for a drink.
The genuine motorcycle next to the door, which gives the coffee shop a modern classic atmosphere, will catch your eye as soon as you arrive.
One of the most well-liked study spots for undergrads, this student-focused cafe has a ton of study spaces.
Athr Cafe offers gourmet coffee, speciality coffee, a selection of fresh baked goods and a variety of cold beverages.
The library area, along with the extremely comfy luxury sofas and the cafe's warm and welcoming yellow lights, are what make this place unique.
You can browse the selection of books, pick one you like, and relax and spend hours reading it in a serene environment.
A spacious sitting space with tables, a more intimate outdoor seating area with cushions where you may gather with friends or family to enjoy after indulging in some delectable sweets, and the library area make up the seating area at Athr.
Once inside the cafe, you'll feel as though you've embarked on a story that will transport you between its classic books and stylish, modern design.
Small business owners and locally produced commodities, including water, coffee beans, and baked goods, are supported by the coffee shops.
Visitors enjoy coming back frequently because of the staff's friendliness and professionalism, as well as the fact that every sip of every beverage is prepared correctly.
For a more focused drink, you may add a shot of espresso to their speciality — Athr Mojito — which is an extremely refreshing mojito made with berries or peaches.
The shop has a lot of natural elements, like wood and plants, that make you feel at home and entice you to remain longer.
The most expensive drink the cafe offers is the signature one, which costs $6.40, making the price rate relatively fair for a neighborhood cafe.
RIYADH: When fasting from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan many people can overlook the importance of a well-rounded diet and either overeat or fail to ingest enough nutrients for the day.
Dr. Mohammed Baker Alawamy, a consultant adult gastroenterologist and therapeutic endoscopist from Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, highlighted several ways of keeping healthy this Ramadan through diet and exercise.
“Drink ample amounts of water, try to limit the amount of refined sugars in your diet, and be cognizant (of) the amount of protein you consume,” Alawamy said.
Many people find themselves overeating during the month of Ramadan while others complain of weight loss due to having a lower caloric intake. The ideal wellness goal while fasting is finding the right balance that provides the body with proper nutrition to complete the fast.
“My rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight to reduce the muscle losses during the fasting month of Ramadan,” Alawamy said.
The ideal wellness goal while fasting is finding the right balance that provides the body with proper nutrition to complete the fast. Many people have their sleep disrupted because of the tradition of spending late nights with family and friends. Maintaining proper sleep is also important in Ramadan.
The holy month of Ramadan is one of the best times to create a reset for the body with changes in habits including avoiding unhealthy food.
When choosing the right sahoor or iftar drink to consume, many people choose smoothies believing that it is a healthy option that will satisfy their hunger throughout the day.
“What I usually tell my patients, the worst kind of calorie you can consume is one that is easily absorbed, does not satisfy your hunger, and is calorie dense,” Alawamy said.
Alawamy explained that most of these calorie-dense foods include juices, smoothies and ice cream.
“Obviously, you can make smoothies that are balanced and nutritionally excellent, but most people use frozen fruits, add sugar or ice cream, and do not include much fiber in that mix,” he said.
When asked about what “gut-healthy” foods people should make a part of their Ramadan routine, Alawamy explained that he has some reservations about the term gut healthy since it is “always misconstrued or misrepresented.”
“It is always best to stick to the basics. High fiber, balanced diets such as the Mediterranean diet have been shown to affect health positively,” he explained.
Many medical experts suggest avoiding eating processed foods and relying on nutritional options such as fresh fruits and vegetables and snacks such as nuts.
“Nuts contain a significant amount of polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy and help reduce the (craving) for other less nutritious foods,” the doctor said.
When the month of Ramadan begins many stop exercising completely, but Alawamy says it is a great time to do light workouts.
“It (Ramadan) is an excellent opportunity for most people to do low-intensity level exercises, for example, normal pace walking or brisk walking as well as stretching and yoga,” he said.
People can even engage in high-intensity exercise after breaking their fast, he said.
Maintaining proper sleep is also important in Ramadan. In many parts of the world, many have their sleep disrupted because of the tradition of spending late nights with family and friends.
Some people use Ramadan as a time to be drastically reduce food intake but losing weight too quickly can potentially be harmful to the body. Therefore, it is important to find a certain balance when it comes to the quality and quantity of the foods consumed, ways of staying active and regulating the body’s sleeping schedule.
When trying to find a healthy Ramadan routine that suits your individual needs and health requirements one can feel overwhelmed by the different voices and opinions online. It is always best to do thorough research and contact a trusted physician for advice.
Where We Are Going Today: Ortisei bakery in Riyadh
The bakery serves a variety of options, including croissants, flatbreads, sweets, beverages, sourdough bread, panini and sandwiches. The cakes are also well-reviewed
Updated 27 March 2023
If you are looking for a place to go to with friends or family for brunch, you can visit Ortisei. With many options for beverages, sweets, and sandwiches, the bakery can serve all members of the group with its menu.
Ortisei opened its doors last summer in Almalqa district in Riyadh, every day from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. The bakery got its name from a small village in northern Italy and it is best known for serving different kinds of baked goods and coffee at a good price.
Along with its delicious food, bright interiors, and comfortable settings, it has a calm atmosphere that makes it great for people searching for quiet locations to work.
The bakery serves a variety of options, including croissants, flatbreads, sweets, beverages, sourdough bread, panini and sandwiches. The cakes are also well-reviewed.
Among these, “Orti Sunshine” and chicken avocado are some personal favorite choices from the sourdough menu. The former is worth a try because of the unique mix of spices, creating an explosion of flavors in one bite that challenges your taste buds.
For people who are friends of the environment, Ortisei uses natural flowers as part of its decor on every dining table. In addition, it has a small fountain that creates natural water sounds in the background, connecting you with nature.
For more information, check out Ortisei’s account on Instagram @ortisei_ksa. The chefz application is also collaborating with the bakery to deliver delicious foods right to your door.
In Sudan, the arduously made “helo-murr,” which means “bittersweet,” is a drink synonymous with Ramadan
It can be found on almost every table across the northeast African country at the end of the day’s fast
Updated 26 March 2023
OM ESHR, Sudan: As generations of Sudanese have done before her, Wissal Abdel Ghany crouched next to a fire to prepare a traditional drink, a thirst-quenching favorite enjoyed during the fasting month of Ramadan.
In Sudan, the arduously made “helo-murr,” which means “bittersweet,” is a drink synonymous with the Islamic holy month.
It can be found on almost every table across the northeast African country at the end of the day’s fast.
“Without it, our table feels empty,” said Abdel Ghany, wearing a bright orange headscarf.
She sat in a small room in the village of Om Eshr, on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum, which teemed with a small force of women busily scraping and spreading a mixture before serving the beverage in clear glasses.
The drink has satisfied thirsty fasters for decades and recipes are “inherited from our mothers and grandmothers,” the 43-year-old said.
Corn is harvested and left to dry in the sun before being ground and mixed with spices such as fenugreek, cumin or even hibiscus — Sudan’s other essential Ramadan beverage.
This mixture is then soaked in sugar and water for several days.
Abdel Ghany spread a layer of the thick brown paste over a grill plate above the coals of a wood fire, cooking it into a thin, leather-colored film.
The resulting crepe-like layer is then peeled away and stored — ready to be soaked in the final step to create the beloved drink.
Served as cold as possible, the drink is one of many ways that fasting Sudanese cool off, a significant challenge in one of the world’s hottest countries.
The daytime fasting month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, after which they traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast.
In Sudan, the brew is so identified with Ramadan that even the US embassy took to Twitter to promote its staff making it, with diplomats wielding wooden spoons over embers and sipping the amber liquid.
Abdel Ghany said preparing the drink is a collective effort, bringing “together our sisters and friends.”
“We make it together to share among ourselves,” she said.
In Sudan’s cities, she added, some people don’t make it themselves.
“But they still have to offer it for dinner, so they buy it ready-made,” she said.
For Abdel Ghany, the preparation of helo-murr and the holy month cannot be separated.
“All it takes is a whiff of the scent coming out of a home to know that Ramadan is here,” she said.
It is made by blending or mashing the meat in the curry and serving hot with flat breads or on its own.
Here, Prashant Chipkar Qureshi, the culinary head chef at Masti Cocktails and Cuisine at Time Out Market Dubai, shares his lamb haleem recipe for a hearty iftar.
200 grams broken wheat
200 grams boneless lamb
2 grams red chili powder
50 grams yogurt
5 grams mint
50 grams yellow moong dal
10 grams ginger garlic paste
2 grams turmeric
50 grams haleem masala
20 grams coriander leaves
1-piece green chilies
Salt, to taste
Lemon wedges, 1 lemon
2 grams garam masala powder
1 gram peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
50 grams cashew nuts
To prepare this popular delicacy, wash and soak the broken wheat for half an hour. Trim the lamb (boneless) of any excess fat. Add the lamb to a vassal with about one cup of water and put it over a medium flame. Fry the onion until golden brown and set aside.
To the lamb, add half a tablespoon of ginger and garlic paste, half a teaspoon of salt, red chilli powder and garam masala powder, along with a pinch of turmeric powder. Cook the mixture for eight to 10 minutes and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Shred and keep aside.
Boil the broken wheat along with the yellow moong dal with a tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, green chillies, and peppercorns in eight cups of water until it is cooked completely, and the water is absorbed. Blend this mix for a few seconds.
Heat the oil in another container and add whole spices including a cinnamon stick, cooked and shredded lamb, the remaining green chillies, haleem masala, and half a cup of fresh coriander, and saute for two to three minutes. Add curd and saute for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add three cups of water and bring to a boil.
To this, add the blended broken wheat and dal mixture and mix well while adding a little ghee as you go. Let it simmer and cook slowly for at least 30 minutes. Serve hot garnished with fried onions prepared in step one, mint leaves, cashew nuts, lemon wedges, and the remaining fresh coriander.