This old-time classic hails from Safestway, the supermarket that was gourmet for us twenty years ago. The supermarket that is so old by Dubai's standards that it's already undergone one entire name change (Safeway -> Safestway). The supermarket that really should be granted some sort of ancient heritage status in this baby city that we live in.
Safestway stands right there, in the place it’s always been, strong and very short by Dubai standards, reigniting childhood memories for those of us dragons who’ve lived here since the 70’s and 80’s. Despite all the new twirly glass panelled buildings that have soared up along Sheikh Zayed, poor old dusty Safestway continues to wobble on, a stubborn bastion of old-time treats like the date bread that my friends had been reminiscing about a few weeks ago. I had to go back and check if they still had it, and they do. Ta da.
This should go down in the yet unbuilt, museum of Dubai Food History. But when it IS built, I can assure you that it will be The Biggest, The Shiniest, The Most Ancient Amongst New Cities of The World Museum that will ever be built. I reckon it’ll break at least three world records. Or even four, because maybe someone in the marketing department will figure out how to spend the most amount of money that can ever be spent on building a museum. I hope some of those funds go towards designing a fantabulous museum cafeteria. Serving the most expensive Malyali anda paratha that could ever be served on the face of the planet.
Stuffed into the doughy protruding arms of this tender star-shaped bun is a grainy, sweet date paste. I’ve nibbled it plain, toasted, dipped into tea [and then fished out sheepishly when the entire chunk splashed in]…it tasted great every time. I think it could be a serious contender on the Friday brunch table when served with something decadent, like creamy mascarpone cheese, or if it’s covered in custard and baked up as a bread pudding.
But getting back to the meadow of food I’ve been rolling around in lately, some of it has been for food obsession articles [the fun stuff that I eat to earn, so I can earn to eat more fun stuff. The voracious cycle.], sponsored meals that I usually don’t write about, or random odds and ends for [warning: shameless plug on its way] Frying Pan Food Adventures. Have I ever mentioned that crazy business idea to have people eat around Old Dubai with me? Yeah, that. I've been working on it since February, and this month is GULP. It’s License Approval Month. And IF I get my license, soon I’ll have other anxiety attacks. The worst one being, what if nobody signs up for my tours? I really, truly, don’t want to be that lone pathetic food-tour guide...who’s sitting all alone at some rickety table at some decidedly not-happening restaurant...waiting for last minute tour participants to magically plonk down from the restaurant ceiling...chewing on the complementary plate of bitter pickles as she waits…
I blame all of the above, articles, tour ideas et. al on my reduced frequency of restaurant posts. And the frequency may get worse for the next two weeks, because I’ve got ‘Dubai tourism license classes’ every day, for the next ten days. Ungodly 7.30am to 2.30pm. So I am not a slacker, really, truly. *puppy eyes*
*disarming pouty lips*
*charming hair curl innocently falling across ear*
*all of the above, simultaneously, if that makes you more sympathetic to my cause*
....*disclaimer: all of the above simultaneously doesn’t look all that pretty:*
But all the blaming and pouting and finger pointing aside, I love what I’m doing with the tours. I really do. A current of ecstatic electricity zaps through my body when I see someone sit down at one of the teeny tiny restaurants I love, and enjoy a meal. When their eyes grow wide with surprise at a flavour they hadn’t expected, when they smile with well-fed joy, curry and juice dribbling down their chin, when they sigh with bliss at having stumbled upon a new food discovery, and even when they walk away thinking, I didn’t like it, but boy I’m glad I tried it because it was something new. For those moments alone, every bit of angst over licenses, customers, blog posts that never happened...every bit of angst is worth it.
For one rare moment on this blog, I’m going to cast off my usual flippant writing voice and let the scared little squirrel that lives inside me come out and beg you to, please support the tours over social media (facebook and twitter). And to pray for my food tour license to be approved. I need every knock on God’s door that I can get.