Where We Are Going Today: YOLO

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Updated 24 June 2022

Where We Are Going Today: YOLO

Looking for an affordable and tasty mochi and dessert place? YOLO, located in the Saudi capital, could be the place for you.

YOLO mochi flavors include mango, toffee, vanilla, salted caramel, coconut, lemon, muhallabia, chocolate, and butterscotch. Mochis are sold in mixed or singular flavors in a box of 12 pieces for SR98 ($26), at SR8 a piece.

Mochi is a traditional confectionery Japanese sweet, originally called daifuku mochi. It is typically served with green tea. The dough wrapped around the small ice-cream ball is rice-flour based and usually gluten-free.

YOLO opened its store in Olaya, Riyadh, a few years ago with a wide range of desserts on its menu. Their most famous cake is the YOLO cake. It is a biscuit and milky-flavored cake. It comes in original or latte-flavored options.

Their Kush Kush cake is similar to the YOLO cake, although it includes shredded phyllo dough on top with a sauce drizzle. All three cake types come in large or small boxes, with six small cakes costing SR115 and a large cake costing SR140.

Cheesecakes in many distinct flavors are also sold by YOLO. Flavors include rose berry, pecan caramel, and a few flavors of lotus cheesecakes such as regular, saffron, triple chocolate, chocolate mousse, and rose.

The rose berry and pecan caramel cheesecakes cost about SR88 a box. Each box includes six mini-cakes of either a single flavor or a mix of both flavors. Lotus cheesecakes cost about SR75 a box. A box consists of six lotus cheesecakes, either with a single flavor or mixed flavors on request.

YOLO only receives orders virtually. Their physical branch closed a few months ago. The delicious dessert store, @yolo.s.a, is on Instagram and delivers to your doorstep through the food delivery apps Jahez and The Chefz.


Where We Are Going Today: Yumram Ramen

Updated 17 June 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Yumram Ramen

  • Yumram Ramen is the first specialized ramen bar in Saudi Arabia

Fans of anime have always wanted to try ramen, and now they can — right in front of the Anime Village in Jeddah’s City Walk.

Yumram Ramen, the first specialized ramen bar in Saudi Arabia, caught the attention of anime fans and visitors when it was established in the busiest zone of Jeddah Season.

The eatery is similar to a bar where diners can watch the chef prepare freshly made noodles, and order from a menu that includes beef, tofu and chicken.

Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat-based broth with toppings such as dried seaweed and scallions. It is often flavored with soy sauce or miso.

Eggplant bao is a menu item that consists of two freshly made bao buns stuffed with grilled eggplant dipped in hoisin sauce, garlic mayo, carrots, parsley and green onion.

Chicken ramen is made with a 12-hour coconut curry broth and freshly made noodles, topped with yakitori chicken, purple cabbage, green onion, parsley and chili.

Miso beef ramen, a 12-hour miso broth with freshly made noodles, is topped with slices of steak, pickled shiitake, greens, Tokyo egg and cream. it comes in spicy and non-spicy varieties.

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans, as well as other ingredients such as rice, barley, seaweed and other grains.

Yumram Ramen was set up by Bahaa Gazzaz with his wife, Alia Al-Shaer, as chef. For more information visit their instagram @yumram.ramen.


'Flavours of Arabia': In new Discovery documentary, French chefs discover Saudi cuisine and culture

Updated 08 June 2022

'Flavours of Arabia': In new Discovery documentary, French chefs discover Saudi cuisine and culture

  • Renowned pastry chef Cedric Grolet, “Top Chef” finalist Pierre Sang Boyer travel to Jeddah and AlUla
  • The chefs meet Saudi counterparts, prepare a variety of dishes inspired by French and Saudi cuisines

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s rich culture is attracting international attention with a new documentary about French chefs meeting locals and learning more about the country’s national cuisine and culinary heritage.
“Flavours of Arabia” from the Discovery channel shows world-renowned pastry chef Cedric Grolet and “Top Chef” finalist Pierre Sang Boyer traveling to Jeddah and AlUla to experience Saudi hospitality traditions and witness the creativity and pride of Saudi chefs.

FASTFACTS

• Their visit to Jeddah features a cruise, a fishing session in the Red Sea, a visit to the central fish market, and a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al-Balad.

• The two chefs then move on to the most prominent landmarks of AlUla, home to Hegra, the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, to learn about the ingredients that characterize the oases of AlUla, such as dates and different citrus trees and plants.

Their visit to Jeddah features a cruise, a fishing session in the Red Sea, a visit to the central fish market, and a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al-Balad.
Boyer described their visit to traditional shops in the historic district, saying the colors and smells leaped out at them.
“I did not expect this at all. The city is a diamond. There are many things to see and lots of surprises. It is great,” Boyer added.
The two chefs then move on to the most prominent landmarks of AlUla, home to Hegra, the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, to learn about the ingredients that characterize the oases of AlUla, such as dates and different citrus trees and plants.
The chefs meet their Saudi counterparts to learn more about the Kingdom's cuisine, traditional cooking techniques, and components of local gastronomy. The visitors then prepare a variety of dishes inspired by French and Saudi cuisine.
Grolet, a master of French sweets and pastry, recreates some of his famous dishes in AlUla and uses the textures and flavors of dates and cardamom in his delicacies.
The documentary shows him becoming more passionate about these ingredients and flavors, which have a strong connection to the culture of Saudi Arabia and the wider region.
He described a type of date that was offered to Grolet and his friend by an AlUla local. He said it was like candy and that he understood there were different types and tastes of the AlUla date. There are more than 40 types of dates in AlUla.
“I think the dates I am going to make in Paris will be this color,” he said, drawing Boyer’s attention to the transparency of the “marbling and magnificent” piece of date.
“Since I came here, I have taken in all information to make a trompe-l’oeil dessert, my trademark. I have been making them for 10 years. I want to create a dessert in the shape of a piece of date. To make that, I would need a lot of these soft dates in Paris to be able to make it,” he explained.


Where We are Going Today: Da Bao

Updated 03 June 2022

Where We are Going Today: Da Bao

Da Bao is an upscale casual dining restaurant that serves East Asian fusion dishes including noodles, rice bowls, sando, bao buns, dim sum, and onigiri.

The restaurant’s motto is “Eat Bao Have Fun!” and it specializes in freshly made bao buns, served the traditional way in a bamboo steamer. Top options for fillings include brisket; Nashville-style fried chicken tender; six-hour-braised black Angus ribs with caramelized onion; and crispy fried duck with onion slices and hoisin sauce.

The restaurant’s signature cheese bao bun comes with an Arabic twist. Baos are usually steamed  to get that warm fluffy white dough, but this one is deep fried after steaming, so the dough color shifts to golden brown, leaving a crispy outer layer over the fluffy inside. It is then filled with three different types of cheeses and zaatar, then glazed with truffle honey.

Da Bao offers a good range of dishes, all presented in a modern-but-authentic way to ensure a fun experience for customers.

There are seven choices of mojito at Da Bao, with refreshing summer flavors including mint and strawberry, mixed berries, and watermelon lemon peel. The passion fruit option is our recommendation, though. Made with fresh passion fruit, passion-fruit syrup, sparkling water and yuzu juice — the Japanese lemon that tastes like a mix of lemon, grapefruit, and mandarin and is a common feature of Japanese Mojitos — it’s a delight.

Da Bao’s interior is inspired by cyberpunk culture, with flashy neon lighting and a dark, though relaxing atmosphere aided by chillout lounge music.

The restaurant is located in Rovan Tower in Jeddah’s Al-Salamah district. For more information, visit @dabao.sa on Instagram.


EXPLAINER: Why monkeypox cases are rising in Europe

Updated 19 May 2022

EXPLAINER: Why monkeypox cases are rising in Europe

LONDON: A handful of cases of monkeypox have now been reported or are suspected in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain.
The outbreaks are raising alarm because the disease mostly occurs in west and central Africa, and only very occasionally spreads elsewhere.
Here’s what scientists know so far.

’Highly unusual’
Monkeypox is a virus that causes fever symptoms as well as a distinctive bumpy rash. It is usually mild, although there are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe – with up to 10 percent mortality – and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of more like 1 percent of cases. The UK cases are least have been reported as the West African strain.
“Historically, there have been very few cases exported. It has only happened eight times in the past before this year,” said Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said it was “highly unusual.”
Portugal has logged five confirmed cases, and Spain is testing 23 potential cases. Neither country has reported cases before.

Transmission
The virus spreads through close contact, both in spillovers from animal hosts and, less commonly, between humans. It was first found in monkeys in 1958, hence the name, although rodents are now seen as the main source of transmission.
Transmission this time is puzzling experts, because a number of the cases in the United Kingdom — nine as of May 18 — have no known connection with each other. Only the first case reported on May 6 had recently traveled to Nigeria.
As such, experts have warned of wider transmission if cases have gone unreported.
The UK Health Security Agency’s alert also highlighted that the recent cases were predominantly among men who self-identified as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, and advised those groups to be alert.
Scientists will now sequence the virus to see if they are linked, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week.

Why not?
One likely scenario behind the increase in cases is increased travel as COVID restrictions are lifted.
“My working theory would be that there’s a lot of it about in west and central Africa, travel has resumed, and that’s why we are seeing more cases,” said Whitworth.
Monkeypox puts virologists on the alert because it is in the smallpox family, although it causes less serious illness.
Smallpox was eradicated by vaccination in 1980, and the shot has been phased out. But it also protects against monkeypox, and so the winding down of vaccination campaigns has led to a jump in monkeypox cases, according to Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA in California.
But experts urged people not to panic.
“This isn’t going to cause a nationwide epidemic like COVID did, but it’s a serious outbreak of a serious disease – and we should take it seriously,” said Whitworth.


What We Are Eating Today: Tanuki

Updated 13 May 2022

What We Are Eating Today: Tanuki

If you are in Jeddah and want sushi for lunch or dinner, yet are planning on a cozy stay at home, Tanuki is an ideal choice.

The sushi cloud kitchen offers professionally made nigiri, sushi and maki rolls, with more than 16 options, as well as Japanese selections with high-quality ingredients at an affordable price.

Tanuki chef Jwana Damanhouri is a Saudi who developed her culinary skills abroad and has worked in highly acclaimed Japanese restaurants in the Kingdom.

The kitchen name “Tanuki” was inspired by the Japanese breadcrumbs that add crunch to sushi rolls and texture to a host of Japanese food items.

Signature orders include maki rolls with tasty Japanese mayo and topped with crispy tanuki. Torched salmon maki and crispy California maki are also popular choices.

Tanuki offers selections from Japanese cuisine, such as kani salad, steamed edamame, gyoza, sushi bowls, hosomaki and uramaki, as well as a range of sushi burritos.

For those considering a large portion or inviting friends, the Tanuki combo box is a recommended option, with three rows of maki or sushi rolls of your choice, and six pieces of each type.

Diners on a diet can try a sushi bowl consisting of rice, vegetables and protein. The crab tanuki bowl is highly recommended.

Tanuki is available on many delivery applications. For more information visit the Instagram account @tanuki.sa.