my name is syazrin syigim sharifuddin, and i am a mandy addict.
i eat mandy yesterday. and last weekend. and the weekend before that. and the one before that. i eat mandy every single weekend! at the rate we're going, our favourite mandy restaurant SHOULD grant us a loyalty card or something...
for the clueless, mandy is a type of rice-dish that is very popular in dubai; some say it is THE signature dish of dubai.
however, a little research enlightened me that it actually originated from yemen. (where chandler went to get away from janice..) of course, it has the usual ingredients - basmati rice (fragrant rice) + mixed of spices, with meat or chicken - served on top of the rice - all served together in one single plate. if you're thinking of the briyani rice, the difference is that briyani originated from south asia; more popular in india and pakistan while mandy is more mid-east.
the most interesting thing about mandy rice is the preparation part. it is cooked using an ancient technique of cooking - in an earthen pot which is IMMERSED in a charcoal-filled hole in the ground! - probably done when man first discovered fire! masak dalam tanah tu!
imagine the big clay pot where they make ayam tandoori in our local mamak in malaysia - ok, take that and bury it in the ground to make mandy!
"..the meat of mandy rice is cooked in the tandoor, which is a special kind of oven. tandoor usually is hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay. charcoal is placed in the tandoor. then the meat is suspended inside the tandoor without touching the charcoal. after that the whole tandoor is closed without letting any of the smoke to go outside." ~wikipedia
how about that!
in my opinion, the best place to get a mandy rice around dubai is near the clock tower in deira - al-tawasol (now they really SHOULD give us a loyalty card or something!). but to be fair i've only tried two places; the other one is in sharjah - also worth-mentioning.
when i first arrived, mr khairul brought me & my parents to al-tawasol. seems unimpressive from outside - practically plain-looking - nothing significant about it at all.
once you enter, you are greeted by a host of smiling waiters clad in white shirt and red vest. quite presentable. right near the entrance, you can see a wide-open carpeted section for the males - all would just bersila around, the groups of males separated by pillows. right adjacent to it is the female section; separated by a curtain.
if your group consists of male and female, you would best continue walking towards the end of the restaurant, where you would find a few 'tents'. take off your shoes and walk in - make yourself comfortable. wall to wall carpet, pillows to sit on, lean on and in khaleef's case, to jump on, golek-golek on and to make bridges and fort with - it's really a wonderful place to bring little kids along - since they might be noisy, restless and want to move around a lot - and also add some privacy to a quiet family time.
here, mandy is served with a plate of 'salad' consists of cucumber cut into half, a slice of capsicum, some leafy 'ulam' and lemon slices for taste. (modeled enthusiastically by my buddy niraku) also served together is a small bowl of its special 'sambal' - blended chilli - and what i like most about it is it gives the 'spicy' taste but it's not malay-sambal spicy. just nice. mr khairul would gobble up no less than 3 bowls of those with his mandy...
want some more 'salad' or order another pepsi? just press a button on the wall of the 'tent' and a waiter would come along. going on friday after prayers means you probably have to wait longer for service or eat faster (if you're considerate of others!) - the place would be packed!
i love the rice so much that there is no surprise that it is in the must-do list when my best buddy niraku came over just last week. her feedback was of course, positive! how dare you wonder!
i have GOT to get over this addiction for the sake of mr khairul's ever-expanding tummy and mine too! well, i AM a recovering McD addict and haven't been craving it ever since i'm in dubai - but it shows that IT CAN BE DONE!
having said that, come over to dubai and try mandy...