Korean food – simply good.

I can say that I started discovering Korean food only 2 years ago, but since then it’s been a MUST to eat it at least once a month!

I would like to introduce you to this exciting cuisine and recommend you some Korean places in Dubai as well as my favourite dishes!

Korean food

WHAT IS KOREAN FOOD?

Korean food is some of the healthiest on earth, with an emphasis on vegetables, meats simply cooked and without much oil, and a “near-obsession” with the fermented vegetable kimchi, which can be a strange taste for non-Koreans.

Starting with ritual bowls of rice and soup, the main meal is built around numerous shared side dishes selected to complement each other. The number of side dishes may vary from two to a dozen or more but everyday meals will include at least a few. All dishes are served at once to share, rather than in courses.

Another cornerstone of Korean food is rice, which forms the backbone of almost every meal, although is sometimes replaced with noodles.

The Koreans have perfected the art of preserving food, so many side dishes are picked, fermented or salted and many are as well spicy.
Kimchi, Korea’s famous spicy cabbage, which has over a hundred varieties using different vegetables, is a constant of every meal. It is adored for its sour tangy crunch as well as being a digestive aid.

Other popular spices and sauces include: sesame and sesame oil, chilli pepper paste (kochujang), soybean paste (daenjang), garlic, ginger and chilli pepper flakes. Korean food tends to be intensely flavoured, spicy and pungent.

Traditional restaurants often feature charcoal grills in the middle of the table – a type of indoor barbecue. Paper-thin slices of marinated meat (bulgogi – literally “fire meat”) or beef ribs (kalbi) are grilled, cut into pieces, and wrapped in lettuce leaves with garlic, chilli and soybean paste. They’re eaten in one bite as it’s considered the height of rudeness to bite into a lettuce parcel.

Koreans also place great importance on the role of food as medicine, using exotic ingredients such as dried persimmon, red dates (jujube), pine seeds, chestnut, gingko, tangerine and ginseng in their cooking and also in specially brewed teas. **

MY TOP 5 KOREAN DISHES 

Japchae (sweet potato noodles)Japchae

This classic Korean noodle dish combines translucent sweet potato noodles with lots of stir-fried vegetables and a sweet-savory sauce. I normally order it with beef!

It’s light, flavourful and just perfect!

 

 

Kimchi Stewkimchi

Made with kimchi and other ingredients, such as scallions, onions, diced tofu, pork, and seafood. (Pork and seafood are generally not used in the same recipe.) It is one of the most common jjigae in Korea.

Like many other Korean dishes, kimchi jjigae is usually eaten communally from the center of the table if more than two people are served. It is accompanied by banchan (side dishes) and rice. It is usually cooked and served boiling hot in a stone pot.

bibiBibimbap (rice, vegetables & beef)

A delicious mix of rice, beef and vegetables cooked with garlic and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk and gochujang (Korean chilli paste).

The ingredients are cooked individually then beautifully arranged in a stone bowl called a dolsot, which is heated until the rice turns golden and crispy on the bottom. You mix everything together when you eat it.

Buchimgae (seafood pancake)pank

Known as a pancake, refers broadly to any type of pan-fried ingredients soaked in egg or a batter mixed with other ingredients.

More specifically, it is a dish made by pan-frying a thick batter mixed with egg and other ingredients until a thin flat pancake is formed. You will always find the seafood pancake with small prawns and scallions.

MY TOP KOREAN RESTAURANT IN DUBAI

Mannaland
It’s a very casual and old style Korean restaurant located in Karama.
The place is run by an old Korean woman that you normally will find seating at the entrance and managing the show!

The staff is very friendly, fast and efficient.
You can seat in the typical floor tables or normal dinning tables.

The best is the food and the price.
They start with the typical small sharing dishes (my favourite is the kimchi tofu) and very fast they bring all the food. I always go for the dishes I mentioned before, but everything looks very good!

Check out as well the Tripadvisor listing: Korean restaurants in Dubai.

Zomato listing here

And one more article in What’s On.

THANK YOU!

thanku

**Credits here 

Understanding the Emirati culture at SMCCU

We recently finished Eid Al Adha*, which is a big celebration for muslims.

*”Also called the “Festival of Sacrifice“, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr), and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. But, before Ibraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family.”

Understanding the festivities of muslim people brings you to understand they culture.
I had the opportunity to visit and have an Emirati lunch at Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding SMCCU .

The beautiful place is located in one of my favourite areas, Al Fahidi neighbourhood in Bur Dubai. The whole area is a recreation of an old Emirati village by the Creek. But this little museum bring you to the heart of the old Emirati houses.

We started the journey inside the house in the majilis or gathering space where we were all seating in the floor, as they normally do when they gather with the family and friends.

Ms. Fathayah, a young and lovely Emirati woman walked us through the secrets of the Emirati culture starting with the coffee traditions.

It’s a lovely Arabic custom, sitting with friends and family in the evening, and over several tiny cups of steaming coffee poured from a dallah,  discussing the day’s events. It is a custom that has, for several centuries, enabled conversations within a community, with family and people from the neighbourhood. Traditionally, and even today, it’s a sign of enduring Arabic hospitality, to invite people to come sit and chat, possibly munch on dates, and have a cup or two – no one’s counting. That’s the beauty of sitting in the majlis and sipping gahwa. It’s kept Emiratis together.

Cardamom, cumin, cloves, saffron are also added to add another dimension to the already exquisite taste of fresh coffee. After preparing the coffee, it is served in small cups to the guests. The person serving the coffee to the guests or family members (muqahwi) must be a mature one, at least 15 years and above and not a child so he’s able to speak well with the guests and not risk spilling coffee onto the clothes of guests as he serves them. “The muqahwi should hold the dallah in his left hand and about three small cups with no handle on the right,” he said.

“He should serve the coffee starting from the person sitting on the right of the majlis and should not skip anyone. If there is a very important person in the majlis, like a Sheikh or a religious scholar, he should be served first. The muqahwi should then serve others starting with the person on his right.” After drinking, the guest gently shakes the small cup to show the muqahwi that he’s done. The muqahwi always remains standing until all guests have finished drinking the coffee. And it is prohibited to serve coffee while people are eating food. (More)

She explained us about the Emirati clothing.

Man wears Kandura, a long white cloak. The color of the garment originates from Bedouin culture, as it is perfect to reflect the sun’s rays. Browns and grays are also worn more in the winter months. It is common for Emirati men to own over 50 Kanduras and to change them throughout the day, in order to keep their look crease-free and fresh.

Men also wear the Guthra, a headscarf. The most common colors are white or white and red checks. The Guthra is also an item originating in Bedouin culture, as it protected men against the sand of the desert. The Guthra can be worn in different ways to indicate status and importance.

Women in the UAE traditionally wear the Abaya. This is a long flowing black gown and can be plain or decorated with impressive designs. It is worn as a sign of modesty. However, it’s common for women to wear completely Western outfits under their Abayas.

Women also wear a headscarf called the Shela, to cover their hair. This is normally black and made of very light material. Many women opt for designer scarves, such as Givenchy or Dior, which can even be matched to their handbags. For more traditional women, the Gishwa is an option. This black veil covers the entire face; it is thin enough to see out of, although nobody can see their faces. A third option is the Burqa, which only shows the eyes. Together these women’s garments are known as the Hijab, which essentially means head covering.

While taking with Fathayah we starting eating the traditional #food !
By the way she is very open, and you can ask her anything (curiosity) that you have

Emiratis, as most of the muslims eat seated in the floor and with the right hand.
We had some delicious food:

Chicken biryani: lavoured rice with lot of meat or egg or vegetables. The main ingredients of biryani are rice, spices, herbs, vegetables and non vegetarian products.

Veal Machboos: is a very popular dish cooked in a large pot. It consists of rice, onions and meat, seasoned with spices, salt and dried lemon. This dish is prepared by cooking meat, spices, dried lemon, and seasonings in boiling water until they are very tender. The meat is taken out and the rice is added to the rest of the ingredients and cooked together.

Vegetable OR chicken salona  it’s a slow cooked stew, mixed with a lot of vegetables and spices. In that case was vegetarian but chicken is as well very popular.

Lugaimat: (I think I was waiting the whole day only to eat Lugaimat!) Crunchy on the outside, soft and airy in the middle, luqaimat are often dipped in date syrup and served garnished with sesame seeds. An Arabic word that literally means ‘bite-sized’, it is a traditional dessert popular amongst ancient Bedouins for its ease of preparation; the luqaimat is a firm favourite at Iftar experiences during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

We spoke about history, about traditions, about the importance of their leaders and how the system works in United Arab Emirates.

Was a lovely morning that brought me near to the culture of the country that I call home for the last 4 years and of which I’m so grateful and happy to be!

We could as well try their traditional cloths, here I share with you a nice picture of me with Abaya and Shela!
I highly recommend you to visit the center and walk through the old Dubai.

Basic Spanish Traditions

I’m Spanish and I’ve been living in Dubai for the last 4 years, and only this last Christmas I went back home to celebrate this important time of the year for us with my family.

Time flies when you are living and working abroad.
We forget about our traditions and lifestyle of our home country.

I wanted to share some of our traditions that are quite similar to the Arabic:

  1. We normally have a family gathering on Sundays where we cook and spend time together. It’s tradition to eat Paella on that day, but it depends on the region you are from.  For us, it’s very important to share food with our loved ones as it’s an important part of our culture.

    For the most religious families it is a must to go to Sunday’s prayers before lunch time.

  2. We like to dine together, normally the mother decides on the meal times in the house and we all have to be punctual.

    That means we spend a lot of time in the kitchen with our mum, learning how to cook and having fun and wonderful moments!

  3. A normal family, even a wealthy one will teach the kids to clear and clean all the plates and kitchen utensils as we believe every person should be able to be independent and know the basics of cooking, doing the laundry…etc.

    If you fall in love with a Spanish man, you might be lucky! He’ll probably know how to cook and clean!

  4. We have a strong relationship with our grandparents, we call and visit them as much as we can and we celebrate together birthdays, Christmas, Easter and any special celebrations.

    The Spanish have always something to celebrate!

  5. Our weekend starts on Thursday’s! We like to have a drink with our friends on that day, specially in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona where Thursday’s are the University nights! People goes out to have some beer and tapas.
  6. Our eating times are later than in the rest of Europe, we eat around 2 or 3pm and we have dinner around 9 or 10pm, we love having a “merienda” around 5pm, which is a small snack.

    I remember eating amazing fresh bread toast with Nutella… and as well going to the bakery and buy fresh pastries!

  7. In our tradition we normally do “siesta” which means “nap time”, this is because originally all shops used to open in split shift closing between 1pm till 5pm, so all families could have lunch together and have a little rest.

    This tradition however is not happening like before, specially in the big cities where shops are open 24 hours now!

    I never liked “siesta” but most of my family and friends does!

  8. We always say hello to each other giving two kiss (one in each cheek).
    This tradition can be a bit weird if you are come from another country.

    Only in a professional level we will keep the distance until the older person will decide to have a closer contact.

  9. Birthday’s are a very important celebration of the year, and we celebrate it for few days, first with our families and then with our friends!

    I personally love my birthday, and I like to celebrate it with all the people that I love. My father always calls me more than 5 times to wish me Happy Birthday! Of course I give all the leadership to my Mum as she was the one that made it happen!

  10. In general we don’t have sense of being strictly punctual.
    In Spain it’s accepted that people arrives a bit later to social parties or appointments.

    I personally don’t do that as I like to be on time, but if you go to Spain keep it in mind!

This are only the basic traditions tips, but we have much more traditions in each celebration, I’ll talk about it later.

I hope you like my post and that will be helpful for you to understand better Spanish culture!

Sushi: What it is and how to eat it!

The history of sushibegan around the 8th century in Japan. The original type of sushi was first developed in Southeast Asia as a means of preserving fish in fermented rice, so they used to salt the fish and wrap it in fermented rice to preserve it, as there was no refrigeration.

In the Muromachi period, people began to eat the rice as well as the fish, this new way of consuming fish was no longer a form of preservation but rather a new dish in Japanese cuisine.

During the Edo period, vinegar than lacto-fermentation was used to sour the rice, so both rice and fish could be consumed at the same time, and the dish became unique to Japanese culture.

Nowadays you can find Sushi all over the world, from street fast food restaurants to the most refined and selected restaurants where starred Michelin chefs cook for you, but do you know which is the original way to eat sushi? And do you know the difference between the sushi types ?

Here I’m sharing with you some good tips about the above.

BASIC TYPES OF SUSHI

Sashimi: Very thin raw fish or seafood without rice.

Nigiri: “hand pressed sushi” consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta) draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi; neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood.

Maki: “rolled sushi” is a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat known as a makisu . Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. Makizushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitutes a single roll order.

Uramaki: “inside-out roll”  is a medium-sized cylindrical piece with two or more fillings, and was developed as a result of the creation of the California roll, as a method originally meant to hide the nori. Uramaki differs from other makimono because the rice is on the outside and the nori inside. The filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and optionally an outer coating of some other ingredients such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. It can be made with different fillings, such as tuna, crab meat, avocado, mayonnaise, cucumber or carrots.

Temaki: “hand roll”  is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about ten centimeters (4 in) long, and is eaten with fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. For optimal taste and texture, temaki must be eaten quickly after being made because the nori cone soon absorbs moisture from the filling and loses its crispness, making it somewhat difficult to bite through. For this reason, the nori in pre-made or take-out temaki is sealed in plastic film which is removed immediately before eating.

I personally love Sashimi, as you can enjoy the full flavour of the raw fish, but of course, the quality has to be top TOP !

Here I share with you a clear and fantastic picture of how to eat sushi, I’m sure you will discover things that you didn’t know before!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that will be helpful for you to order is your next visit to a Sushi Restaurant!

Which is your favourite sushi?

My recommended Sushi Restaurants in Dubai.

3 Fills tuna and uni imported from Japan every Wednesday, the sashimi is my favourite in town, amazing place, staff and chef!

Tomo located in Raffles hotel, the head chef is Japanese and the Nigiri is delicious!

Zuma located in DIFC, a fine dining experience with premium products.

Nobu in Atlantis the Palm a world class brand ! Stunning venue and food.

Okku a contemporary Japanese Restaurant.