Living out of a hotel for 2 months has meant I have gone out and explored different places and foods. I have some pictures for some of the foods and places I have been. The most amazing thing about my trip food wise is that the Msa7ab sandwich (de-boned chicken)  of my childhood is still to be found from the same place and with the same amazing taste 22 years later!

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This is the place of the famous sandwich full of garlic and amazingly cooked chicken. PURRRRRR.

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And this cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to the said sandwhich. And by the way, this hasn’t changed either – mango, strawberry, and banana!

But this Cocktail from a shop in Salmiya is amazing as you can see 🙂

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A cool menu that kuwaitifies its offerings. Really cute.

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Tea is served on a metal saj to keep it warm with some hot coals

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Tea with spices, milk and sugar (shakar) cubes. Yum!

In the Middle of the Mubarkieh Souq is an alleyway filled with tables and hungry people enjoying fresh fish, fresh bread and other yummy things.

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Pomegranate Salad

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Freshly grilled fresh fish picked by my dinner mate!

In another part of town in a place that is slightly more upscale we get to see the menu in pictures on an ipad! This is a very common thing to see in Kuwait. Is this happening in other places, digital pictures instead of paper?

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Not the same burger but it’s sister did arrive. This one was called the ninja burger and came with a date sauce.

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This was a fusion of two of my favorite things pumpkin and cheesecake. I have noticed that in Kuwait sweets are not to be taken lightly. So many places making cakes and cupcakes and there is a lot of cheesecake to be had too.

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A breakfast feast, Homus, Ful, falafel, fateh, ash, fresh bread, and so much more. And some of the bread was made with dates mixed into the dough. It wasnt sweet as one would think… it was amazing.

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I did not manage to get a picture of all the amazing food before we devoured it! This was an Indian feast not to be missed.

Kuwait is a place that has a lot of western franchises, but if you look hard enough there are a lot of amazing local places and foods that are worth exploring.

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I have a love hate relationship with Ramadan. I love it because throughout the year this is one month where I am guaranteed a home cooked meal around a dinner table with family. It’s also the  only time in the year I actually stay home and chill out. Me and my mom have iftar together every day I am not out doing random stuff in the community, and that’s actually nice. However, I hate how isolating that time of day is in Ramadan if you are on your own or without family. Everything goes quiet. The silence is so deafening after the magreb call to prayer. If you are alone during that time of day it is a piercing sense of isolation.

I love the atayef, and if you follow my facebook status then you will definitely notice the atayef mania. This year I have decided to come up with crazy combos- I’ll be posting the 30 days of atayef at the end of the month for those that missed any. But I really don’t like how we are wasteful, over indulgent and excessive in our foods. Why? We don’t eat like this on normal days, and this “reward” only means belly aches and increased waists. Cant we make do with simple meals. I personally like soup and salad and maybe a few hours later something more substantial or nothing at all. How can an empty stomach take so much.

But my biggest gripe with Ramadan is TV you have three types of programming in Ramadan: Religion, Food, and Entertainment. I love learning about religion, I’ve always been curious about Islam and how it is interpreted, yet you will never catch me watching one of these shows. I refuse to be abused by these TV Sheikhs who invariable have one of these techniques when talking about religion: They either scream and shout and try to scare you into submission; or they over dramatize, and want to cry and have this image of repentance and sorrow and faked humbleness that they get on your nerves. Why does religion have to be either be a wagging finger in your face or a tear rolling down your cheek? There really was one great religious orator who I loved to hear: Sharawi- he was witty, funny, entertaining and made his point! From a purely public speaking perspective, he was fantastic! I even use him as an example in my Public Speaking Trainings and everyone can relate.

Moving on to the food shows, my mother is a great fan and over the years I have seen some fantastic recipes gone bad by modern intervention. I am a traditionalist in very few things, and food is one of them. Don’t mess with my grandmother’s recipes. Every time my mother or aunt tries to pull on over on me and say this is a new way to make an age old dish I ask “Is this how my teta would have made it?” If the answer is no then they know what I think already. This doesn’t mean I wont try new dishes- just don’t mess with my Magloubeh! And all these shows do is pass on the “new” way to make these dishes. I’ve seen wheat instead of rice in some, I’ve seen lemon replaced with onion and vinegar, I’ve seen short cuts and replacements to key ingredients and condiments and I say enough. TV food has made my mothers kitchen go 21st century and I hate it! So you can imagine my anxiety every time my mother writes down the recipe to some weird connotation been conjoured up on TV during Ramadan. Ramadan is about tradition as much as religion so please leave the funk till after Ramadan. (Yes, yes I know I am doing the same with atayef… but you will always find atayef biljibneh right next to them).

And finally the entertainment. I remember when I was a child there was one channel with one set of Fawazir which you had to mail in and find out if you won after Ramadan, there was one or two shows everyone watched and that was it! Today you have all these silly call in shows that offer nothing really but big prizes, you have some other silly show full of bad comedy that is supposed to fill the time between Iftar and digestion and then the marathon of TV shows begins. One after the other, after the other, after the other… I am sure you get the picture. And even if you try to escape and go out for the evening you are bombarded with the shows in all the cafes and they turn up the volume and everyone is glued to the show and their argileh! If you really don’t want to miss it- stay at home! I guess you’ve guess I am not a fan of the TV in general, let alone during this month.

However despite all these gripes after more than three decades of dealing with this month. I have come to terms with all these things and others. I respect what it is and what it means to people, whether it is about religion, tradition or spirituality or none of these even. I tolerate the crazy traffic and bad tantrums or just avoid them. I enjoy the food and tune out the TV. And say to everyone Ramadan Kareem- after all its only a month and we are more than half way done!

Have you been to the little hole in the wall of a restaurant called Pinoy at second circle? Its tiny little restaurant that serves Pilipino food and on the wall is a sign that says “we have hallo hallo”. Firstly, the name is just beautiful you want keep saying it halo hallo, hallo hallo, hallo it’s so much fun. Secondly, it’s a nice cold sweet drink that has chunks of fruit, jelly beans, and sweet corn. The drink is made by placing the chunky bits at the bottom, adding crushed ice to that and then filling the top with condensed milk. When you get it you have to stir it all up and then hallo hallo you have your drink to eat and sip all at the same time.

If you aren’t interested in the drink then try out some of their ethnic dishes. All of them are prepared by Pilipino women, so you know you are getting the real deal. And it seems that every day the menu changes because once you go in above the kitchen window is a little white board with “today’s menu” on it, each item written out neatly and its price tag next to it. Everything was freshly made that day, it all looked good and what we had tasted good.

Pinoy is place run by Pilipinos for their community, so sitting there you can observe the goings and comings of the customers. I was fascinated by all the women that were chattering and ordering and coming and going. I wanted to stay longer but the place filled up and I guess they needed the table since we were done. I highly recommend that you drop by the dinky hole in the wall for a good meal and a very different and casual dining experience.