Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Asian Záhuò diàn

The winter chill is slowly creeping in the city.  This means that the a/c can start taking vacation from over-cooling the houses of Abu Dhabi.  Colder weather means hot chocolates and warm soups.  When I say warm soups, I meant those spicy Chinese noodles.  Ah, I miss my days in Singapore.  I can have noodles anytime of the day.  So how do we cope with cravings such as this?  Yes, we go to the shabu-shabu.  But, if moolah is a bit tight the best option is to make your own at home.  I don't mean buying those instant noodles with Chinese characters you can not read.  I meant, make it from scratch.  The noodles, the dumplings, the meatballs, and the vegetables.  So where to get all these?  Where else but at the Chinese grocery!

The Signage - Chinese LLC 02 491 9508

A friend showed me the place a few months before.  And what I have discovered was something that will keep me coming back to the store whenever the nostalgia for noodles and anything Asian hit me. 

The store with a huge Baqala signage and a smaller signage that reads Chinese Store is next to Beijing Restaurant along Salam St..  It is exactly in front of a bus stop.  If you will be taking the cab you can tell the driver to take you to the bus stop of HSBC bank along Salam St.,

Every time I visit the store, new items are displayed and it just makes me smile.  I remember, during the Autumn festival, they have tons of mooncake displayed.  I was so overwhelmed, I ended up buying nothing.  But I got some mochi instead.  They have all kinds of instant noodles if you are feeling lazy but want to eat noodles.  Fresh vegetables and noodles are also available and amazingly cheap.  They have all kinds of Asian condiments that you could think of.  Even refreshments that I used to see in Singapore but never dared to try are also being sold.  Frozen goods are also plentiful, I highly recommend buying those handmade frozen dumplings.  I can't get enough of those.

Instant Noodles (sorry its blurry)

Aisle of Asian Vegetables

I will be posting some pics, but I apologize if its not that good, since I was a bit hesitant to take some pictures, the lady at the store saw me taking pictures and she was eyeing me suspiciously.  Do come and visit the store, it was like Little China in there.

My loot! Vegetable Dumplings, Egg Noodles and Instant Noodles

Monday, November 25, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner

Wouldn't you just love to have breakfast for dinner?  I mean, pancakes and all those deliciously oily stuff for an evening meal.  I know its not healthy, but you don't get to do that everyday.  Well, I guess not everybody anyway.

On one of our spontaneous road trips, we found ourselves craving for a good hearty breakfast.  You know, the kind of meal where everything is fried and a guarantee that will have your blood pressure shooting out of proportions.  Unfortunately that was already 6 pm, something fried and oily from fast food chains just don't make the cut.  And then we found the restaurant of all restaurants for big time breakfast meals - IHOP.

I was so happy to finally have pancake for dinner.  We usually don't get to do that.  Knowing Filipinos, rice is the common denominator in every meal.  As my husband always say, a meal is not a meal without rice served on the plate.  Anyway, since we were in breakfast land, I was able to muscle him to order pancakes and breakfast meals and skip the side of rice.

It took us some time to choose what to order.  The menu just goes on and on.  And we can't seem to decide which one to pick.  My husband ordered the breakfast sampler, two bacon, two sausages, two turkey hams, two eggs, a hash brown and two fluffy pancakes.  While I ordered the Pick-a-pancake combo - two eggs, two bacon, hash brown and two fluffy pancakes.  I'm not a huge fan of pancakes with flavors so I went with the buttermilk.  There were four syrups on the table, might as well try each of it and it goes well with the basic pancake recipe.  The winner is butter pecan.  It was just so perfect with the pancake. I'm a bit disappointed with the pancake, maybe because I wanted it to absorb the syrup but not dissolve with it.  Maybe I'm just comparing it with Mcdonald's pancakes or even my pancakes.  I prefer my pancakes fluffly and yummy but don't crumble.

Pick-a-Pancake combo

Breakfast Sampler

The Syrups! Old Fashioned, Blueberry, Butter Pecan and Strawberry

We would have ordered more, but we have already reached our quota for sinful goodies for one week.  I guess, we just have to visit IHOP again to try out more of what's in their menu.

Sad to say, IHOP is only in Dubai, I do hope they would open one soon in Abu Dhabi.

For the menu of IHOP click here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Indian Night at Kebabs and Kurries

Ethnic restaurants have always drawn me like a firefly drawn to a lamp.  Unfortunately, I don't always get the chance to actually dive into it.  Partly because my constant meal-mate is not as adventurous as I am and partly, I'm scared myself, especially if the restaurant is known to be for boys-only type.

While I am still into the Indian cuisine (I think I'll never get enough of their food, promise!), we visited Kebabs and Kurries at Souk Central Market.  We had a hard time looking for the restaurant as it was actually located at one of the entrances of the mall.  I'm not entirely sure which one but its right next to where a guy makes handmade bangles and other hand intricate jewelry.

It was a Friday night and it was not packed.  Two tables were already occupied.  One table was obviously tourists and the other was occupied by an Indian family.  The staff immediately seated us and gave us the menu.  Good thing I have already checked the menu online so we could give out our orders immediately.  We ordered chicken biryani (what else??) and kadhai chicken.  For drinks, we ordered iced tea and mango lassi as this was highly recommended by the staff.  While waiting for our order a bread basket was serve with some dippings - mint and yoghurt.

Bread Basket with mint and yoghurt dipping

The food took some time to arrive, hence, the bread basket was empty after a few minutes of waiting.

The mango lassi was good.  Too rich for my liking.  The chicken biryani was good while the kadhai was not that memorable.  It just tasted like the Indian style buttered chicken.  It was not so spicy so it was okay.

The serving was enough for two people.  But if you are really hungry, you might end up ordering more.  I guess, another bread basket would have been good as there was enough sauce from the kadhai to dip into.  The food, the service and the price of the food was all in all a B-.

I would still visit this place just because the place is comfortable and the price was reasonable.

For the menu click here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Eid Al Adha 2013 of the Homebody

It has been a week that has passed since the busy Eid Al Adha holidays.  While most of the working class are nursing holiday hangovers, I am still busy finishing my to-do lists.  For a homebody like me, the holidays do not really mean a thing anymore, but an excuse for me to go out of the house and do something crazy-ish.

A few weeks before the big holiday some friends were asking me what are our plans for the three-day holiday.  Its one of the anticipated holidays of the year here in Abu Dhabi so why not do something extravagant.  I am such a killjoy because I opted not to go out and do excursions, instead we did our Christmas shopping in advance.  Yep, you read that right, Christmas shopping in October, I even started wrapping up some of the gift I have already bought. For those who are not an expat, December is the busiest time for all couriers all over the world, I think.  At least it is here in UAE.  Last year, a colleague informed me that if I want my balikbayan box to arrive just in time for Christmas I have to send the box by September.  Yikes!

Back to the holidays, we went to Dubai Outlet Mall to shop.  We were not prepared to see the outlet mall full of Filipinos who were also shopping.  Like shopping crazy.  We spent the entire day shopping and believing me it was not enough.  We have to do some pit stops at Emirates Mall to pick up my baking ingredients.  The second day activity was the same.  While most of my friends were relaxing at the park enjoying the cooler weather, my husband and I had to do more buying.

On the last day, we took a break and decided to have brunch at the beach.  The last time I went to the beach here in Abu Dhabi was 3 years ago.  July 2013.  So in the morning, I made breakfast burritos, corn dogs, store-bought fried chicken and fried rice and went to the beach.  We took gate number 2 as this is the part of the corniche where there are bungalows.  Unfortunately when we got there, all are occupied. We settled on a nearby grass and opened our blanket to start our little picnic. 

But after some time, a cottage was available and we moved our stuff under the shade.  Advice for those who are considering going to the beach in this area, if you have food, its better if you bring your table and chairs.  Although blankets and mats are okay there are ants.  Just to avoid biting into them, its better to bring something to put your food at.

By lunch time the beach was not so saturated anymore.  It was a nice day to relax and enjoy the breeze and people watch.  We stayed there least two hours. Yes, i know not much time to totally get a decent sun tan, but the heat was just a bit too much already.

By the way, the entrance fee was AED 5.00 for kids and AED 10.00 for adults.  Grilling was not allowed in the area.  Gate number 2 is the entrance near the Tiara Express kiosk.  It is also the entrance in front of the intersection with the Chevrolet Showroom.