KSA students in UK launch app to help users find halal food hotels

Updated 17 June 2016

KSA students in UK launch app to help users find halal food hotels

JEDDAH: Saudi scholarship students in the UK have launched an app which will provide an informative way to identify sources and origin of cuisines and dishes during the month of Ramadan.
The application will help users to locate “the nearest mosque, halal food hotels and restaurants,” in Europe.
The students said the app consists a special map which highlights the necessary information on the source of meat in these countries, especially for those who do not know which restaurants serve halal food.
Abdul Kareem Fawaz, one of the pupils, said Muslim student clubs in Britain become active during Ramadan in raising awareness among youth to stay away from crowded places and to avoid suspicious persons.
“Our campaigns use social media to broadcast information on nearby mosques, halal food restaurants, and shops that sell food for Muslims in particular, in addition to other necessary information for thousands of students in Europe,” he said.
Separately, scholarship students in the US held a lecture on halal food and healthy eating recently. The lectures included topics on Saudi traditions during Ramadan, and suitable food for fasting.
Shadi Mustafa, a dietician, said Saudi students in European countries have good knowledge on halal food.
“The most important thing for Muslims in Europe to worry about is the growing trend of going to local fast-food restaurants. It is always good to inquire about the ingredients of any food before buying it,” he said. He warned against some sweets which might contain lard or “pig fat.”
“It’s best to seek experts’ guidance on the matter and stay in touch with either social media or by joining the country’s clubs to learn more about Halal food,” he added.


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

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo 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 Madeo 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 Madeo

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.

Madeo 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 Madeo 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.