Category Archives: Abu Dhabi

Street Food Delight: Nothing Can Beat It!

This is the things that you cannot deny:  However exquisite the food in a fancy restaurant, you can never resist the delicacy you found on a mere-simple-reachable location like… the street!

The things back home in Indonesia that I miss the most is the street food, nothing can compare the pleasure of having Rujak, bakso, gorengan, etc. Too bad (or on the contrary.. its good?) that United Arab Emirates (UAE) government is quite strict about this, they are not allowing anyone to sell/having business without permits.. especially street food.

Although most of the people staying here prefer to eat out (wonder why… either too busy at work or too lazy to cook!), UAE Ministry of Health have firm rules about this matter.  No restaurant can operate without following the policies from the ministry, even for the smallest canteen!

Because of these strict systems, the chance to enjoy these street food delicacies is very slim. The only information I got about the street food of other countries are just by stories from my colleagues and friends, then if I’m lucky enough I will find those items among the ‘starter/appetizer’ menu in a restaurant. At least I can have a taste of it… although I’m sure the enjoyment is much less than having it in the road-side!

In general, Indonesian street’s food is almost the same as Philippines and India. Well… Mostly India. Me and my Filipino friends will agree on most Chinese-type food like siomay, taho/tahu takwa/tahu chakwa (the difference is we eat it with ginger syrup, in Philipines only with regular sweet syrup), etc.

While my Indian friends will be astonished to know that among all those cuisine similarities we also have putu, vegetable fritters (Surabayan called it as ote-ote, many others say it bakwan), and road-side omelets or martabak, as we say.  To my surprise I never had seen any martabak here in Arab countries, whilst in Indonesia martabak is mostly associated with ‘Arab’ cuisine. Talking about misinterpretation

Introducing Pani Puri

Anywayy…  among all other street food I found here, there is one that become my favorite instantly.  Pani Puri, one of Indian street’s food. Pani means water, and Puri is what they called for a unleavened deep-fried bread . The rich taste of sweet, sour, and chili-hot is really a feast on my Indonesian tongue.

The unique thing about Pani Puri is, you have to eat it as fast as you can. The waiter /server will prepare the Pani Puri, then you have to eat it right away or else the the puri will not crisp anymore and the ‘pani’ will leak, so much to spoil the savor. Don’t worry, the server is so skillful that they finish preparing just right after you put the Pani Puri in your mouth. The sensation of having chilled and hot gravy – not to mention eating it quickly – is amazing!

Pani Puri - Ingredients

Continue to prepare Pani Puri

Special Report Abu Dhabi : The Hatam Resto

*Written deliciously by Wuri, Initialers from Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Enaknya dan uniknya tinggal di negara yang hampir 2/3 penduduknya justru expatriate adalah lebarnya kesempatan untuk mencicipi makanan-makanan dari segala macam penjuru dunia. Dari masakan Arab (jelaslah!), persia, India, dkk sampai masakan Eropa, Amerika, dan Asia Timur. Lengkap, tumplek blek!

Welcome to the Persian cuisine Restaurant

The Hatam, merupakan salah satu restoran arabia yang unik. Pertama kali masuk, ambiance Arabia amat terasa. Furniture dan dekorasi yang khas serta sayup-sayup bau bukhoor (kombinasi baubauan dari kayu dan minyak wangi yang dibakar) langsung menyapa. Untuk restoran yang lokasinya outdoor, bisa dijumpai juga beberapa orang yang menyedot sisha (pipa tembakau ala arab) yang baunya juga khas banget.

Di dalam, selain meja-meja dengan furniture yang khas, ada juga bilik-bilik yang bisa ditutup dengan gordyn karena kebanyakan orang Arab masih memegang teguh privasi. Karena privasi ini juga, saat gordyn ditutup para pelayan pun pasti mengucapkan salam dan meminta ijin untuk masuk, bahkan untuk menghantarkan pesanan sekalipun! Widuuh.. kalau di Indonesia udah buat pacaran kali’ ya? Hehehe

The Hatam yang aku kunjungi berlokasi di Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. Kali ini aku memilih duduk di balkon diluar resto, karena resto-resto yang sharing balcony di Marina Mall bisa dapat pertunjukan gratis: simulasi hujan lengkap dengan suara gemelegar petir dan lampu-lampu diredupkan.

Maklum, namanya juga negara padang pasir, hujan pun harus di-simulasi.. hahaha. Anyway, saat mata mulai memelototi menu, pelayan menyajikan complementary starter berupa sayur mentah (biasanya sawi hijau & tomat), acar (wortel, lombok hijau besar, & timun), kacang2an (biasanya walnut), cheese cream, plus pita bread. Cara makan? Roti dioles cheese cream+acar+sayuran.

Rasanya? Aneh. Hahaha.. mungkin karena nggak biasa makan sawi mentah, jadi rasa getirnya terasa banget di lidah. Berhubung aku juga nggak begitu doyan cheese cream, jadi makan pita bread dan walnut pun sudah cukup.

Melototi menunya The Hatam nggak cukup cuma 5 menit. Nama-nama yang tidak familiar salah satu penyebabnya. Karena naga di perut sudah teriak-teriak protes, akhirnya aku & temanku milih aja berdasarkan gambar, Baghala Polo (green rice + lamb) & mix grill kabab. 15 menit kemudian makanan datang.

Green rice + lamb nya rasanya mantap! Nasinya berasa mirip Arabic biryani yang kaya dengan rempah (kayu manis, cengkeh, dan kapulaga) plus tambahan dill leaves untuk memperkaya rasa. Potongan-potongan besar lamb – nya empuk dan juicy.

Waktu makan green rice ini, aku baru tahu fungsinya sawi hijau mentah. Menambahkan sawi hijau disuapan nasi ternyata mengurangi rasa pekatnya lemak. Sip dah! Walaupun sebenernya kalau ada sambel terasi lebih asik lagi… hehehe

Menu kedua, Mix Grill Kabab yang rasanya juga tak kalah mantap. Mix grill kabab terdiri dari sate ayam + sate daging kambing + sate daging sapi + daging sapi giling yang dibumbu & di-grilled + daging kambing giling yang dibumbu & di-grilled. Bumbu khas arabia juga kuat terasa.

Tapi fuuhh…, 1 porsi green rice ternyata sudah sangat cukup untuk berdua… jadi mix grill kababnya hampir tak tersentuh. No problem! Bungkus aja deh, pak! Harga makan siang di the Hatam just in average, hampir sama dengan resto kelas menengah di UAE.

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