October 29th, 2013
12:00 PM ET
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Qwaider Al Nabulsi is an unremarkable place, at first glance.

The clue is in the glamorous Indian woman standing out front waxing lyrical to a group of hungry looking tourists.

The setting is a Palestinian-Jordanian restaurant in Dubai (Qwaider Al Nabulsi, Al Muraqabat Street; +971 4227 5559), the tourists are refugees from the city's culinary mainstream, and the woman is Arva Ahmed - underground food guide extraordinaire.

Ahmed is talking about the history and variety of Middle Eastern cooking.
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Israel reels in restrictions on Gaza fishermen
November 29th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Ahmed Ferwana has a cookout coming up, one that's been years in the making. The English teacher in Gaza City is excited because his friends will be cooking a fish they haven't been able to buy in years.

Ferwana says the taste of this fish when cooked on the grill with spices is indescribable. He added that this fish, its name is translated as locus, is also a favorite because it has fewer bones than others.

Ferwana has missed this fish because of restrictions imposed on Gaza's coastline. Citing security concerns, weapons smuggling and the desire to prevent attacks, Israel restricted Gaza's fishing to only three nautical miles from shore. That's meant a small supply of fish and high prices for years.
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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Middle East • Radio • Think • Travel


Kuwait's love affair with fast food
November 8th, 2012
11:30 AM ET
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Thanks to its large reserves of oil, the small Gulf state of Kuwait has transformed over the decades from a humble pearl-farming backwater into one of the world's richest countries per capita.

But too much of a good thing, as many of Kuwait's 2.6 million inhabitants are discovering, can be problematic.

In recent years, Kuwaiti waistlines have swollen to make them among the most obese people on the planet. Nearly 70% of Kuwaiti males over 15 are overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization. For women, the figures are even worse - slightly over 80%.
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Filed under: Bite • Business and Farming News • Fast Food • Middle East • News • Think • Travel • Video


April 9th, 2012
02:30 PM ET
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In a Dubai café, patrons sip camel-milk lattes, camel-ccinos and shakes made with camel milk.

The newly opened Cafe2Go is one of the first to put camel milk on its menu and it seems to be passing the taste test with intrigued customers.

"I'm surprised because I was thinking it was tasting really different from the normal milk, but ... it's really nice," said customer Nadia Rizk.

"I thought it would be weird when I tried it, but it's just like everything else," said another, Sal Hobbi.

It is the latest sign of a boom in camel-milk products in the United Arab Emirates.

Read the full-story on Inside the Middle East: "Forget cappuccino, Dubai drinkers get a taste for camel-ccino"
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Saudi Arabia: A fast food nation looking to slow down
March 28th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Each month, Inside the Middle East takes you behind the headlines to see a different side of this diverse region. Follow us on on Twitter: Presenter Rima Maktabi: @rimamaktabi, producer Jon Jensen: @jonjensen, digital producer Mairi Mackay @mairicnn and writer Cat Davies @catrionadavies

Yasser Jad has a dream to open a fine dining cookery school in Saudi Arabia.

He founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association three years ago to create a network among his country's best cooks and encourage them to improve their skills and now has 270 members.

But he believes there's more to do in developing fine dining.

Read the full story: "Saudi foodies ditch fast food for fine dining"

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Filed under: Bite • Cuisines • Middle East • Middle Eastern • Travel


June 27th, 2011
01:45 PM ET
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Women in the West Bank town of Nablus are preparing to open a cookery school to teach Palestinian specialties to foodie tourists.

The school will be part of a cultural and social center, called Bait Al Karama, and will be the first women-led cookery school in the Palestinian Territories, according to its organizers.

It has already joined the Slow Food movement, the international association set up to combat fast food culture and concerned with organic, locally-sourced food.

Read Hungry for adventure? Head to West Bank cookery school and get recipes for Knafeh and Makloubet Zaher below.
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Filed under: Cooking • Make • Middle East • Middle Eastern • News • Recipes


December 1st, 2010
02:30 PM ET
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Amman, Jordan (CNN) - It's not the sheep he uses to keep his grape vines tidy that make Omar Zumot's wines unusual. Nor is it the fish he uses as a source of fertilizer.

What truly sets Zumot's wines apart is the fact that they come not from the lush vineyards typically found in France or California, but from the hot and arid plains of Jordan.

"My father was a vintner since 1954, and it has always been his dream and our dream to produce a good wine of Jordan," Zumot told CNN.

"You know when I was four years of age, he would always tell me this country can produce the best wine in the world."
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