Where We Are Going Today: ‘Crustacean’ - a Modern Asian cuisine at Jeddah’s Yacht Club

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Updated 13 May 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘Crustacean’ - a Modern Asian cuisine at Jeddah’s Yacht Club

  • The grilled tiger prawns served with Crustacean’s famous garlic noodles showcase the seafood’s quality and the noodles’ perfect texture and flavor

Crustacean, a gem of Modern Asian cuisine with a blend of Asian and European flavors from Beverly Hills, California, has recently graced the shores of Jeddah, opening its first international branch at Jeddah’s Yacht Club by the serene waters of the Red Sea.

The dim lighting sets an ideal ambiance for special occasions and a glass-topped koi pond offers a calming sight for guests who can watch the kohaku koi fish as they dine.

On soft opening day, the mocktail menu was a highlight, featuring the “Desert Rose” — a concoction exclusive to the Saudi Arabia branch. Inspired by popular regional flavors, this exotic blend includes pineapple juice, rose water, homemade lychee juice, caramelized pear tea syrup, and mandarin juice topped with pomegranate seeds.

The An Sum family tree platter, representing the five daughters of the restaurant’s founder, Helene An, includes selections like marinated raw tuna, seafood dumplings, and crunchy fried chicken, each paired with a special sauce.
Salad lovers would appreciate the little gem salad, a refreshing blend of eight-herb green goddess dressing, crispy taro, hydro watercress, cabbage, and roma tomato, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to fresh and vibrant ingredients.

Tuna cigars, a cold appetizer served in a wooden cigar box with dramatic presentation and a tantalizing smoky aroma upon opening, were particularly exciting. The cigars, with their crispy crust filled with feuillet de brick, avocado silk, onions, and tobiko caviar, are a delightful starter complemented by lime slices for an added zest.
A standout feature of Crustacean is its legendary secret kitchen, accessible only to certain chefs who can preserve the authenticity of family recipes. Dishes prepared here are delivered through a secret window, ensuring that the culinary secrets remain within the family. From this kitchen come the main courses that make up Crustacean’s culinary mastery for over 30 years.

The signature Dungeness crab, prepared with impeccable technique, reflects the seafood tradition of Jeddah by blending local and sourced ingredients, presenting a dish that's both indulgent and beautifully representative of the seaside locale.

The grilled tiger prawns served with Crustacean’s famous garlic noodles showcase the seafood’s quality and the noodles’ perfect texture and flavor.

The menu also caters to diverse palates with options like the salt and pepper calamari and the hearts of palm crispy calamari, which are a delight for both traditional and vegan diners, thanks to the thoughtful inclusion of spicy vegan aioli.

For updates and more information, check @crustacean_sa.

 


Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 

Updated 20 June 2024
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Recipes for success: Chef Yann Lohez offers advice and a tasty tomato salad recipe 

DUBAI: French chef Yann Lohez has spent 15 years working in five-star hotels across the world, with stints at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, Geneva’s Kempinski Hotel, the Evian Resort in France and now The St. Regis Riyadh, where he is the executive chef.  

His passion for cooking began in the quaint countryside school where his mother cooked for 80 children. 

“Every morning, during the break between classes, my classmates would ask me to go to the kitchen and ask for the menu,” Lohez tells Arab News. “I would rush to the kitchen and smell the food. I have all these memories in my head and it stuck in my DNA.”  

The St. Regis Riyadh. (Supplied)

The first dish he tried to make on his own, he recalls, was mayonnaise.  

“My grandmother always made egg noodles for Sunday lunch, and my task was to make the mayonnaise. It’s a great memory. I remember this dish was amazing,” he says. 

Here, he discusses his favorite dish and his top tips for amateur chefs. He also shares an heirloom tomato salad recipe.  

The St. Regis Riyadh. (Supplied)

When you started out, what was the most common mistake you made? 

I faced a lot of challenges, especially when making pastries. For pastries, you always have to follow the recipes and you have to follow the technique. And as a cook, you make the recipes yourself. It was difficult for me to follow a proper recipe. Cooking is more about the sense and the feeling, but for pastries you have to follow the recipe exactly to get the right consistency. It was challenging. I always say I’ll never be a pastry chef because I don’t want to follow all these recipes. That was my challenge. 

What’s your top tip for amateur chefs? 

Let’s take steak for example. When people are cooking at home, they take the steak from the chiller and put it straight in the pan. This is a mistake. You need to keep it at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. When the protein is in the chiller it is very hard, so you need to make it more tender. And you definitely need to add some marination. You add the sauce, the olive oil and some spices in order to overload it and allow the spices to turn into fiber. Only then do you cook your steak. 

Greek Mezze. (Supplied)  

What one ingredient can instantly improve any dish? 

It’s not an actual ingredient. It’s patience. And love. Whoever you’re cooking for — you, your family, your friends or even for customers — without passion you cannot achieve the right dish.  

When you go out to eat, do you find yourself critiquing the food?  

Not really. I always go to the restaurants to enjoy, not to give criticism. It makes me happy to explore different cultures, different food and different ways to cook. And it gives me inspiration.  

What’s the most common mistake you find in other restaurants? 

It’s about how you engage with the guest. Sometimes the waiter is too close or too eager to interrupt. When I’m in a restaurant, I want to be free and enjoy the food and not be disturbed every five minutes.  

When it comes to food, I’m French, so I like my meat to be rare. It’s difficult in this part of the world to get rare meat. It needs to be not cooked on the inside, but hot. Very few restaurants make steak the way I like it. 

Slow braised beef checks orzo ragout. (Supplied)

What’s your favorite cuisine? 

I don’t really have one. I’m very open-minded about food and food culture. I think it’s the best way to get new ideas. I love Indian food. I love Arabic food. I love Asian food. When I go back to France, I love to have traditional slow-cooked meat or something buttery or creamy.  

What’s your go-to dish if you have to cook something quickly at home? 

Omelet. It is very, very fast for me to make. I am very passionate about it also because my father raises chickens and I always get organic eggs. I think it’s the best way to get the right protein as well. An omelet gives you power throughout the day. It really takes five minutes to make. You can make it with anything, whatever you have at home. 

Wild ceps Aquerello risotto aged parmesan. (Supplied)

What request by customers most annoys you? 

Sometimes the guests do not respect the team. Mistakes can happen. We take the opportunities to learn from our mistakes, but there is no point in showing a lack of respect to anyone. 

As a head chef, what are you like? 

To answer this, I’ll tell you a bit about my background. As I told you, my mother was a chef, but my father was a military policeman. So I learned that discipline is very important to get things done right. However, with this new generation, it’s very important to be fair and to be close to them. You need to lead by example. That is what is most important. I’ve had chefs who shout a lot, but this mindset doesn’t work anymore. I don’t shout in the kitchen. I’m strict, but I want to be close with my team. That’s the secret of success.  

Chef Yann’s heirloom tomato salad recipe 

Chef Yann’s heirloom tomato salad recipe. (Supplied)

 

INGREDIENTS: 

160g goat cheese; 10g honey; 2g Espelette chili  

For the Bloody Mary jelly: 0.5L tomato juice; 5 drops Worcestershire Sauce; 2 drops tabasco; 10g vegetal gelatin; 2g celery salt  

For the heirloom tomatoes: 1 beef heart tomato; 2 Black Krim tomatoes; 1 green zebra tomato; 2 yellow pineapple tomatoes; 8 cherry tomatoes; 1/2 bunch chervil; 1/2 bunch dill; 4g oregano salt; 2g three pepper mix  

For the basil oil: 200ml extra virgin olive; 1/2 bunch basil leaves  

For the Kalamata soil: 50g kalamata olive; 50ml balsamic cream sauce   

INSTRUCTIONS: 

1. In a small bowl, mix goat cheese, honey and chili with a fork. 

2. Roll four balls of 80 grams each. Wrap each of them in a 15cm x 15cm square of cling film. Close it by bringing the four corners together and turning to get the shape of a tomato.  

3. Put the four balls in the freezer for three hours, until they turn hard, then remove the plastic and insert a skewer into each. Keep in the freezer until your Bloody Mary jelly is ready. 

For the Bloody Mary jelly 

1. Heat all the ingredients for the Bloody Mary jelly in a pan and whisk until the jelly becomes smooth.  

2. Soak the goat cheese balls in the jelly on their skewers until you get a red, shiny color. 

For the heirloom tomatoes 

1. Cut all the tomatoes into different shapes. 

2. Keep four green tomatoes for decoration. Fry them for 30 seconds. 

3. Seasoning is important. Add salt and pepper five minutes before plating. 

4. Use the chervil and dill leaves for decoration. Dry them, along with the tomatoes, for five hours at 60 degrees.  

For the basil oil 

1. Put the basil leaves and the olive oil in a mixer and blend. Strain the oil through a coffee filter to get clear green oil. 

For the Kalamata soil 

Dry the olives for five hours at 60 degrees (same as the tomatoes). When they harden, allow to cool, then mix until you get a powder. 

PLATING: 

The plating is always a chance to bring your creativity to the stage. My only advice is to reflect nature on the plate. Start with the beef heart tomato slice in the middle as a base for your goat cheese balls. Don’t forget to add a tomato stalk to them to create ‘realistic’ tomatoes. Create a garden around this with the rest of the tomatoes. Add olive dust and a dot of balsamic cream sauce for the acidity. The dish should be served at room temperature. 


How extreme heat threatens health and safety

A visitor to Stone Lake in La Porte, Ind. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 wades through the lake with her dog. (AP)
Updated 20 June 2024
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How extreme heat threatens health and safety

  • The more serious version is heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 40.6 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit)

LONDON: With extreme heat gripping much of the Northern Hemisphere this week, authorities and public health experts have issued heat warnings to help keep people safe.
Parts of China, India, the Middle East, southern Europe and the United States are bracing for the possibility of new record highs.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS?
Heat affects health in several ways.
Heat exhaustion, which can include dizziness, headaches, shaking and thirst, can affect anyone, and is not usually serious, providing the person cools down within 30 minutes.
The more serious version is heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 40.6 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit). It is a medical emergency and can lead to long-term organ damage and death. Symptoms include rapid breathing, confusion or seizures, and nausea.
As climate change continues to drive temperatures upward in coming years, the danger of humidity is also expected to rise. Warmer air can hold more moisture. And more moisture in the air makes it harder for people to sweat to cool down.

WHO IS AT RISK?
Some people are more vulnerable, including young babies and older people, as well as people who must stay active or are more exposed, such as homeless people.
Existing conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as diabetes, can also heighten risk — and be exacerbated by heat.
Many countries do not record heat as a specific cause of death, which means we do not have statistics to gauge this risk on communities.
However, a 2021 study in The Lancet estimated that just under a half-million deaths can be attributed to excess heat every year — a conservative count that lacks data from many low-income countries.
Many in Europe fear a repeat of the 2022 summer, during which heatwaves killed an estimated 61,000 people, scientists said.
The risks will continue to rise as climate change pushes global temperatures even higher in coming decades.
LESS OBVIOUS RISKS
Apart from testing a body’s internal thermostat, extreme heat can pose a host of other, secondary risks.
Warmer temperatures encourage the growth of bacteria and algae. So heatwaves can raise the risk of water being contaminated with diseases like cholera, or of water bodies becoming choked with toxic algae.
Heat can also damage crops, adding to concerns about food security.
Starting from 2030, experts expect that global death tolls will increase by 250,000 per year as a result of four climate-related health risks: heat stress, malnutrition associated with food insecurity, malaria, and diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Wildfires fueled by dried-out trees or shrubs can lead to dangerous levels of air pollution, which can cause lung inflammation and tissue damage.
Studies have also suggested that both extreme heat as well as exposure to wildfire smoke could also be linked with low birthweight and premature births.
Heat stress can also contribute to poorer mental health. Rising night-time temperatures can disrupt people’s sleep patterns, worsening mental health outcomes.

TIMING MATTERS
Experts say more deaths occur earlier in the summer when people’s bodies have not had a chance to acclimatize to the season.
Location matters, too; people are at higher risk in places where they are not used to such heat, including parts of Europe.
As outdoor work becomes dangerous amid high temperatures, some countries and communities have shuttered schools or forced a shortening of daytime work hours for businesses.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Public health agencies from India to the United States have issued advice on keeping cool, including avoiding exertion where possible and staying hydrated.
Authorities often aim to help by setting up cooling centers, distributing extra water or providing free access to air-conditioned public transport.
Workers should think about having more breaks and changing their clothing too, scientists said.
It is important to check in on the vulnerable, including older and isolated people, they said.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate professional attention.

 


Classic meat dish returns to Jazan tables

Mahshoosh has stood the test of time, maintaining its prominence among the various dishes that grace the Jazan table. (Supplied/
Updated 19 June 2024
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Classic meat dish returns to Jazan tables

  • In the past, locals prepared mahshoosh to preserve sacrificial meat in the absence of refrigeration

MAKKAH: The arrival of Eid Al-Adha signals the return of mahshoosh, or Al-Humais — a traditional dish beloved by Jazan locals that is deeply rooted in the region’s cultural heritage.

Mahshoosh has stood the test of time, maintaining its prominence among the various dishes that grace the Jazan table. Its preparation is seen as a revival of an age-old tradition dating back to a time when there was no refrigeration. Local people relied on this dish to preserve the meat from their Eid Al-Adha sacrifices.

Once the meat and fat are cut up, the fat is slowly melted and meat added gradually. (Supplied/Visit Saudi)

While the dish is most associated with Eid Al-Adha, it can be savored throughout the year. Its name stems from the method of preparation, which involves finely chopping meat and fat into small pieces, a process referred to as “Al-Hash” in the local dialect.

The recipe for mahshoosh has been passed down through generations, with women in Jazan taking great pride in preparing it. Once the meat and fat are cut up, the fat is slowly melted and meat added gradually. After the addition of spices, the dish is then left to simmer for several hours with occasional stirring.

HIGHLIGHTS

• While mahshoosh is most associated with Eid Al-Adha, it can be savored throughout the year.

• Its name stems from the method of preparation, which involves finely chopping meat and fat into small pieces, a process referred to as ‘Al-Hash’ in the local dialect.

Finally, the cooked mixture is transferred to a clay container, where it solidifies and can be preserved for several months without losing its flavor.

Lard and meat are chopped up and cooked together to create the rich delicacy. (SPA)

Chef Ahmed Issa Shetifi from the Sabya governorate said mahshoosh was invented out of necessity when people had no means of preserving their food. Cooking it with lard extended the shelf life of the meat.

Preparation methods varied from one household to another, with some families adding only onions while others would include spices such as cardamom and cinnamon.

According to Shetifi, proper preparation involves roasting the lard before the meat is added. The lard pieces should be large, as they dissolve faster.

He added: “This custom continued even after people had refrigerators to store meat and food. In fact, some families still store mahshoosh in rooms or under their beds, where it lasts for a week or ten days before being consumed.

“Later generations began storing it in pots in the refrigerator while others use designated bags, each containing one meal, and keep them in the freezer.”

Mahshoosh is very high in calories and is typically served only during Eid Al-Adha, he said: “Some families dedicate the entire Eid sacrifice to preparing mahshoosh. While it can be enjoyed in moderation, eating it in excess poses a risk of high cholesterol due to its high-calorie content.”

Mahshoosh is typically served with bread, although some people prefer to eat it with rice. It is also part of the traditional Jazan dinner.

 


What We’re Doing Today: derma transformations at ‘Skin Laundry’ in Riyadh

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Updated 18 June 2024
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What We’re Doing Today: derma transformations at ‘Skin Laundry’ in Riyadh

Skin Laundry has quickly become the trendiest spot to get your skincare fix since it opened in Riyadh a few months ago, luring curious customers in with its clean aesthetic and unusual skincare services. Hailing from sunny Los Angeles, championing the slogan “These are not your average facials,” the branch situated in Riyadh’s UWalk is the first to pop up in Saudi.

If you’re new to the skincare world, it’s recommended that you get a consultation before booking a service. Among their friendly staff members are Dr. Fatimah Albader, a dermatology and aesthetic consultant, and Dr. Mohammed Hamdan, an aesthetic dermatologist, who are happy to give their two cents on what your skin needs and answer any questions.

This Eid Al-Adha vacation is the perfect time to give your skin the treatment it needs to combat the exhausting heat — and to come back to work or school looking your best.

Usually administered by their lovely nurses who make you feel comfortable and right at home, the services range from hydrating facials and skin cell boosters to fillers and Botox.  

Skin Laundry specializes in innovative laser technology and aesthetic dermatology, including their HIFU Ultraformer III, which is a non-surgical high-intensity focused ultrasound method of lifting facial tissue and removing unwanted fat. Clients can opt to tighten and firm anything from loose forehead skin to sagging knees and thighs.

The international chain is known for its signature laser facials, and rightfully so. The deep-cleansing treatment removes oil, dirt, and bacteria while improving pigmentation and boosting collagen. The treatment is safe for all skin types with no downtime and leaves your skin with an immediate glow, while the fractional laser facial reduces fine lines and improves skin texture and hyperpigmentation. Both only take around 15 minutes overall.

The HydraFacial is a great way to achieve instant radiance. The process involves a water suction tool to remove all the underlying dirt and buildup under the skin’s surface, exfoliating and purifying the pores. It’s also followed up with lymphatic drainage, a blue and red LED light therapy session, and specific antioxidant and peptide products that promote healthy skin.

Aside from fillers and Botox, their injectables include Innovyal injections, which require three sessions and promise to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Skin Laundry also offers a range of their bespoke product line as well as tiered “Laundry Club” monthly membership options. While their services are on the pricier side, the results and warm welcome of the staff make it all well worth the price.

 


Saudi flavors steal the show at Taste of London food festival

Updated 14 June 2024
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Saudi flavors steal the show at Taste of London food festival

  • Camel milk and date ice cream among the tasty treats on offer
  • Head of Culinary Arts Commission says she hopes visitors will be inspired

LONDON: Thousands of food fans have been converging on Regent’s Park this week to sample the very best of Saudi cuisine and culture at the Taste of London food festival.

Making its second appearance at the event, the Taste of Saudi Culture pavilion is an initiative backed by the Kingdom’s Culinary Arts Commission.

“Food is the first introduction to culture and it’s how you consume a culture, how you understand the people,” Mayada Badr, the commission’s CEO, told Arab News.

“I love the curiosity I see when we have a stand. People are very curious to try … they want to learn.”

She said the aim of the initiative was “to showcase, as Saudi people, our unique and diverse culinary heritage.”

With more than 4,000 people visiting the event in the first two days, Badr, a former executive chef, said she was delighted with the turnout.

“We were here last year and we loved the feel, we loved how warm and welcoming everyone was.”

After the success of 2023, the Saudi pavilion at this year’s event is larger and since the start of the festival on Wednesday has been serving up all manner of national and regional dishes.

Among the highlights are jareesh, a crushed wheat dish served with stewed onions and black lemon, muttabaq, a spicy filled omelet pancake, and balilah, a chickpea salad.

Visitors to the pavilion can also watch live cooking demonstrations, take part in a Saudi coffee ceremony, or treat themselves to a gift, such as a cookbook, handicraft or tasty snack.

“People come for the coffee ceremony but also the dates,” Badr said. “We’re known for the best quality dates in the world.”

Saudi Arabia is home to about 400 varieties of dates, which are used to make everything from syrup to honey and maamoul, the traditional filled cookie eaten by Hajj pilgrims in Mecca.

The pavilion also aims to educate visitors about the thousands of ingredients that are grown across the Kingdom and how they are being used to change peoples lives.

Yahya Maghrebi, from Kerten Hospitality, is involved an initiative in Saudi Arabia that teaches women how to make ice cream.

“The gelato is a great example of blending traditions with innovation,” she said.

“We did Taste of Paris, now London, and we’re just showcasing what we’re doing in the region. Wherever we go, we care a lot about locality and community and we always try to bring the flavors of the area.”

For the London event, Maghrebi and her team created several new ice cream flavors, including Taif rose water, Jazan mango and the crowd-favorite camel milk with dates.

Badr said: “London is a huge melting pot of a city. People come from different cultures, different backgrounds. And what better backdrop to showcase cuisine and heritage?

“We have so much to offer, from traditional foods to all the high-end restaurants, but honestly, the homegrown traditional foods are some of the best in the world.”

She said she hoped people would be inspired by the tastes and flavors the Kingdom had to offer.

“I think it’s nice to always share techniques and flavors with the rest of the world, because you never know what they can do with it.

“It’s just sharing a piece of you and a piece of heritage. And that’s, you know, the Saudi hospitality.”

The Taste of London festival runs until Sunday.