UN health agency backs away from call to tax sugary drinks

The World Health Organization is backing away from its own call two years ago for taxing sugary drinks, in a new report that some experts slammed as being “conspicuously limp.” (Reuters)
Updated 01 June 2018

UN health agency backs away from call to tax sugary drinks

GENEVA: The World Health Organization is backing away from its own call two years ago for taxing sugary drinks, in a new report that some experts slammed as being “conspicuously limp.”
In 2016, the UN health agency urged countries to tax sugar-laden drinks like sodas and sport drinks as a way to fight obesity and diabetes. Back then, it said a 20 percent price increase in such drinks would dramatically cut consumption.
But in a report published Friday, WHO experts pointedly dropped any recommendation to tax sugary beverages. WHO said that regarding sugar taxation, “some views were conflicting and could not be resolved.”
Jack Winkler, an emeritus professor of nutrition policy at London Metropolitan University, said that amid the rising obesity epidemic, WHO’s failure to recommend sugar taxation was “particularly absurd.”

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

Updated 09 April 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Granny’s Crumbs in Jeddah

Granny’s Crumbs is a Saudi homemade pastry business based in Jeddah. It offers world-class baked goods with a touch of cozy home style, inspired by the high quality and complex authentic recipes of England and Vienna’s famous cafes.
The grandmother of the family who run the business gained extensive knowledge of baking during her travels around the world, with the recipes inspired by how she then replicated the delicious baked goods for her grandchildren.
The signature is the multi-flavored, freshly baked Scottish scones, made with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, figs, and walnuts with white glaze. It also offers apple spice crumble, ideal with tea.
Granny’s Crumbs also offers a collection of sweet and savory baked goods that are free from preservatives and artificial colors. All fillings and flavors used are homemade too, with savory flavors for scones including parmesan, dried tomato, chilli, and olive, as well as a variety of toasted loaves, cakes, and breads, and delicious finger foods such as mini brioche with different toppings including chocolate, dried blueberry, cranberry, and raisin.

What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats

Updated 02 April 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Zgni Eats

Jeddah city’s diverse cultures are reflected in its array of local and international restaurants, one of which is Zgni Eats, a new option that offers Eritrean cuisine with a modern twist.

If there was one dish to embody the restaurant, it would be “zigni,” a typical traditional dish consisting of either beef or chicken, vegetables, and a special hot spice called “berbere,” simmered for a long time to develop a deep flavor.

Eritrean food is well known for its giant, pancake-like flatbreads called “injera,” made of gluten-free sorghum flour, and used as an edible plate. 

“Sheero” is another authentic dish, a vegetarian option made of a thick chickpea stew, that can be spread on injera, while rich curries with boiled eggs and green salads also play a central role in the restaurant’s menu. For dessert, its delicious caramel pudding is particularly good. 

You can find more information via Zgni Eats’ Instagram account, @zgni_eats.


What We Are Buying Today: Cuts

Updated 19 March 2021

What We Are Buying Today: Cuts

Cuts is a newly opened meat boutique by Saudi chef brothers Ibrahim and Hakeem Bagabas who own the international cuisine restaurant Brioche and specialty restaurant Mudakhan in Jeddah.

The shop aims to enhance consumer experience by delivering its products to homes and offering customers important information regarding the best cuts and different grades of meat, as well as how to use them in the kitchen.

Two main product categories are offered: Ready-to-cook meat, ranging from fresh to cured, and prepared-to-order meat. The shop offers a delivery service, and its products are available via delivery applications including Lugmety, the Chefs and Jahez.

CUTS also provides ready-to-cook BBQ boxes of steaks, burgers and traditional Middle Eastern-style choices suitable for outdoor trips and home gatherings.

What distinguishes CUTS is its clean and neat presentation: Each piece of meat is vacuum-sealed and wrapped in folding paper to ensure the quality and safety of the product. The dry-aged bone-in rib eye, wagyu tenderloin and Harri Lamb are considered the finest selections if you are looking for moist and tender options.


Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul

Updated 08 March 2021

Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul

  • Fine dining spots open in Afghan capital despite growing political instability

KABUL: An Afghan entrepreneur has opened Kabul’s first restaurant offering traditional Arab cuisine to high-end diners.

Launched on March 1 on the fourth floor of an upmarket shopping center in Afghanistan’s capital, Al-Arab Mandi offers a variety of dishes famous in the Gulf region and beyond, promising authentic flavors and ambience with Arab music, separate dining rooms for families and a place to smoke shisha.

The restaurant’s speciality is mandi, a traditional meat and rice dish with a distinctive blend of spices that originates from the Arabian Peninsula. The owner, Abdul Mujib Rahmat, who is in his early 30s, has brought over a Yemeni chef and imports the spices from the Gulf to ensure that the original taste is preserved.

Most of the staff are Afghans who, like the owner, have spent many years in the Middle East.

“Indirectly, we are offering a means of livelihood for some 250 people,” Rahmat told Arab News.  

He said he had invested several hundred thousand dollars in the restaurant, which would have been cheaper elsewhere, but he wanted to offer jobs at home.

“I could have built two restaurants with the same amount of money in Turkey ... but thought it would be good to offer an income for people here who are more deserving, regardless of any income for myself, as long as I make ends meet,” he said.

While several Kabul restaurants have Middle Eastern dishes on their menus, Rahmat’s is the first one in the capital focused entirely on Arab cuisine, offering, besides mandi, traditional delicacies such as lamb madfoon, whole lamb, different kebabs and traditional fish dishes.  

The restaurant is the latest of the fine dining spots that continue to open in Kabul despite growing political instability and security concerns, as foreign troops based in the country are expected to leave the war-torn country soon.

“We want our customers to feel comfortable, like a prince, to enjoy their time here and forget about the calamities that have been going on here,” the restaurant’s general manager, Elyas Walizada, told Arab News.

Although dining at Al-Arab Mandi is not a cheap experience, customers say it is worth the price.

“I had heard about Arabic food but had not eaten it before,” said one of the diners, lawyer Jawad Turab. “I personally found it delicious and healthier because they use less oil.”

“I think I may come at least once a month and encourage friends and others who can afford it to come here,” he said. “You really can relax and can enjoy the meal.”

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma

Updated 05 March 2021

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma

O’Dolma is an Iraqi restaurant in Jeddah that offers dolma, a signature Middle Eastern dish of vine leaves, vegetables stuffed with rice, and meat.
Dolma comes in a variety of styles and flavors, with many regional specialties. O’Dolma offers the Iraqi version, which is prepared by Iraqi chefs according to an original recipe.
It is an ideal warming dish to enjoy in winter.
The restaurant’s signature dish, dolma royal, consists of layers of rolled-up dolma and vegetables filled with rice and seasoning, covered with a layer of fresh lamb ribs.
Vine leaves fattah — a layer of yogurt sauce over rows of vine leaves — is another mouthwatering choice offered by the restaurant.
The restaurant offers some trendy twists in packaging, taste and presentation. Each order is packaged in a durable box, which can be put on your dining table as a main or taken on trips.
O’Dolma has three branches in Jeddah in the North Obhur, Al-Rawdah and Al-Safa districts.