Pride of Yemeni Cuisine @ Yemen Hadhramout

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Yemen Hadhramaut is a small restaurant tucked away from the hustle and bustle of mainstream Rayyan. The restaurant is located in Old Rayyan,(Qatar) on the way to the Al Shaqab Stadium and Rayan Municipality Office, facing the Old Fort.hadramout

This restaurant is a recent addition to the otherwise bumpy and boring route of my daily commute. Always rushing by, I had bookmarked this place to checkout later but kept forgetting. Exhausted of the tastes in Rayan, we thought of checking this place out. The restaurant has a separate entrance and comfortable seating area for families.

In we went, sat in one of the cabins and came a man dressed in traditional Yemeni dress with a dagger/ khanjar around his waist. With a warm smile he greeted us in and got the menu card. The moment we saw the menu, I pulled out my mobile and started searching the dishes on Google. The server explained all the dishes mentioned in the menu and even suggested the best ones. And so we ordered the following –

Burma

As seen in the pic, the dish was brought in a sizable stone ‘well’ (can’t call it a pot!). A mildly spiced stew of huge mutton shank and other chunks, cooked to perfection, along with whole potatoes and marrow. It was a clear soup / sauce, very clean taste and the meat was succulent. This dish can be had either with rice or bread.

Egg and Fasooliya (Beans)



This is an egg based dish. Well cooked and smashed butter beans, mixed with onions, tomatoes, chilies and coated in egg. Another version of a shakshouka. Even though it was egg based, it was amazingly not at all eggy (I don’t like egg much) and the taste of the beans with aromatic spices was very enticing.

Fahsa

This dish sizzled its way onto our table, presented on a hot stone. Fahsa is a thick dark brown gravy with succulent shreds of meat braised in a spice mix along with onions, fenugreek stalks and other herbs. The dish might look like any other gravy coated meat dish but do not get deceived by the looks. A morsel of this dish scooped with a piece of taboon (tandoor baked bread) will melt all your pessimism away. The spice level was just fine, the taste awesome. I loved this dish.

Just like Egyptian Khoshery, Fahsa, once upon a time, was known as the Poor Man’s comfort food. It is said that the history of Fahsa dates back to the Ottoman period in Yemen. In Sana’a, there were alleys of restaurants specialized only in Fahsa… wonder what’s the scenario now with the mostly destroyed town!?!

Forgot to take a pic of this dish. Checkout the video below… ;D

Summary: I was expecting a regular Arabic / Khaleeji sort of dishes but Yemeni dishes are neither. They are miles apart from the regulars that we would think of in terms with Arabic or middle Eastern cuisine. Yemeni cuisine with all its history has found its way into my favorites list and hope to be in yours too.

If you live in Doha, do checkout this restaurant.

Have you got a Yemeni Restaurant in your city or vicinity? Have you had Yemeni food? Do comment on your experience.

Bon Appetite!

Yemen Hadhramout Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Win A VIP Trip To Scotland

Is Scotland in your 2017 must see Bucketlist? If not add it and here is your chance to visit the Highland for FREE… Click on the below link and Good Luck

Bon Voyage

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A magical musical evening with Stars of Georgia

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Fine food, Ancient music, beautiful snow-capped Caucasus Mountains and valleys – these words translates into one country, Georgia. All those who have paid a visit to this eclectic land and those who are planning to, cherish the beauty, the hospitality and the fine music of Georgia that is unrivalled. Continue reading

Karahunj – The Prehistoric Stonehenge of Armenia

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We have heard, visited and even learned about the Stonehenge of Wiltshire, England, as an Astronomical Observatory built 3000 years ago. But Armenia has a much earlier version of the Stonehenge to be proud of. They are the Karahunj – located in the Syunik Province of Southern Armenia, in the city of Sisian. Archaeological evidences show that these pre-historic megalithic structures are in existence since 7500 years, which mean they were built even before the Stonehenge and the Pyramids!!  Continue reading

ARMENIA VISA PROCEDURE (GCC RESIDENTS)

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The visa procedure for Armenia is a breeze and you can acquire it from any Armenian Consulate / Embassy that’s nearest to you. Being a Qatar resident, the nearest Consulate were in UAE & Kuwait.

I opted to fly into Abu Dhabi and apply the visa personally since we were short of time, with the GCC Eid Holidays scheduled to begin in 4 days.  If you have ample time in hand, you may courier your documents and passport directly to them or approach a relevant travel agency. Indians cannot obtain visa from any of the Border check points and hence has to have the visa prior to travel.

The documents required for submission are –

  1. Original passport with 6 months validity
  2. Visa application form duly filled in – click here
  3. 2 passport size photographs in blue background
  4. Hotel booking confirmation (optional – I just mentioned the hotel details in the application form and was accepted)

In Abu Dhabi, the Embassy is located at Al Karamah 24 Street, Zone 2  (@ the Embassies District). If you are driving from the city, then turn right from the traffic lights in front of Novotel Al Bustan (Novotel on your left hand side), drive straight and take a left turn at the first traffic lights and drive straight for 100 m or so and you will see the Embassy on your right hand side.

Once you enter the premises, the consular section is on the left hand side of the building (not the center door). Once they verify all your documents, then they will ask you to do your payments through their E-portal. So make sure you have your internet connection available on mobile (no Wi-Fi available in the premises).

  1. Go to their e-portal (check below pic) http://www.e-payments.am
  2. Change to English language
  3. Scroll down until you see consular services
  4. Click on 21days single entry (or whatever is your choice)
  5. Then it will show the amount to be paid – click on it
  6. Then shall ask you to pay by PAY PAL
  7. If you don’t have a PAY PAL account, scroll down and create one for each applicant (you cannot club the payments into one account for all the applicants)
  8. Pay the specified amount

Once you get the payment confirmation, show it to the personnel there, they will confirm the receipt of your payment, print and add it to your application and then give you the date to pick up your visa. Voila… That’s all…

The visa fee for Indian Passport Holders intending Single Entry for/ upto 21 days is 7 USD per person.AM E PAY

P.S:  The lady at the reception will help you with the procedures but if you want to avoid the wait, you may follow the procedure as mentioned above.

If you are visiting Georgia (if it’s an inclusion in your Armenian tour itinerary), then you can apply for the Armenian visa @ the Consulate in Tbilisi with the above mentioned documents and the processing time is 3 working days. If you intend to / are visiting Azerbaijan or Turkey, then the only route to get into Armenia is through Georgia (Tbilisi). So that is also a good choice.

From Qatar – Qatar Airways fly directly into Yerevan with a flying time of 3 hours.

Fly Dubai, Air Arabia and Etihad are you options to fly directly into Yerevan from UAE

For additional information may email to the Embassy at visa@mfa.am or call at (+37460620516);

In Abu Dhabi – call +971 2 444 41 96 or mail to armemiratesembassy@mfa.am

Update to Armenian Visa Procedures:

As per the latest update from the Embassy of Armenia in UAE, GCC residents*  with a valid residency visa of your respective GCC country are eligible for VISA ON ARRIVAL in Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport. The Embassy official confirmed that the new law has been relayed to all the airlines as well airports of GCC countries. The official confirmed VOA for Indian citizens and few other nationalities, though the VOA is not open to some nationalities in spite of possessing an GCC Residence Visa.

Below is an excerpt from the Embassy website:

*Important Notes

In border-control points only 3-day Transit visas and 21/120 days Visitor visas are issued.

Foreigners who can travel to Armenia only upon invitation cannot obtain Armenian visa upon arrival.

Have you traveled to Armenia recently? If so, Please share any further information on this here, so that it’ll be a great help to fellow and prospective travelers.

Bon Voyage

 

Ramadan & Eid in the Caucasus

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Eid was approaching with a blissful number of holidays showered upon… Shy was already looking forward to his next trip and asked me to decide the destination. I was just back from my month long travel from South East Asia and was a bit tired. Nevertheless, the thought of getting to explore a new country poured in some energy and so I sat with sleepless nights searching for a potential destination that fitted our vacation days as well the current weather. I wanted to fly to the Scandinavia as the climate at this time of the year was excellent and  a rescue from the building up heat and humidity of Qatar (and similar GCC countries)… But Shy was reluctant as the travel time was too much for him, plus quick visa procedures as we were left with only few  weeks ahead before the holidays began.

So we decided on the Caucasian countries finally –

Azerbaijan – They have an Embassy in Qatar and the visa procedure is easyGYD

Georgia – Everyone were flocking to Georgia from the GCC due to the Visa – free entry rule for all the GCC residents. We had been to Georgia last year and loved the country so much that visiting it again was a welcomeTBS

Armenia – Acquiring visa is a breeze but the only problem is that the nearest Consulate was in either Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. Find the details of the visa procedures in my next postYEREVAN

The plus point with all these countries is the availability of low cost / budget carriers like Fly Dubai and Air Arabia flying to these destinations for reasonable price. On Qatar Airways, the flying time to these places are no more than 2 – 3 hours, expenses are very pocket friendly, less touristy and awesome hospitality towards foreigners, especially Indians.

And so we made it to these Ex-Soviet countries nestled in the Caucasian Mountains, which were also part of the Ancient Silk Route, and subjected to countless invasions by the Russians,Iranians& the Ottoman Turks. All of them are blessed with breathtaking views, nature in abundance and great climate even during this Summer… Food is another allure to visit them.

We flew into Azerbaijan, walked across the border to Georgia,then crossed over to Armenia and flew back to Qatar.

It is advisable to follow this route rather than vice-versa, the reasons of which I shall detail in my upcoming posts.

Are we willing to revisit these countries???

Definitely YESSSS

 

Have you visited these countries? If so what are your opinions? Did you enjoy your visit or did you face any hardships? Do share in your story too..

 

 

 

 

 

Prometheus Cave

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Ever read or heard of Prometheus – the Greek deity – believed to be the creator of mankind. Legend has it that Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. The Gods were angered and as a punishment he was chained to an unbreakable rock inside a cave. Guess where that cave is in today’s world!?! Continue reading

Turkey Day 1 – Istanbul

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Blue Mosque thru the eyes of Hagia Sophia

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been planning to visit Turkey but each time there would be one or the other unrest in the capital or Istanbul ‘coz of which our travel plans always got evaded or rescheduled. After consulting with multiple tour guides as well residents in Turkey and heeding to their safety assurances, we decided to fly in to this fantasy land which always reminds me of 1001 Arabian Night stories. Continue reading

Kochi is not a city… It’s a Feeling

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KOCHIKochi (Cochin) is the (upcoming) metropolitan city of Kerala and the second largest city in the state, next to its capital Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). Kochis is the ‘bollywood city’ of Kerala with most of Malayalam actors building their cocoon in this ever-growing port city.

Kochi known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea and ‘The Gateway to Kerala’ was a major trade center especially for spice (after the port of Muziris ceased to exist) esp during the 14th century and on until the British decided to leave India.

Kochi became the second capital of the Cochin Maharajas, who were also known as Perumpadappu Swaroopam, after the Zamorins of Calicut invaded their capital Perumpadappu (the town where I hail from in Kerala, now in the Malappuram District)..

Fort Kochi or Fort Cochin is the tourist hub of Cochin and most of those who visit Kerala – God’s Own Country. This place is shrouded in history with the most projected from the era whence the Portuguese & Dutch walked this land and left their mark… Continue reading