Monday, January 30, 2012

Khaleef’s New Angry School Bag

school has re-opened months ago, but haven’t gotten a new bag for khaleef.

mind you, we’re not the type who want our son to have everything spanking new every year – but the bag he was using was really worn out. i think the bag is not meant for rough school-use, it’s quite small, and not as thick and durable as a school bag should be.



…and then we found this bag.

khaleef was so excited because he had always wanted ANYTHING with angry bird. usually we found stuffed angry birds which does nothing – it’s just stuffed toys. at least this ‘angry bird’ merchandise he can actually USE daily.

i think it’s really cute too because it’s so bright red, with simple design that is not too tacky and has the right amount of side pockets for his water bottle and front zipped portion to keep his bus-tag.

and when the bag is stuffed with khaleef’s school books and his sweaters, it really DOES look like an angry bird! hihi.



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incidentally, this bag-hunting started earlier, with a very choosy khaleef who insisted in telling us what is ‘too girly’ and what is ‘okay for boys’, or else ‘my friends will laugh at me’. tsk tsk! he’s 6! and already succumbing to peer pressure!

what’s the rule he said? purple is a girl’s color! say what? since when? khaleef oii, bapak kau pun ade t-shirt polo kaler pink. shirt kerja pun ade yang color pink, kaler purple soft – and he’s still so hot and MANLY okay! haha.

but at least he’s not giving in to peer pressure in terms of demanding for the latest gadgets like ipad or psp – he just wants his stuff to be 'non-girly’. all must be strictly for boys and men!






a friend of mine quipped that this is just the beginning of a l---o-------n----g line of complaints and demands and preference of all things cool and strictly boys. well we’ll see!


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oh. by the way khaleef, mak found this old shot of you in 2008 during raya at bapak’s kampung – and surprise-surprise – you’re wearing PURPLE – and still looked so macho!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shawarma Close to Home @ Ibn Battuta Mall

when we want shawarma, we have to drive about 30 minutes across dubai to the area of bur dubai, deira and karama. that’s where you can get the best shawarma – delicious and cheap!

however, thanks to the info from a fellow malaysian akak ni, i discovered a shawarma closer to home – equally delicious, and relatively cheap! thanks kak su! she said her kids loved the shawarma and usually requested one when she picked them up after school.



this shawarma is in ibn battuta mall, at le bistro. le bistro is right next to geant, so after our weekly grocery shopping we can just head on to get shawarma. it’s not part of the food court, and it’s not really a restaurant. it’s just this long counter selling all sorts of arabic snacks and finger foods. the tables are without chairs – just these tall eating-while-standing type of table you usually see at pizza places.



i ordered the ‘small shawarma’ for 6aed, and mr. khairul took the large one. this is still pretty cheap considering that the ones in bur dubai is aed5. just 1 dirham more to get a shawarma closer to home without facing long driving and bad traffic? definitely a win!

the shawarma is only ready after 12.30 at noon. you have to place your order at the cashier, pay, and then pass the receipt to the staff at the shawarma section. then just wait for your shawarma to be ready.

oh, and try not to drool while you wait in front of the juicy revolving chunk of meat being cooked for your shawarma!



* * *


mr. khairul loved his shawarma, especially the delicious bread used. he wished it could be more spicy (he already asked for a spicy one but it’s still not spicy enough!). what goes into the folded shawarma? there’s chicken bits, pickle and french fries too!


personally i am satisfied with this shawarma – it’s delicious, hot and fresh, with a large portion, even for a ‘small’ shawarma. i wish they would put more of their special yoghurt sauce, because when the portion is huge, some chicken felt dry for lack of sauce. other than that, a nice discovery of a shawarma that is closer to home.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tower Heist, Moneyball, Point Blank & Drive


retrenched staff got their revenge by robbing their ex-boss in ‘tower heist’. poor team versus rich team in the game of baseball in ‘moneyball’. non-stop action french movie about being on the run in ‘point blank’, and an excruciatingly slow movie disguising as an action movie about a heist gone wrong in ‘drive’. 



* * *



think ‘fun with dick and jane’, and you kinda know what this movie is about. ‘fun with dick and jane’ starring jim carey and tea leoni (who is also in ‘tower heist’) is about normal everyday good guy forced into robbing people because of pressing money situation caused by his former boss. well, that’s what ‘tower heist’ is about too – a group of loyal, well-performing employees were forced into robbing their own boss for embezzling their pension money.

just like the movie poster tagline says – ‘ordinary guys. extraordinary robbery’.

it’s a power-house cast, with the awesomely funny otai eddie murphy, matthew broderick, casey affleck and helming the bunch is funnyman ben stiller whose movies have uniquely diverse storyline. expect a lot of jokes, and good acting. i didn’t know the exact line-up for this movie so i was pleasantly surprised to see oscar nominee gabourey sidibe in this, as the adorable safe-cracking expert.

there’s a commendable amount of action in this movie, a lot of heart too, and balls of laughter. the twist in the end is unpredictable, so that’s a real plus. a really enjoyable movie, recommended to those who miss wise-cracking eddie murphy in a role made for him. enjoy.



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first up, i don’t know baseball, so i wasn’t enjoying the movie as much as i wanted to. let me explain.

the movie is about the manager of a poor baseball team oakland a, brad pitt as real-life billy beane – they don’t have the money to get the best player who are so expensive. but then with the help of rookie peter brand (played brilliantly by jonah hill) they devise a computer-generated analysis to draft the players they need in order to win. this means, they can find out that they don’t necessarily NEED the best player, just a good player in the section that they need to work on.

tak paham? me neither. this is where the movie lost me. i just don’t understand the calculations that they do, and the baseball jargons they use to come up with the calculations. heck, i don’t even know how they win a baseball game to begin with!

so the only thing i can appreciate in this movie is the awesome chemistry between my beloved brad pitt (who is as sexy and handsome as ever in this movie, even though age is catching up and he looks so wrinkly in certain shots – and looking like robert redford too!) and jonah hill – they’re great together.

and of course, nobody will forget the daughter of brad pitt’s character – and the song she sang on guitar. beautiful. even brad pitt exclusively mentioned this on his interview with ellen degeneres.

the concept of this computer-generated analysis led to constant change of players all the time, so there’s no time for viewers to relate to the character of the players. as a result, their win or losses in the movie wasn’t so touching like watching ‘remember the titans’ or ‘coach carter’.

watch only if you’re a fan of baseball. and brad pitt.



* * *



mr. khairul loves looking out for a good foreign-language movies, and he has found a number of gems which became his favorites; like the spanish ‘amores perros’, korean ‘the old boy’, german ‘the wave’, uae’s ‘city of life’ and hindi ‘my name is khan’.

he also found this non-stop action french movie called ‘point blank’. simple storyline, great execution of the action scenes. when i say this is a NON-STOP action movie, it’s not just a line in my review. it really IS non-stop.

at a hospital, a male nurse saved a thief – and now the thief’s bro, and the people who is after the thief kidnapped the male nurse’s pregnant wife and held her hostage, until the male nurse can help the thief escape hospital and the police – who are ALSO chasing after the thief and the male nurse, believing him to be an accomplice to this whole thing.

and so began a heart-stopping chase scenes across streets of paris, running, chasing, trying to find his pregnant wife, plus with a great twist to the story. like i mentioned before – simple storyline, but the chase-scenes and near-escapes will leave you at the edge of your seat, wishing and hoping it will all turn out alright for the male nurse and his pregnant wife.

highly recommended.



the french poster of the movie


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oh, don’t bother reading this. this is a BAD movie! habih citer. for a movie called ‘drive’, this movie is so LEMBAB!

still here? ok lah, read on. i don’t know WHY on earth this movie receives so much praises, and people are even questioning why wasn’t ryan gossling nominated for an oscar for this movie – what? nominated for looking very dazed and uttering every sentence as if he’s just recovered from a hangover? no thanks!

i mean, he’s so cute and all, but not enough. na-ah.

wanna know why this movie is called DRIVE? because that’s the ONLY time this movie actually seems alive, seems interesting – only when there’s some sort of driving involved. mind you, this is NOT an action movie. it’s simply a movie about a heist gone wrong, and then for some reason, a lot of lembabness – the pace is SO SLOW! accept for the driving – get it – hence, the name of the movie. i think the pace was made to be so slow to juxtapose it with the fast driving.

and oh, if you’re gonna watch the trailer i added below here, you’ve actually seen the entire movie. this trailer should have a ‘spoiler alert’ to it. really. if you wanna watch a sexy, handsome, smooth-talker ryan gossling, you’re better off watching the funny ‘crazy stupid love’. he is SO HOT in that!



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still A LOT of movies to cover. now where’s my snack?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dubai is Cold!

it was not THIS cold last year. i remember because during winter last year, i didn’t need socks to walk around the house. this year, the winter hit dubai hard, and it’s windy everyday! REALLY WINDY. i look out the window, and see the trees swaying like mad each morning and evening.

when i send khaleef down to his bus daily, we had to stand by the wall – if not, we’d feel the full blow of the winter wind. really cold!

yes, it’s WINTER in dubai, and it’s a really COLD one these days!



too bad i didn’t capture the one with 10 degrees once!


but hey, this is not a complain posting ok. this is just a report hihi.

because, alhamdulilah, windy or too windy – i’m enjoying the cold dubai winter. this is the short time of year where we can go out for a walk in dubai, and feel like we’re somewhere in europe – with our thick jackets, snow caps and pashmina wrapped around our neck. also, by next month, temperature will start to rise again… enjoy the cool weather while we can!

boleh la berangan kejap!




i hear malaysia is enjoying HOT weather, no? i miss you, malaysia!

(our own paper thestar actually wrote about winter in dubai in this 2011 article. click here. however the last line of the article about booking MAS flights to dubai – not happening anymore! what, didn’t you hear? MAS does not fly to dubai anymore…)

Monday, January 23, 2012

the Tale of Rasulullah SAW and Oranges



one day, a non-muslim woman came to Rasulullah SAW bearing gifts – a few ripe oranges. the oranges were round and beautiful, very tantalizing. at that time, Rasulullah SAW was with his companions. Prophet Muhammad SAW graciously accepted the gift with a smile. then he ate the orange one slice after another. still with a smile on his face.

usually, when Rasulullah SAW ate with his companions, he would definitely offer some to them, but this time, he did not. he did not offer anyone even a single slice. Rasulullah SAW continued eating, every time with a smile, until he finished all the oranges. the other companions were perplexed with Rasulullah SAW’s behaviour.

then the non-muslim woman left, while Rasulullah SAW thanked her for the oranges.

that’s when the companions asked Rasulullah SAW why – with a smile he answered, “do you know that actually the oranges were so sour from the very first slice that i tasted? if you were to eat those oranges with me, i worry that one of you might squint your eyes because it’s too sour, or might be angry at the woman. i worry that she might be offended. that is why i finished all the oranges myself.”

and so it was, the mark of Rasulullah SAW’s high character – he will not look down on anyone’s gift even when the gift was not a good one, and even when it is from a non-muslim.


to emulate our beloved Rasulullah SAW’s character, we should always appreciate other’s gifts even when it’s not to our liking. just say thank you, and accept it with a sincere heart, because every gift is a rezeki from Allah.

got this from a friend’s FB page, shared from imam muda nazrul. it was originally in BM. it’s a very simple story, yet so meaningful, displaying one of many Rasulullah SAW’s great virtues. we should always try to apply Rasulullah SAW’s sunnah and exceptional character to the best of our capabilities.

GONG XI FA CHAI to chinese muslims celebrating chinese new year, and to all my chinese budies whereever you are! aku tak boleh makan limau lebih dari sebijik. confirm batuk!

*image is googled

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Real Steel, Dolphin Tale & The Help

3 more amazing movies, people. thanks for dropping by.

this time i watched ‘real steel’, a touching story about a father and son, and their boxing robot with incredible will power. also the heart-warming friendship between a boy and a dolphin without a tail in ‘dolphin tale’, inspired by a true story. and finally, a moving drama about african-american maids in the 60’s, and the challenges and harships they face each day in their jobs.


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i never thought a robot could stir my emotions like a human character can. i mean, sure – ‘transformer’ was a fantastic movie but those metal guys were already famous before the movie. and even so, the 2nd and 3rd transformer movies were just crap if you ask me. there was no heart in it. now this – ‘real steel’ you have got to see.

the father, an ex-boxing champion. the son was the one he abandoned, and now that his mother had just died, he reluctantly got to take care of the boy. the world is set in the future – where boxing has changed – instead of humans, robots are made to fight in the boxing ring. together, the father and son joined forces to lead their humble robot to victory, in the boxing ring, and into the hearts of the people. their old robot revealed astounding will power, and both of them discovered a strong bond of family.

hugh jackman as the father is as hot and hunky as ever. you can see the transition from a i-don’t-give-a-damn guy to a believable father figure. as a boxer character, you get to see some sexy muscular arms action especially at the end. *pengsan* hihi. the boy who played the son is just so adorable, that you KNOW he’s gonna be as handsome as his on-screen dad when he grows up! hihi. watch out for the dancing scene!

but at the end of the day, the robot named atom steals the show. no spoken words, his eyes just flickering blue lights, his movement clunky and he’s just metal – but he has displayed more hearts and fighting spirit just like any living characters.

his fighting scenes are one of the best scenes – full of angst, hope and struggle – you would feel like watching any other human fight that has rocky I or IV, or watching russel crows’ cinderella man in action – you want atom to win just as much. you cringe when he gets beaten, you get tensed when the clock is ticking, your gut twisted in a knot when he fell down after a strong punch. just like watching a real match with real people.

and when he triumphs, you will cheer even louder. a highly recommended movie. it has heart, it has action. a metal robot with human fighting spirit.



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dolphins are amazing. they’re said to be the 2nd most intelligent creature on earth – after humans. i’ve always been in awe of their charm as they ‘perform’ delightfully in water with balls and hoops; and captured our hearts in turn. ‘dolphin tale’ is the story of one such animal.

inspired by a true story, this movie is about a quiet lonely boy sawyer who first found an injured dolphin stuck in crab net. her tail was badly affected and had to be cut off. she was taken to the ‘clearwater marine hospital’ where she was named ‘winter’, and taken good care off. here on began the endearing relationship between sawyer and winter, as he comforted her back to health, helped her swim despite her disability, and best of all – helped her get a new tail, and a new lease of life.

the real-life dolphin with the prosthetic tail named winter (who also acted as the ‘winter’ in this movie!) still lives happily and continues to receive visitors at clearwater marine aquarium in florida.

the characters in this movie is lovable, especially sawyer. his dreamy eyes really shows how connected he is with winter. dr. clay (the person who runs the maritime hosp) played by one of my fav crooners harry connick jr is also endearing, and i love that they don’t waste the movie on the likely romance between him and sawyer’s single mom, played by the lovely ashley judd who seemed to have gained weight, but looked just as gorgeous in this movie.

watching ‘dolphin tale’ you will laugh, you will cry, you will clap your hands, and you will cheer. a tale of hope, a tale of survival, of a tale of friendship between man and animal, a tale of overcoming adversity and never giving up. a heart-warming family movie, with a positive message, with a feel-good ending. highly recommended.

“i am seeing something that a mother, a teacher dreams of seeing : a turned-on kid. he is so engaged, and it’s not with a game-boy. it’s with something that is alive, and beautiful and real.” ~ sawyer’s mother played by the lovely ashley judd when talking to sawyer’s teacher about him staying off school to help take care of winter.



this music video features clips from the movie ‘dolphin tale’, with the background song ‘safe’ by westlife which is played at the end of the movie. i havent’t really heard westlife in a long time (not a fan) but this song with wonderful lyrics really touched me. rasa nak nangis je!



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nominated for best movie, best actress and even won for best supporting actress – this movie has it all – an interesting storyline, great cast, and an engaging script.

a story about an author in the 1960’s ‘skeeter’ who decided to interview the african-american maids aka ‘the help’, and writes their point of view on their white employers, how they were treated and their trials and challenges against racism and prejudices.

the two main african-american maid characters aibileen and minny played their role fantastically well; aibileen the reserved, quiet maid, while minny is the loud-mouth funny one. together, they helped skeeter write her controversial book, after several mistreatment from their white employers. skeeter is played by the beautiful emma stone, who played her spunky, determined, out-spoken and different from other girls her age who are all ‘happily’ married.

the script is what i enjoyed most – sometimes touching, at times funny and most of the time, will make me think. highly recommended movie, especially if you grow up with a maid in your house, or if you are employing a maid right now taking care of your home, prepare your food and bring up your own kids, while her kids are taken care off by others!



if a writer went and interview the indonesian maids in malaysia, what do you think they have to say about us malaysians as employers?


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been trying to write a review ‘ombak rindu’, that popular malaysian movie among acik-acik and akak-akak. it’s coming. watch this space!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yemeni Dishes @ Turath al-Mandi, Jumeirah

people, i am a ‘mandi rice’ addict, and i don’t want a cure. haha.

i know mandi rice is an arab dish originated from yemen, and i can easily get it at my favorite place al-tawasol in deira. however, a new arabian restaurant in town ‘turath al-mandi’ claim to offer other YEMENI dishes as well.

mandi rice? mazby rice? makboos? bukhari? zorbian? other than these ‘rice’ dishes, what other yemeni dishes could there be? we went for a first try.


my yummilicious plate of mandi rice. yumness!


‘turath al-mandi’ is situated on jumeirah beach road, jumeirah 3. it’s right next to the also-newly-opened ‘dixie lee’ chicken fast-food joint. dixie lee’s building is very red and yellow, so you won’t miss it. turath al-mandi is right next door.

parking spaces are available right in front of these restaurants, but on a weekend it’d probably be full, so you either have to park a little further up or down.


* * *


as soon as we walked inside, we knew this is gonna be the ferrari of mandi rice restaurant! the posh lightings, the wall decor, the plush seats and carved windows – it was a really beautiful setting, though a little more posh for the humble mandi rice that we’re used to.

the place was really breath-taking.



ye lah, all this while we’ve enjoyed our mandi rice while sitting down cross-legged on turkish carpets while the kids rolled around in the privacy of the ‘tent’. the plates were just stainless steel platter, and cups were just plastic; so we won’t worry if the kids accidentally drop them.

at turath al-mandi however, it certainly brings the dining experience a little higher than we used to – huge square ceramic plate, heavy silver cutleries, spotless white napkin folded into shapes plus a very fragile-looking tall glass which has absolutely no business being around kids!


i immediately pushed all these fragile items OUT OF THE WAY from kazim!


i immediately told mr. khairul – if you wanna entertain clients, or guests, or really special guests, who are all ADULTS…haha – this is the place. it’s posh, it’s stylish, it’s got that rich yemeni culture in its gorgeous, very expensive-looking interior.

but us, with kids? THREE kids? and one of them is kahfi? na-ah. don’t risk it again, syigim! you got away this time! you got lucky! haha.



since we want to ‘hide’ our kids’ hooligan-ism haha, we picked this rather charming little closed-up space that looks like a half-cut egg. really gorgeous. cantik sangat. the walls inside our ‘egg’ was padded and the place was just comfy.

as you can see from the pictures, there are many other ‘types’ of seating – by the window, or around the walls if you’re a couple – your choice.

AND as you can see from the picture right above, mr. khairul was taking away all the fragile stuff from kazim. itchy itchy hands!


* * *



at first glance, i was kind off disappointed with the selection in the menu, especially considering my first impression on the posh place.

i expected it to be filled with exotic yemeni delicacies that i’ve never even heard off, with delightfully inviting pictures and colorful description – like the menu in the emirati restaurant al-fanar – really comprehensive with pictures and description both in english and arabic.

however, despite the cover of the menu being super-classy and hard-cover plak tu, the inside is just a short list of dishes printed in one a4 paper. talk about anti-climax, huh. gamba pun takde.

no pictures no description. how are we non-arabs or even arabs who are non-yemenis gonna know what those yemeni dishes are? i hope these menus are just prototype before the real one, turath al-mandi!

oh also, the food price here doubles that of al-tawasol. hey, somebody’s got to pay for the ambiance…


* * *


anyway, we started off with ‘fattoush’ (in the menu it’s listed as ‘traditional salad’) – a type of arabic salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread (the crunchy square-shaped brown ones – usually they make use of stale bread – ala, kalau macam salad omputeh bubuh crouton, salad arab bubuh baked-pita bread) combined with diced-up mixed veggies like tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and capsicum.

sumac (some sort of powder/spice) is usually used to give fattoush its sour taste. i don’t like too much of ‘sumac’, but when it’s done right, this is easily my favorite salad dish ever.


this is a complimentary appetizer which looked and tasted like our roti canai or parotha. mr. khairul said, when he ate at restaurants in yemen, this was also served before the main meal. i googled and found out that there were many types of yemeni bread – but this one is cooked using a tandoor – a big heated clay pot like nan bread.

it’s really delicious – thin and crispy, served with a dipping made from some herbs and olive oil. tapi kalau la ade kari, sedap ni!


ah, my precious plate of delight – the mandi chicken. the moment it arrived on my table, i knew this was going to be delicious, but NOT my favorite. why? i don’t like my mandi rice to be laden with unnecessary cashew nuts and raisins! i know they’re trying to be fancy and all, but spare me the extra taste – i just want the rice!

it was served along with the usual chilli-tomato gravy, plus oddly enough – a bowl of yoghurt.

my verdict : the chicken was delicious – juicy, tender, easily shredded, just like a good mandi chicken should taste like. but the rice, like i said, was not to my liking. it was not just about the cashew nuts and raisins, the beads of rice were not as soft as the ones you’ll get at al-tawasol, and the herb not as tasty as the ones from bait al-mandi.

delicious, but certainly not the best.


of course, mr. khairul the lamb-fan would order the mandi meat. rice – the same – filled with raisins and cashew nuts. the lamb meat was at its usual best – juicy, the flesh falls off easily from the bones and the taste – delicious. considering what we pay for, this was just a normal, good plate of mandi meat. nothing more special than that.



* * *


here’s my eldest boy khaleef at quite an interesting corner of the restaurant – buckets filled with herbs, spices and powder – filled to the brim. from all types, all sorts of colors and texture. a very nice addition to an already beautiful place.

there’s also a jambiya on the counter – jambiya is a traditional yemeni dagger which is shaped like a ‘J’, now used mainly worn for decoration around the waist with a belt, or used in entertainment.


interesting to note that :

  1. the prices of the dishes double the dishes you pay for at al-tawasol. mandi chicken there is just aed21 if i’m not mistaken. here it’s aed45.
  2. of all the mandi rice restaurants i’ve ever been to, this is the by far the ONLY mandi rice restaurant in which i have to pay for the accompanying salad. the rest would give the plate of salad complimentary together with the mandi rice dishes. tsk tsk.
  3. the yemeni bread they gave out before the main meal comes is just so delicious. it’s made FRESH using the tandoor, and i saw it myself (through a glass window looking over the kitchen) when i asked for another one to my table. well done turath al-mandi!
  4. camel burger is sold here. might wanna try that one out next!
  5. there are a few interesting yemeni dishes here, including the ‘tharid’ which is a traditional arabic dish made of pieces of bread in vegetable or meat broth. the dish is notable in that it has been mentioned in a number hadith attributed to our prophet Muhammad SAW.


~narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: Allah's apostle said, "many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained the perfection except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. And the superiority of 'Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. an Arabic dish) to other meals." 


~narrated Ikrash ibn Dhu’ayb RadhiAllahu anhu, we were brought a platter with a large amount of tharid and slices of boneless meat and i plunged in my hand in all directions, but Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu alaihi wasallam ate what was in front of him. he seized my right hand with his left and said, "eat from one place, Ikrash RadhiAllahu anhu, for it is all one kind of food." afterwards we were brought a plate containing various kinds of dates and i began to eat what was in front of me while the hand of Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu alaihi wasallam went round on the plate. he then said, "eat where you wish, Ikrash RadhiAllahu anhu, for it is not all one kind."


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ok – to me, the mandi rice dishes at turath al-mandi were delicious, but not delicious enough for me to come again for their mandi rice. but hey, i might come again to try the camel burger or the tharid. there are a few more rare yemeni delicacies that you might not find anywhere else in dubai, so that’s a plus.

also it’s very pricey, so i’d rather stick to my favorite al-tawasol to get my beloved mandi chicken which is much cheaper, with bigger portion, and none of the cashew nuts and raisins nonsense! haha.

the place is really beautiful (i think i’ve been repeating this! it really is beautiful!) so for a special occasion, or to treat a special guest, you might wanna give the posh turath al-mandi a try.

the pictures of the interior of ‘turath al-mandi’ are from its facebook page. thanks.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tangled, Ever After?

i’m a disney girl. always has been, always will be.

i know all the songs from whatever disney movie you can name – from the more popular ones like beauty and the beast or aladdin to the less popular ones like ‘robin hood’ and ‘fox and hound’ to the classics like ‘jungle book’.

so of course i was totally in love with disney’s latest princess in ‘tangled’. i absolutely adore her, the songs were endearing just like any ol catchy disney tune, mandy moore’s voice is uplifting, and flynn rider is just the most handsomest-est (that’s how handsome he is!) disney hero ever drawn.

and just today i discovered that they’re making ‘tangled ever after’! cuteness!



scheduled to be released already in january, it picks up where the last ‘tangled’ left off – flynn and rapunzel are about to be married and the unlikely buddies – pascal the chameleon, and maximus the royal horse lost the ring as they were about to get married! bummer!

so ‘tangled ever after’ is basically about the adventure of the two in recovering the rings. hmm, not too excited about the story focusing on these animals, adorable as they may seem – because i want to see more flynn and rapunzel – and more singing!

however, still looking forward to see it! wonder when is it out in dubai? while i find out, please enjoy this short clip taken from ‘tangled ever after’. flynn and rapunzel are so gorgeous together!



i may have THREE SONS, but khaleef’s favorite disney movie when he was younger was ‘the little mermaid’, and kazim would stop on his track when i put on ‘tangled’. my boys are all disney-ed already. haha.

now, for ‘tangled ever after’!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1881 Baklava From Lebanon With Love

any fan of baklava here?

some will say it’s too sweet. and some say they’re delightful drops of heaven to the palate. i will tell you this : if you felt that this arabic sweets is TOO sweet, you’ve tasted the wrong kind. a really good baklava should taste amazing, with just the right amount of sweetness.

the syrupy sweet honey would envelope the pistachio bits and ‘fillo dough’ pastry with perfect union. it’s sweet romance in every bite. ewah, dah macam iklan pulak.


the shop actually offered a plate of randomly selected baklava for a ‘taste-test’ before mr. khairul decided which to buy


looking at the title of this posting, i would like to state that i did not eat a basi baklava from 1881. ok, bad joke. mr. khairul got me this box of baklava from beirut, lebanon on his recent trip there – and the shop that made these baklava had been around since – you’ve guessed it – 1881. the shop is called ‘abdul rahman hallab & sons 1881’.

1881! gile lama!



it’s actually situated in another state in lebanon, called tripoli 85km north of beirut. the building looks amazing from outside, and even more beautiful on the inside – a reminiscence of old moroccan cafe, with a little hint of french---

ok fine! i don’t know architecture much ok. it’s beautiful. nuff said! haha.

anyways, a baklava recipe since 1881, huh? that’s gotta be one heck of a baklava to have lasted THAT long! it’s said that the baklava are hand-made, from the purest of ingredients.



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now, it’s the inside that excites me the most when mr. khairul first showed me. it looked like a baklava factory in there! it was so wonderful seeing all those trays filled with freshly made baklava, ready to be packed and sold.

i don’t know about you, but this could be a little bit of willy wonka for the baklava world for me! not as extravagant, but still! pretty exciting!

there are seats there for patrons who wants their baklava there and then – could you imagine the freshness of the baklava that came out straight from the oven and into their mouth – heavenly!


my favorite type of baklava – called the ‘lady’s finger’ baklava – a popiah-like sweets made from a very thin and crispy pastry called ‘fillo dough’, with nuts and honey or sugary syrup inside. it’s smaller (i think the smallest of all baklava) and bite-sized so i could pop this for hours! haha. bahaya!

i also prefer those with pistachio than any other nuts.

mr. khairul said this was his favorite because it’s very compact and chewy – so all the flavor of the nuts, and dough, and honey just gels together in one delicious bite!


it was so cute that the ‘chefs’ were all so malu-malu at first when mr. khairul were given permission to enter their preparation area behind the counter. everyone was hunched up together at one corner, curiously eye-ing this malaysian tourist!


and then one brave soul stepped forward upon mr. khairul’s request – to pose for his camera. he even sportingly cut up a few baklava so mr. khairul could ‘catch’ him in ‘action’ candidly.


…and then, all of a sudden, the ‘pack’ started spreading out, and appeared more comfortable. everyone started to be more playful and happily posed for the camera with different kinds of ‘action’ of a normal working session. hihi. comel! mula-mula malu, pehtu over pulak! haha.


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i’m very fortunate to be able to try the best baklava from lebanon, and the best from syria – and personally, i preferred the latter because syrian baklava are more crispier and that’s the way i like it. i’ve written about the baklava mr. khairul bought from syria – click here.

if you’re like mr. khairul and enjoy a more chewy baklava, you’d probably go for lebanese baklava. oh well, syrian or lebanese baklava – one is never enough…

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