Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dining out in the UAE: Lebanese Food

Whenever we find ourselves back in Al Ain, we make sure to head out to one of the great Lebanese places on Khalifa Street. Al Safadi is one of our favorites because of the good service and fresh & flavourful food. We've been frequenting this place for years now. 

As soon as you order, the dishes in the photo above arrive at the table. A huge platter of fresh veggies, a dish of black and green olives and another full of homemade pickles and radish. Oh, and pita bread and crackers of course! Our vegetarian friends have options! Our vegan friends have options! 

Hummus beiruti ( garlic and greens added) and moutabal 
(an eggplant dip similar to babaganoush). This stuff is to die for. 
I looked forward to these two dishes all the way over on the plane! 

Really good olives! I've missed you!
Olives in Canada are just not the same. 

A pint of lemonade with mint. 
The mint is pulverized into a paste and blended into freshly made lemon juice. 
Fantastic on a 50-degree-in-the-shade-kind-of-day, which are typical in Al Ain.

A simple pleasure in life. Mint tea. Sigh.

We weren't that hungry on this day, so we didn't order the fatoush, taboulleh or lamb marinated in yogurt. (We usually bring along a group to order that much.) Besides, I learned to make a decent taboulleh in culinary school. Here it is! (I wish I'd made this more when I lived in Turkey.)

1 bunch of parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 tomato medium dice 
1/4 cup fine bulgur, washed and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
a few leaves of mint, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Combine all ingredients. Rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Toss before serving. 

Light on meat, heavy on vegetables; light on sauces, heavy on herbs and spices - I love this healthy cuisine and can't find anything quite like it in Vancouver. Especially at these prices!

Bye-bye Al Safadi! Until next time!