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  • 10 Best Places to Visit in Egypt For A Holiday for First-Timers

    The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “Egypt” is the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Nile. In any case, with over 7,000 years of unique history, legacy, and culture, there are numerous other amazing attractions in Egypt to justify its title as a tourist hotspot. With an intriguing history that spans back to the beginning of human civilization, Egypt is known to be a very popular tourist destination. Pharaohs being synonymous with this destination, Egypt is an amazing country to visit to explore ancient tombs, pyramids and attractions which will leave you in awe. An ideal place for adventurers, explorers and history buffs alike. Egypt is an allrounder for travelers looking for a blend of activities rich in tradition, gaining memorable experiences, and simply looking to let loose. Here are 10 Best Places to Visit in Egypt that should be on the top of your itinerary and bucket list when you finally decide to make a trip to this delightful nation. via GIPHY   Giza Image Credit: Photo by Pradeep Gopal on Unsplash Giza is presently known as one of the most renowned spots in Egypt where tourists often visit. Giza is filled with leading hotel chains, famous boutiques, cafés and large shopping centers. Near the hustle and bustle of the city lies the famous Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. You can't say you have been to Egypt without visiting and seeing these monuments first-hand. The extraordinary Pyramids at Giza are famously known for being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and in addition to that, it is also undoubtedly one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Giza's pyramid complex has awed voyagers down through the ages. An unquestionable feature of any trip to Egypt, Giza's pyramids ought not to be missed. A large portion of the touring destinations at Giza is situated on the plateau aptly named the Giza Plateau, where the Great Sphinx and Great Pyramid stand tall. Don’t forget to snap some pictures of you riding a camel while soaking in the magnificence of the ancient pyramids (Indiana Jones-esque). The pyramids of Giza will definitely be the gem in any trip to Egypt.   Luxor Image Credit: Photo by Lea Kobal on Unsplash Luxor, also known as Thebes in Ancient times, is situated on the east bank of the Nile River in southern Egypt. At its peak, it was the ruling capital of the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom of Egypt. Luxor is also famously called the world’s greatest open-air museum. With iconic structures, temples, and historical museums, the city is a significant destination in Egypt. The essential touring destinations of the Luxor are not situated in the city itself but on the other side of the Nile in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The Valley of the Kings is a burial spot of the Pharaohs of Thebes, this valley comprises of several burial places portraying the life of ancient Egyptians through the engravings inscribed on the walls and the roofs of the burial spots. The Valley of the Queens is likewise a burial location that contains close to 57 tombs including the breathtaking and remarkable burial place of Queen Nefertari. The vast majority of the Luxor attractions are found either on the East Bank or the West Bank of the Nile. Popular features on the East Bank incorporate Karnak Temple, an exceptional sanctuary city that took more than 2,000 years to develop and it is also known to be one of the largest religious places on the planet. The flawlessly lit up Luxor Temple is a jaw-dropping temple to visit at night. Some other attractions to check out in Luxor are the Luxor Museum and the Colossi of Memnon.   Cairo Image Credit: Photo by Dario Morandotti on Unsplash Cairo the capital of Egypt has a rich history of Islamic, Christian and Jewish culture. The 2000-year-old city is additionally the biggest city in Middle-East, Africa and the Arab world. Do not miss out on the opportunity to shop at Khan el-Khalili bazaar where coppersmiths continue to craft their wares despite having small workshops. Vendors are loaded with a variety of products such as ceramics, textiles, spice, perfume, collectibles, souvenirs, and jewelry. Khan el-Khalili is one of Cairo's must-visits with eateries, cafés and street food merchants scattered around the market adding to the appeal of the bazaar. The significant mosques in Cairo are the mosque of Amr Ibn Al-Aas (Al-Fustat), Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, Mosque of Al-Azhar, Mosque of Sultan Hassan (which is wonderfully lit up in the evening), Mosque of Al-Refai, The Blue Mosque and the Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Additionally, other Islamic sites are the Salah El-Din Citadel, House of Gamal-Al-Din and the Museum of Islamic Art (Bab Al-Khalq). At the widely acclaimed Egyptian Museum of Tahrir Square, guests can get a better perspective on Tutankhamun along with mummies and different antiquities from Egypt's Ancient past.   Aswan Image Credit: Photo by Mo Gabrail on Unsplash Aswan is the third biggest city in Egypt and is situated on the eastern bank of the Nile River. Aswan is the name given to this city by Arabs, the prior name of the city was "Suno" which translates to 'The Market'. Aswan gives one of the most delightful perspectives of Egypt with the eye-catching views of the town on the eastern bank. Aswan is likewise a bonus for guests as it is flooding with brilliant markets, aromas, Pharaonic and roman remains and artifacts from the ancient spot of Nubia. The two most amazing destinations of Aswan town are the two principle islands-Kitchener which is a botanical garden and Elephantine which is a site having vestiges of ancient structures and a museum. Elephantine and Kitchener Island are worth the time and money spent on exploring these islands. The Elephantine Islands are the ideal escape to loosen up. The vivid Nubian towns in the focal point of the island are unique Egypt vacation spots and make for an incredible night walk. It is also recommended to take the boat to Angelika Island to study the Temple of Philae which is from the Ptolemaic and Roman era. The biggest landmark of the island is the sanctuary of Isis which takes up around one-fourth of the island. Aswan is currently known for its amazing views on the desert dunes and the Nile stream. Some other essential attractions are Aga Khan Mausoleum, Tombs of the Nobles and the Temple of Philae.   Abu Simbel Image Credit: Photo by AussieActive on Unsplash Abu Simbel comprises of two enormous stone temples made out of appreciation for the powerful King Ramses II. Cut out of the mountainside, the sanctuaries are enduring energy of Ramesses II and Nefertari. The temple is the most remarkable temple of all ancient Egypt. Indeed, even in a nation brimming with temples and tombs, Abu Simbel is something uncommon. This is Ramses II's extraordinary sanctuary, embellished with enormous sculpture placed outside, and with an inside luxuriously finished with artistic creations on the wall. The stone impressions of the lord and the lady seated on their thrones is a notable aspect of ancient Egypt. The temple was shifted elsewhere as a result of the rising waters of the lake during the 60s and this attraction creates a flow of tourists throughout.   White Desert Image Credit: Photo by Mariam Soliman on Unsplash Prepare to be stunned by the extraordinary white-hued rock arrangements of the White Desert, the Bedouin national park north of Farafra. This exceptional natural wonder consists of strangely molded chalk mountains with colossal arrangements of chalk running from snow white to cream in color, which likewise includes the sand dunes of the Great Sand Sea and the cliffs of the Farafra Depression. The white rocks have been molded by wind disintegration for a few centuries. The landscapes here look nothing short of magical, with white stones and chunks. For desert fans and travelers, this would be your ideal setting, while at the same time basking in the regular landscape. With its stunning natural beauty, it is among the most delightful spots to visit in Egypt. PS – Lookout for the Rhim and Dorcas gazelle, the latter of which roams the landscape at the White Desert.   Siwa Oasis Image Credit: Photo by Flo P on Unsplash This dazzling oasis, encompassed by date palm ranches and various freshwater springs, is one of the Western Desert's most pleasant spots. The town is based on the remnants of an immense mud-block fortress that ruled the view. This is the best spot to slow down and rejuvenate for a couple of days. Vacationers go to the city to appreciate the town's numerous freshwater springs, walk around sections of land of palm forests and to explore antiquated mud-fabricated fortifications and leftovers of Siwa's Greco-Roman past. Gurgling springs are in bounty here. One of the most famous is a stone pool known as Cleopatra's Bath. A segregated and more private pool is situated on an island in Lake Siwa. An outing to the nearby commercial center offers guests the chance to tour the city's rich culture and soak up the uniqueness the place has to offer.   Alexandria Image Credit: Photo by Peter Nicola on Unsplash Situated on the Northern Coast of Egypt, Alexandria or known as the "Pearl of the Mediterranean" or the "Social Capital of Egypt" is an ancient city in Egypt which is viewed as a significant tourist point of Egypt, the second biggest city of Egypt and furthermore a bustling trade port. Alexandria is enhanced with numerous sublime Greek landmarks, offering incredible touring chances to all and worth a visit for its numerous social attractions which provides deeper insights into its past. The city is definitely a standout amongst other Egypt destinations which would allow you to unwind and relax stress-free. Well known touring spots in Alexandria are Fort Qait Bey, Bibliotheca Alexandrina (one of the largest and most significant library in the ancient world) and Pompey's Pillar Alexandria which is a decent spot to chill with your friends and walk around the boulevards which are loaded up with cafés.   Sinai Image Credit: Photo by Irina Nakonechnaya on Unsplash Egypt's focal point for seashore fun is the South Sinai which is on the Sinai Peninsula. Sharm el-Sheik or, more than likely known as the City of Peace is a European-style resort brimming with lavish lodgings, universally known eateries, and a plethora of activities to offer. Sharm el-Sheik is one of the most well-known retreat towns in Egypt, situated at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. With its warm, dark blue waters and extraordinary brilliant seashores, it would be hard to eliminate such a spot from your itinerary. Try not to pass up on the opportunity to snorkel or dive into the phenomenal reefs around Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park, home to some incredibly vivid marine life. Sharm el-Sheik gives access into the desert, where you can visit Bedouin camps and climb Mount Sinai, an ancient biblical spot famously known for its optimal view of the sunrise.   Dahab Image Credit: Photo by Nassim Wahba on Unsplash Dahab is a serene budget beach town that goes easy on your bank account. Dahab, which implies gold in English, is one of the most-visited urban communities by travelers and Egyptians in Southeast Sinai. It is otherwise called Sinai's most-cherished diving spot, which makes it a go-to spot for diving or swimming enthusiasts. Any place you pick in the South Sinai will have an association with diving. The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations on the planet. Apart from being the most celebrated national park inside Egypt, Ras Muhammad National Park also happens to be one of the most well-known diving sites. This attraction is tucked in the midst of the beautiful coral reefs and mangroves of the Red Sea just along with the inland desert of Sinai. It has completely clear waters that permit divers and swimming lovers to effectively view the dynamic corals and aquatic life. If you decide to take a boat for a ride further into the sea, you might even get to spot some dolphins, including Risso's Dolphin.   Nile Cruising Image Credit: Photo by Lea Kobal on Unsplash You can never be finished with a trip to Egypt without going on a journey on the Nile River. Regardless of whether you take it toward the beginning of the day or around evening time, in a boat or a felucca, the appeal of the Nile will blow your mind. For some guests, a multi-day voyage upon this much-admired Nile is a noteworthy feature of their Egypt trip. Cruising the Nile is likewise the most loosening up approach to see the sanctuaries that stud the banks of the waterway on the course among Luxor and Aswan. The two celebrated sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu's Temple of Horus, where all the large cruise ships make a halt. You can also opt to voyage the Nile by felucca which is Egypt's conventional wooden boat. Boats and cruises leave from both Luxor and Aswan, yet feluccas must be boarded for trips from Aswan. Egypt offers the most intriguing encounters to tourists and such an experience that cannot be compared to any other place else on the planet. Everything about Egypt leaves its visitors in amazement.THE PS – It is advisable to wear full-length clothing in Egypt, to regard the traditions and save yourself from some serious sunburn.   via GIPHY...

  • You Can't Miss Out on These When You're In Cairo

    Egyptian food is completely delicious, mouth-watering and unforgivingly lush, but sadly it is also underrated. It's hard to find Egyptian restaurants abroad when you have other Middle-eastern food competitors like Lebanon, Morocco, and even Syria. However, this gives Egyptian food an advantage, with no expectations, these dishes will blow your mind with the unusual and delicious combinations, fresh flavors and satisfying ingredients. via GIPHY Starters or Fast Food 1. Foul Image Credit: One Arab Vegan; The Foul is a dish made for all, regardless of their social status, thanks to how nutritious it is.  Foul or also known as Fava Beans – The Egyptians are known for their love for Foul in the Middle East. Foul Medames are blended into a paste, with cumin, oil, and salt. You can eat it as a side dish with bread as a starter or you can also find them in sandwiches. You can't get bored with this classic. There are also other variations like the Foul Iskandarani with salad toppings, Foul Medames, Garlic Foul, Chili Foul, and the list goes on. 2. Koshari Image Credit: The Mediterranean Dish; The Koshari may not be the healthiest meal out there, but it really is a meal unique to the Egyptian culture. If you want to eat fast food with no fuss but plenty of flavors, Koshari is the delight of Egypt that can never disappoint. With a base of buttery macaroni (a type of pasta) soft rice, flavored lentils, a tangy salsa sauce, hearty chickpeas and caramelized onions (Now, this is the best bit). You have a hearty dish that will keep you full and satisfied (And did I mention how sleepy you'll get after this heavy meal? You have no idea). 3. Tamia Falafel and Tahini Image Credit: Pille-Riin Priske; The Falafel tastes amazing when it's still warm and crisp. Don't forget to dip it in the Tahini for an extra tangy taste.  Honestly, this is the poor man and a rich man's food. In the West, a sandwich of this type costs up to $10, in Egypt it won't cost you more than 50 cents.This sandwich is best bought in 2,3,4 or more, One is not enough. You get a choice of a mini thin baguette or little pouch of pitta bread, filled with Tahini, mixed salad (fresh tomato, onions, cucumber, salad, and herbs), sometimes Hummus and finally the warm falafels that are squashed to make sure every mouthful explodes with flavor. via GIPHY Note: The Egyptian falafel uses the famous Foul Medames, Fava Beans, Chickpeas, a mixture of spices (varIant to each individual) and with no doubt parsley, coriander, and green herbs to give its signature color. Also Read: A Muslim's Guide to Shopping in Cairo: 10 Must-Visit Places! Main Dishes 1. Mahshi Image Credit: Vedat Zorluer; Though you'll find this dish relatively common in the region, the Mahshi is still a must-try in Cairo where different cities will have different renditions of the Mahshi or the Dolma. This dish has different names as is also known as Dolma in Turkey. Consisting of many variants including Courgette, vine leaves, peppers, cabbage leaves. They are often stuffed with spiced rice but you can also find minced meat ones and even rarely minced chicken. You can never be bored and each home or restaurant adds their twists to the dish, so it's difficult to not like this dish. A classic and it would be a shame to miss out! 2. Pigeon and Molokhia This one is not for the light-hearted. If you are a meat lover and want to try one of Egypt's signature meat dishes, then pigeon is the way to go. Egyptians love this dish paired with a good 3ish (bread also meaning life) and Molokhia stew made with the plant of Corchorus. The texture of this stew is quite slimy but it takes some getting used to. Dating from Ancient Egypt, you can be transported back to Egyptian Pharaohs by eating this dish. 3. Macaroni Bechamel Image Credit: Nawal Escape; This dish can be too dairy-heavy so pair this dish with the Egyptian Chamomile Tea or any type of tea to ease the tummy.  Egyptians claim to be the inventor of this dish, but pasta is Italian and Bechamel is French. However, the compilation of this dish is very Egyptian. Pasta is layered on top of each other into a block and covered with creamy Bechamel, minced meat, a bit of tomato sauce and even more Bechamel. It's comfort food for most and can be found in every restaurant. 4. Sujuk and Kibbeh Image Credit: Renata C. F. Correa RenataCorreaMG; The Kibbeh can be a little daunting, but you know what? Just go for it! A meat feast for meat lovers. Sujuk is the classic spicy sausage which you can find alone, with your classic sides of rice or chips, on pizzas, in sandwiches, on Fateera and the list goes on. As for Kibbeh, a definite either love it or hate it situation, is liver fried with garlic and onions. The flavor isn't overpowering but the texture is not for the light-hearted. 5. Fateera My personal favorite, it's an Egyptian pizza with a buttery fine pastry base. Its endless layers of pastry goodness can be eaten sweet or salty. Either filled with delightful cream (Ashta), nuts or chocolate, drenched in syrup. This tempting pie can hardly be shared. For those who prefer savory or want a meal you can have any of your favorite pizza toppings, meat, chicken, veg and cheeses, instead, they are hidden between the layers. Also Read: 10 Museums Around The World That You Must Visit Dessert 1.Kunefe The joy you feel when you pull the Kunefe away and see the strings of cheese is extra rewarding. Though the syrup may be too sweet, the cream surrounding the dessert creates a good balance. For those with a sweet tooth, Kunefe although Palestinian in origin, can be found all over Egypt. Kunefe is vermicelli drenched in a caramel syrup sauce with a surprise center of stringy cheese that absorbs the outside flavor. The original Kunefe is topped with crushed pistachios and more of the delicious sticky syrup. Modern variants include peach and icecream, Nutella, white chocolate and many more. When you're in the middle east, it's essential to try the original then experiment with the new twists. 2. Umm Ali Image Credit: Dinner With Julie; The Umm Ali is a dessert meant to be shared with a group of friends or families which resonates well with the middle eastern culture.  Umm Ali translates as Ali's mother, but don't worry this is a completely vegetarian dessert. No mothers were harmed in the making of this dessert. The story goes that the Wife of an Ayyubid leader (a royal caliphate from Egypt) would make this dish, especially for her husband. There are many variations of this dessert but it can be difficult to find the right one due to its supreme delicacy. It is a layered pudding dessert with fine pastry layers, a sort of milk pudding, raisins, pistachios, any kind of nuts, cinnamon and finally roasted till a golden. via GIPHY There you have it, 10 Egyptian dishes to try and the variants and other dishes will introduce to a whole new world of food, even Aladdin couldn’t have on his magic carpet ride....

  • Who Is Mo Salah? Story of an emerging star from the land of Pyramids

    Born in the Egyptian city of Basyoun, 100km or so north of Cairo, Mohamed Salah Ghaly’s footballing journey began in the Nasr City district of the country’s capital. Often nicknamed as 'The Pharoah', he is an Egyptian professional footballer who plays as forward for an English club in Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. Picture Credit: Background Images HD A talented youngster, he honed his skills in the youth teams of El Mokawloon SC and made his debut for the senior side aged just 17 at the back end of the 2009-10 season. Salah was just 19 when he made his debut for Egypt – in a match against Sierra Leone in September 2011. After starring for Arab Contractors, Salah made the move to Europe in 2012 on the back of his hugely successful showing at the Olympics. He struck his first goal for his country against Niger, while he also represented the Pharaohs at the Olympic Games in England in 2012. FC Basel in Switzerland was his destination as he moved continents for the first time. FC Basel provided a brilliant base in his carrier. In January 2014, amid reported interest from Liverpool, Chelsea announced the signing of Salah from Basel. He spent one year with the Londoners, which included an Anfield experience that would later have an impact on his decision to come to Liverpool. Picture Credit: Background Images HD Salah moved to Italy in February 2015, initially on an 18-month loan to the Italian club Fiorentina before he joined AS Roma on 6 August 2015, where he spent two highly successful seasons and accelerated his development. Consecutively consistent match-winning performances in Rome to lead them to a second-place finish and a record points tally at 2017, Salah relocated back to the Premier League to sign for Liverpool on a long-term deal, with the Egyptian taking the club's No.11 jersey. On 22 June 2017, Salah agreed to a transfer to Liverpool. He signed a long-term contract with the Reds for an initial €42 million fee that could rise to €50 million. He became the first player ever to win three Premier League Player of the month awards in the same season. Picture Credit: Sky News On 22 April 2018, Salah was awarded the PFA Players 'Players of the Year Award. In the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, Salah injured his left shoulder in the 30th minute. After initially carrying on, he left the field in tears after going to ground in a challenge with Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. He got injured in the Champions League final on 26 May 2018 as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev. Mo Salah's injury news was a shock for all football fans. Mohamed Salah fitness update : The Egyptian FA stated that this would have no effect on his playing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and that Salah would still be named in the Egyptian team's final squad. The player himself tweeted that he was “confident” of proving his fitness in time for Russia. Salah flew out to Spain earlier last week to undergo specialist treatment to aid his rehabilitation ahead of the 2018 World Cup. The Muslim often celebrates goals by performing the sujood. Salah is already wildly celebrated on the terraces both home and away, earning acclaim well beyond the club's fan base....

  • 10 Middle Eastern Dishes Everyone Should Try At Least Once

    Traveling to the Middle East can be for one of the two main reasons; to live amongst a forest of skyscrapers in a sea of desert sand or to devour the uncountable delectable local dishes that have made the Middle Eastern cuisine a go-to for comfort meals to be shared with loved ones on any occasion. Locate the best Arabic restaurants during your stay and enjoy the wholesome, rich and freshly prepared meal at a reasonable price. What’s more special about this mouthwatering cuisine is that, by tradition, each portion served is enough for a family to feast on and to have the table decorated wholly with Middle Eastern salads and the obligatory mezze platter that comes with most dishes on their menu. Middle Eastern cuisine is the cherry on top of all Halal cuisines a diner could ask for. The best authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes serve the perfect combination of flavors, colors and beyond a doubt fulfill the living dream of all foodies. Here is a list of the 10 Yummiest Arabic Dishes to fill your belly! (a list which was too difficult to cut short) 1) Hummus A creamy and smooth blend of mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Hummus is served as either a dip with the traditional pita bread and vegetables but also works its wonder when spread in a burger or even with a baked potato. Its flavor is combined with other Arabic dishes as a condiment. Hummus is more of a staple dish; this mouthwatering and healthy appetizer found in nearly all Middle Eastern restaurants is the best pick to start off your foody-ride. We definitely recommend the Abu Shukri restaurant in the Old City of Jerusalem. Foodie Tip! For the diners who are more experienced in attacking Middle Eastern dishes, ask to add in more garlic to get a taste of the true local tang. 2) Shawarma A ridiculously tasty bundle of goodness. The Arabic version of the Greek gyro with the exception of tender meat which is slow cooked on a turning spit preserving the juiciness and incorporating the rustic flavors of smokiness being the highlight in the Middle Eastern variant. This wrap of laffa/hot pita bread filled with smoky meat together with sauces, cream, veggies and the earthy authentic Arabic spices makes every bite of this Middle Eastern dish a delightful pleasure. One place that we've specially handpicked for you to try is the Hashipudia restaurant at 6 Ha-Shikma Street of Jerusalem. Foodie Tip! Shawarma is more commonly found made with either chicken or beef although the traditional option; lamb is a must try specialty. 3) Baba Ghanouj/ Ghanoush Found alongside the famous hummus on a mezze platter, Baba Ghanouj is often described as the best eggplant dish; a succulent eggplant dip and is a vegetarian favorite. Although spelled in countless ways, this dip delivers similar deliciousness all across the Middle East with a combination of flavors from roasted eggplant, garlic, Arabian spices and the famous sesame seed paste - Tahini. Like most dips, Baba Ghanouj is used as a condiment in Middle Eastern cuisine sharing its wholesome flavor with more dishes on the menu. We highly recommend trying out Zest at the One&Only The Palm in Dubai and give this Arabic goodness a shot! Foodie Tip! When ordering Baba Ghanouj, ask for it to be spiced up with chili for the real Arabic zing. 4) Halvah Picture Credit: www.myjewishlearning.com Much like the name suggests, in Arabic, Halvah means a sweet confection and is most likely the most popular Middle Eastern sweet. Halvah is much like a layered cake generally shaped like a cheese wheel. The main component of grain-based halvah is gluten like wheat, or semolina and are spongy in texture, while the main ingredient of nut-based halvah is tahini paste; sesame seeds and sugar. Although the unique flavor of plain halvah tastes just about excellent, it is often flavored with pistachio or chocolate. 5) Tabbouleh Tabbouleh, a cocktail of herbs; parsley, mint, bulgur (cracked wheat) and a handful of vegetables, onions and tomatoes, is the best appetizer not only for vegetarians but also for the health freak foodies who love to chomp but are calorie conscious. This Arabian salad is refreshing and bright, however, will leave some green stuck between your teeth so be cautious! If you happen to be in Jordan, hop by the Cairo Restaurant at the Al-Malek Talal Street in Amman, Jordan to try their Tabbouleh! Foodie Tip! To the meat lovers; this delicious salad has the ability to make you switch teams, so watch out for its yumminess. 6) Baklava Similar to the Greek baklava, this Middle Eastern sweet pronounced as baklawa is made with lots of love and layers of thin sheets of buttery filo dough filled with a mixture of coarsely ground nuts and Arabian spices; unlike the Greek that uses honey, this mixture is bound together with sugar syrup and either rose water or orange blossom. With honey drizzled on top, baklava is made in interesting shapes, for example in the shape of birds’ nests, cylinders and triangular are the more common option. Hop by the the Karakoy Gulluoglu at Rihtim Cad when you're in Istanbul to bring some of the best Baklavas home! Foodie Tip! Pistachio and walnut baklava are easiest to find, however, look out for the fruity version for an alternate experience that you’ll be glad you had. 7) Labneh Picture Credit: www.davidlebovitz.com This low in calories Middle Eastern alternative to traditional cream cheese is not too sour or strong in flavor and is easily made from cow’s milk. Labneh is a creamier, thicker and denser variant of the Greek yogurt and often found alongside hummus and tahini on the mezze platter. A great dip for za’atar pita bread, and even fruits; the versatile Labneh dip is the best to share the flavors of the Middle Eastern cuisine. Foodie Tip! Sprinkle the authentic Arabic spices on labneh to enjoy the more exciting version. 8) Falafel The globally recognized Middle Eastern dish, the falafel sandwich is much beloved and appreciated in the foodie empire. The traditional falafel sandwich is a gigantic pita bread wrapping of the falafel patty along with tangy pickles, fresh vegetables, and tahini spread. To best compliment, a falafel sandwich, order an Israeli salad to go with it. The falafel perfectly fills in for the protein on a vegetarian’s menu and paired with hummus on the obligatory mezze platter. The most interesting aspect of the savory doughnut is that the falafel patty has a crispy exterior when freshly fried contrasting to a soft and fluffy interior composed of ground chickpeas, onions and a decent amount of herbs and spices blended in to enhance the simplicity and flavor of the dish. Make a pit stop at the Books@Cafe located at the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Street #12 First Circle in Amman, Jordan to give their falafel a try! 9) Mansaf Picture Credit: taste.co.za Jordan’s national dish, Mansaf, is culturally meant for feasts and celebratory gatherings. Mansaf in Arabic literally translates to “large tray” and therefore is served as such; enough to cater to a small foodie nation. Chunks of lamb cooked in a broth of Jameed (a variety of cheese made from fermented yogurt), dressed with yummy yogurt and garnished with almond and pine nuts are on display placed on a heap of white rice served on an oversized platter of flatbread. Initially a Jordanian dish, Mansaf migrated to Palestine, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to mark its deliciousness. If you happen to be in Amman, Jordan, we recommend you the Jabri Restaurant at Wasfi Al-Tal Street. 10) Pita with za’atar Picture Credit: ovengoodies.wordpress.com The staple component of Middle Eastern cooking, the warm and versatile pita bread is served with nearly every meal. The specialty of za’atar pita is that the dough is generously sprinkled with a blend of Middle Eastern spices which include thyme, oregano, and marjoram to uplift the sensory experience of the flavorsome bread dipped in any appetizer off the mezze platter. The original za’atar plant that is rather endangered is protected by the government to preserve the rare and authentic Mediterranean flavor, however, the blend of herbs does do justice to za’atar pita. Hence the purchase of a jar of this herb mixture is worth it to try the za’atar pita crisps recipe in the comfort of your home. For the next dish was much spoken about in this list, it felt unfair to leave it out: 11) Tahini Picture Credit: www.seriouseats.com The tahini dip, spread or condiment is made from a base of toasted and ground sesame seeds made to a paste and is essential to, if not all, many Middle Eastern dishes. Tahini collaborates well with sweet as well as savory flavors hence is a highlight on the mezze platter. An uncommon yet palatable combination is tahini and halvah, so be sure to have a go at it when possible. Buckle up for a flavorsome ride on the Middle Eastern cuisine serving wholly satisfying food and leaving you wanting more of the Mediterranean goodness. Amongst the uncountable delectable dishes on their menu, try out the dishes listed above on your next visit to the Middle East!...

  • A Guide to London Central Mosque

    London is considered one of the top destinations in the world but to the constant surprise of visitng tourists and inhabitants, it also has an array of beautiful mosques. The first of its kind in London, one of the most beautiful ones is none other than the London Central Mosque (also known as Regent’s Park Mosque). The beautiful architecture, the serenity of the location and the historical importance of the Masjid should make it a top location for both Muslims and non-Muslims to visit. Here’s why! Check out the London Muslim Lifestyle Show 2018 Find things to do in London History Picture Credit - www.iccuk.org The London Central Mosque represents a step forward in the beautiful history of religious exchange in London. In the year 1940, King George VI gifted the land on which the London Central Mosque now resides. A grand thank-you gift to honour the King Farouk of Egypt and Sudan for the Anglican Church in Cairo. It took 34 years to get started on the building infrastructure, but in 1994, the Mosque was officially completed with the two prayer halls, three storey wings, the grand entrance hall, the library, a reading room, administration offices, symbolic minaret and the golden dome which all stand as a wondrous completed unit. The international support and financing for these characteristic units of the London Central Mosque came from leaders all over the Middle-East as a representation of the strength of Islam.   Location Picture Credit - openbuildings.com Based in the affluent area of North-West London, The London Central Mosque can be found on Hanover Gate, West of Regents Park. If you're feeling adventurous, a walk through Regents Park can be an exciting way to get to the mosque, as the Gold Dome peaks through the trees and the Minaret signals your destination, and you can truly appreciate the serenity and greenery of the location, another side to London away from the hustle and bustle. It is also easily accessible by tube (Baker Street or St John's Wood) and various bus routes which would require a short walk along the streets of extravagant estates and housing. Address: The Islamic Cultural Centre & The London Central Mosque, 146 Park Road, London, NW8 7RGE-mail: info@iccuk.orgTel. : 020 7724 3363Website: http://www.iccuk.org/  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram   Architecture Picture Credit - www.iccuk.org An International competition was held to find the perfect architect for this grand project, Sir Frederick Gibberd, a prominent English architect, won with his simple but grand approach to Islamic architecture. The eye-catching golden dome and prominent minaret on the corner of the square complex gracefully replicates the traditional structures that can be found all over the Islamic world, such as Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo and Al-Zeytuna Mosque in Tunis.   Interior Design Picture Credit - facebook.com/iccuk.org If the exterior does not impress you, the inside should do the job. The bespoke chandelier hangs from the centre of the dome and the symmetrical, geometric Islamic tiled patterns colour the ring. It’s a beautiful site that could transport you spiritually to feel as though you are in a Muslim country, yet the lush greenery of London pokes through the arched windows, thus it feels as though you are in two places in the world at once.   Day-to-Day functions Picture Credit - londontemplevisits.blogspot.sg The Islamic centre offers a wide variety of services that make the London Central Mosque and Islamic Centre a versatile location with much to offer, from the Halal Café serving fresh food to an Islamic Bookshop to satisfy your curiosities and questions on the Deen. In addition, educational services for a range of ages and levels of knowledge are available, with “one of the largest and oldest Islamic reference libraries.” So, we hope that we've kindled your curiosity to visit the London Central Mosque.  Come on down, you'll be surprised by this Islamic gem in the middle of London! Find a Mosque near me in London Find a Halal Restaurant near me in London...



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