Where We Are Going Today: Hathbah at Amwaj Mall

Where We Are Going Today: Hathbah at Amwaj Mall
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AN photo by Jasmine Bager
Where We Are Going Today: Hathbah at Amwaj Mall
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Updated 26 October 2023
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Where We Are Going Today: Hathbah at Amwaj Mall

Where We Are Going Today: Hathbah at Amwaj Mall

DHAHRAN: Hathbah, a new eatery located in Amwaj Mall in Dhahran, offers “authentic heritage food” in a space full of charming homely features.

We tried one of their most popular dishes, the mudalal, priced at SR55 ($14), which makes a perfect main course or a great option to share.

The dish consists of a layer of green dill rice, with pieces of perfectly marinated chicken tucked into a blanket of bechamel sauce and crunchy fried onions on top. Delicious.

A seasonal pumpkin salad for SR28 consists of baked pumpkin on a bed of fresh baby spinach and iceberg lettuce sprinkled with feta cheese and pine nuts with a drizzle of balsamic dressing.

We liked the texture, and the slightly tangy dressing was perfect after mixing well. A beetroot salad for SR25 came with fresh basil and rocca leaves.

The restaurant offers a few soup options and several side dishes. However, the main attraction is fish, which is served grilled, fried, baked or steamed, and with a side of sayadieh, saffron, dill or plain white rice. Hathbah spices add a little twist.

Classic favorites, such as chicken kabsa, hammour kabsa, and a choice of shrimp and tuna dishes, are also available.

Desserts include a date pudding with hot caramel and vanilla ice cream, and saffron cake, known as kanfaroosh.

For drinks, we tried their fruit cocktail concoction, which was enjoyable, though a bit predictable.

Next time, we hope to try their vemto mojito or one of the hot beverages, such as the Saudi coffee or kayak tea.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily. For those who want to dig in without venturing out, it also offers delivery via Jahez and Hunger Station.

For more information, see Instagram @Hathbah.sa.


Where We Are Going Today: ‘Jazzar’ restaurant in Jeddah

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Updated 19 February 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘Jazzar’ restaurant in Jeddah

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  • The shokaf was a grilled cut of fine tender meat that showcased the chef’s expertise

Jazzar is the ultimate destination for a carnivore’s feast in Jeddah.

Named after the Arabic term for “butcher,” Jazzar offers a wide range of fresh meat cuts. Upon entry, you are greeted by sensory delights — rows of coal bags, live cooking by skilled chefs, the aroma of freshly baked bread and grilled beef, and trays displaying an array of meats as well as a butcher inside a glass-walled room filled with meat on the second floor.

For those with a passion for meat, Jazzar is a culinary haven. However, vegetarians might find the scene a bit intimidating, as the restaurant proudly embraces its carnivorous identity.

During my visit to Jazzar, I opted for hamees — tiny, tender slices of meat and fat, delicately arranged on a bed of bread and adorned with tahini sauce and chopped green chilli. The tantalizing taste makes it a must-try dish.

My second choice was the tenderloin with entrecote sauce. While the tenderloin did not live up to its name entirely, the flavorful fries on the side compensated for any shortcomings.

The shokaf was a grilled cut of fine tender meat that showcased the chef’s expertise. Among the appetizers, the hummus stole the show, served with a thin slice of shawarma meat, adding a delightful touch to an already satisfying dish.

Each order at Jazzar comes with a complimentary shirazi salad, featuring a medley of grilled and fresh vegetables with a drizzle of tahini sauce, accompanied by a plate of cooked potatoes with savory gravy.

Situated on Prince Sultan Road, Jazzar not only boasts an enticing menu of meat and grill options but also offers a selection of refreshing juices. The service was great, with each order arriving at the table in less than 10 minutes.

For updates and more details, visit their Instagram @jazzar.ksa.

 


Bangkok: Ancient culture and cutting-edge health care 

Bangkok: Ancient culture and cutting-edge health care 
Updated 19 February 2024
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Bangkok: Ancient culture and cutting-edge health care 

Bangkok: Ancient culture and cutting-edge health care 
  • The Thai capital is becoming an increasingly popular destination for those seeking both traditional and preventive medical treatment 

BANGKOK: Thailand has long been a favorite destination for travelers from across the world, thanks to its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, vibrant cultural heritage, and always-on-the-go cities. But another facet of Thailand is now attracting numerous visitors to the Southeast Asian nation every year: it’s cutting-edge healthcare. 

An increasing number of visitors are drawn to Bangkok not just for the Thai capital’s ancient temples and bustling markets, but by the promise of world-class medical treatment. 

 

Khalaf Al-Otaibi traveled from Riyadh to Bangkok for medical treatment this month. (AN photo)

Thailand has emerged as a global hub for healthcare seekers, offering a unique blend of traditional hospitality and state-of-the-art medical expertise — the pursuit of health is interwoven with the rich tapestry of Thai culture. 

 

Rajeev Rajan, the chief business development officer at Bumrungrad International Hospital, told Arab News that quality of care and winning the trust of patients are the staff’s main concerns. 

“A patient wanting to travel to Bumrungrad can (simply) send us an email with a medical report. We take that report, and we give them an expert opinion with the cost of everything in advance,” he said. “Once the patient receives the appointment confirmation, they provide us with their flight details. When the patient lands, he or she is received from the gate of the plane, and escorted through our fast-track immigration office. We also have a complimentary shuttle service every 15 minutes from the airport to the hospital or to a nearby guesthouse.” 

Typically, the patient will enter the hospital the next day, where Rajan said there is a support team of more than 170 people who speak Arabic. A member of the team will accompany the patient throughout their treatment. Several of the doctors also speak Arabic.  

The hospital also offers prayer areas and Halal food choices for Muslim guests, and Rajan explained that the hospital also remains in close contact with relevant embassies, offers visa extension services, and provides dedicated offices for medical liaisons from diplomatic missions. 

Chulalongkorn University, home to Thailand's oldest medical school. (Shutterstock)

Of the 1.2 million patients Bumrungrad receives each year, Rajan estimated that 50 percent are from overseas, and of those around a quarter are from the Gulf region. 

Rajan said the hospital will soon open a coordination office in Riyadh and noted that the ministries of health in both Thailand and Saudi Arabia are in discussions about technical collaboration opportunities. 

Rajan said that Thailand received 50,000 visitors from Saudi Arabia in the last four months of 2022, and that he expected the total figure for 2023 to be around 250,000 to 300,000. 

“If you look at anywhere in Europe (or elsewhere in the West), you know, it’s expensive (to visit from the Gulf),” Rajan said. “Thailand is very close. Flights are affordable, and the destination itself is very affordable. This might be one of the only destinations where you have 100 percent security, and you have the halal foods, mosques, beaches... So, it is a culturally favorable ecosystem.” 

At Bumrungrad, Arab News also interviewed Khalaf Al-Otaibi, a 55-year-old from Riyadh, who had come to the hospital for treatment. 

“Once I arrived here, it took less than 10 minutes to see my doctor. Their services are great. They respect their patients. They explain everything in detail, and doctors (really listen) to what you say,” Al-Otaibi said. 

One of the rooms at Bumrungrad Hospital. (Shutterstock)

Jiruth Sriratanaban, associate dean for planning and development at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine told Arab News that his university is the oldest medical school in Thailand. 

“We work closely with the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, which belongs to the Thai Red Cross Society,” he said, adding the hospital is the only site in Thailand that provides proton therapy for cancer patients. 

Tanupol Virunhagarun, CEO of BDMS Wellness Clinic, part of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, said that health and wellness was an increasingly important factor in people’s travel plans. 

“Our patients come twice a year, usually, to check their body fat and blood. Those from the Arab countries are mostly interested in advice about longevity, anti-aging, weight loss, and sexual health,” he said. 

“At our clinic, we pay attention to physical, mental, and even spiritual health, because we believe that to have a healthy body, you should have a healthy mind. That is how our clinic is different from a hospital; we do a lot of preventive medicine here,” he added. “We want people to check their health before they get sick.” 


Where We Are Going Today: Nomad Restaurant in Jeddah

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Updated 13 February 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Nomad Restaurant in Jeddah

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  • The roast beef cannon with pale ale pie, charred cabbage and celeriac mash is a hearty choice, while the Sichuan seabass with crispy shrimp, charred squid and long beans offers a fusion of Asian flavors

Nomad, located at Sheraton Jeddah Hotel, offers a dining experience that takes guests on a culinary journey around the world. The menu, curated by chef James Kyle, a seasoned culinary nomad, showcases cuisines from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and East Asia.

Using hand-picked locally sourced ingredients, the set menu is limited and changes slightly on a monthly basis.

Starters include the beetroot-cured salmon mosaic, accompanied by heritage beetroot and fennel. For diners seeking a fusion of flavors, the Korean barbecue beef pot stickers with kimchi are sure to please. The yeasted cauliflower with raisins, capers and mint provides a unique twist, while the aloo tikki naan, bhindi fry, tomato chutney and pine nut podi offer a delicious combination of Indian flavors.

When it comes to the main course, Nomad offers options like the 12-hour braised lamb kabsa.

The roast beef cannon with pale ale pie, charred cabbage and celeriac mash is a hearty choice, while the Sichuan seabass with crispy shrimp, charred squid and long beans offers a fusion of Asian flavors.

Desserts combine local and international influences. The minted bitter chocolate basbousa with beetroot sorbet is a refreshing treat, while the banoffee waffle pie with caramelized banana, toffee cream and vanilla cream sorbet offers a combination of textures and flavors.

The strawberry consomme with vanilla noodles and macerated strawberry is a light and fruity option, and the blood orange and honey brulee with sesame brittle and Saudi coffee cream is a true indulgence.

The drink menu at Nomad is thoughtfully curated, featuring a wide range of mocktails.

Nomad’s menu captures the essence of its name, taking diners on a journey of world cuisines.

Staff go above and beyond to meet the needs of diners, including any allergies or dietary restrictions.

Nomad is open from Saturday to Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. For updates and more information, visit @sheratonjeddah on Instagram.

 


Winter in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk is time for reviving beloved flavors 

Winter in Tabuk heralds the return of beloved culinary delights, offering a source of sustenance to ward off the chilly weather.
Winter in Tabuk heralds the return of beloved culinary delights, offering a source of sustenance to ward off the chilly weather.
Updated 13 February 2024
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Winter in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk is time for reviving beloved flavors 

Winter in Tabuk heralds the return of beloved culinary delights, offering a source of sustenance to ward off the chilly weather.
  • Meat, vegetable and rice dishes influenced by local climate, flora
  • Cooking club in Tabuk showcases this season’s traditional cuisine

RIYADH: Across the Kingdom, culinary traditions vary, reflecting distinctive, regional customs and heritage that have been influenced by the local geography, climate and flora.

Winter in Tabuk heralds the return of beloved culinary delights, offering a source of sustenance to ward off the chilly weather. These gastronomic treasures, abundant in nutrients, play a pivotal role in nurturing well-being.

At the forefront of Tabuk’s winter cuisine, as elucidated by Faisal Al-Omari, head of the cooking hobby club in the region, are Mjallah or Khamiaa.

These savory treats, crafted from wheat flour dough and cooked to perfection on a saj, a convex metal griddle, are adorned with a drizzle of clarified butter or olive oil, followed by a luscious infusion of milk and honey to tantalize the taste buds.

Al-Omari further extols a plethora of seasonal delights, including the hearty Marqouq, a blend of meat and vegetables with dough fragments. And the delectable Malihiya, a harmonious fusion of meat, rice, jameed, yogurt and clarified butter, crowned with a medley of nuts and parsley.

Among the culinary gems highlighted by Al-Omari are Saleeg, a succulent concoction of boiled meat and rice simmered in milk and butter; and Jareesh, a flavorsome blend of roasted meat, onions, garlic and cracked wheat, which is slow-cooked to achieve perfection.

Al-Omari said it was important to safeguard Saudi Arabia’s heritage and culinary traditions by educating young people.

He urged foodies to join the Hawi platform which showcases the Kingdom’s various clubs and hobbies.


Where We Are Going Today: ‘Kas Gobn’ Cafe in Alkhobar

AN photos by Jasmine Bager
AN photos by Jasmine Bager
Updated 12 February 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘Kas Gobn’ Cafe in Alkhobar

AN photos by Jasmine Bager
  • The menu is meant to be limited and offers elevated old-school sandwiches like crust-less peanut butter, chicken, shakshouka, and, of course, cheese

If you grew up in Saudi Arabia in the ‘90s and wish you could re-capture that nostalgic vibe in a bottle, try Alkhobar’s newest throwback establishment Kas Gobn, which opened in late January.

It is inspired by the cultural movement of “kas gobn,” which translates from Arabic to “cheese glass,” when children would empty out liquid cheese —a popular snack — from its container, and use it to sip tea from after washing it out. It is such a relatable phrase that simply using the words “kas gobn” usually elicits a more carefree spirit and serves as a sort of portal to one’s childhood.

On the day of our visit, the small eatery was fully packed with excited millennial customers who took videos and photos of every corner. The Instagram-worthy space was littered with mini treasures from days of the recent past, like the “magic lipstick” that our grandmothers used in its distinctive green and gold cover; the lipstick would appear green but once applied would turn pink on your lips.

The cafe also has fun pop art on the walls and many other little treasures, including school books from Saudi high schools that take you back in time.

The menu is meant to be limited and offers elevated old-school sandwiches like crust-less peanut butter, chicken, shakshouka, and, of course, cheese. For dessert, they had a play on Om Ali called Bint Ali, which comes in a smaller portion but is just as delicious. It is the most expensive thing on the menu at SR17 ($4) but well worth it. They also had a few other snacks, each under SR10.

For drinks, they serve several kinds of tea as well as juice and soft drinks. For an extra riyal you could have it in a glass cup instead of paper.

Other than the small indoor space, there was also semi-outdoor and fully outdoor spaces with plenty of seats that spill onto the sidewalk.

The cafe opens from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then reopens from 4 p.m. until midnight daily.

For updates and more details follow @kasgobn on Instagram.