Saturday, 30 January 2010

This place is full of Chinese people. That’s a good sign.

Both of the above statements are true of China Sea. This legendary restaurant opposite the clock tower roundabout on Deira’s Maktoum Street attracts a steady stream of Chinese customers, who are no doubt grateful for its authenticity, not to mention its faithfully rendered Chinese food.

It also draws in a fair smattering of non-Chinese people, who perhaps also ache for a taste of real Chinese food at a price that won’t stop their hearts before the grease on the spring rolls does.

However, in an attempt to get more people through the door, the management have erected some large signs outside, which even the most cynical hater of Chinese food cannot fail to be enchanted by.

It reads exactly as follows:

"Good News

Big promotion - - 20 % discount for 68 days both in China Sea and China Wind restaurant. Along with that China Sea will reopen the buffet for chafing dish for all the people who love the hot pot so much. buffet 78dhs/person also make 20 % discount!

Buffet has more than hundred ingredients, the changes in style, meticulous preparation and the unique taste. Wish you have a good luck when you have that. The food you can have such as delicious small size lobster, all set of fish-ball we serve before, prawns, seafood, beef, lamb, chicken, staple food, seasonal vegetable, fruit, drink, traditional special grill etc.

Promises by all the employee from China Sea and China Wind restaurant:

Excellent service every day, Cannily make every meal!

Don’t miss the chance! Hurry up! Come on!"

I’m right there, just wait a moment while I stop sniggering. Ok, I’ll admit China Sea’s English just about has the edge on my Mandarin Chinese. But what a snappy sign to yank those busy passersby off the street and through the door. That chafing dish sounds painful, too. Wish you have a good luck when you have that.

For far better Chinese restaurant English howlers, go here

Friday, 29 January 2010

This is not the Food Network. This is not KFC. This is The Dubai Guzzler.

Welcome to The Dubai Guzzler. May we take your order?

Since this is the very first post of a very new blog, I’d better explain what the hell it is I’m doing here. To be honest, I’m not really sure yet. Sure, this space will be used to talk about Dubai’s rapidly mushrooming dining scene - its restaurants, cafes, curry houses, shawarma dens, delicatessens, food shops, kitchen products, recipes, chefs, food trends, food oddities, obsessions, anomalies and downright absurdities - stuff like that.

Where there are reviews, I’ll let you know which ones I paid for, which ones I accepted an invitation to review, and which ones I actively, shamelessly and often cheekily blagged (all in the interest of keeping you - the reader - informed, ahem).

I’m hoping to post news of developments in the local restaurant scene - not just in Dubai, but also in Abu Dhabi, other parts of the Middle East, and throughout the rest of this gnarled old hunk of spinning rock we call planet earth.

There will be links to other blogs and websites, tips, interviews, observations and random musings, not to mention the occasional rant, I’m sure. Plus, I’ll be happy to answer any questions people may have (though keep the ones about quantum physics and string theory for when we’re in the pub, thanks).

But what I really hope it can be is a meeting place for a community of restaurant obsessives - of deli-addicts and prolific home cooks, take-away snobs, cookie-stashers, coffee-sponges, and curry shovellers par excellence (foie-gras-fanatics, fine-dining aficionados, fast-food freaks and people with an unhealthy relationship with tomato ketchup are also occasionally welcome).

I’d be delighted if that list of motley gourmets includes a few industry professionals - chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, waiters / waitresses, PRs, food writers, cookbook authors and the like - but I’d be even happier if it attracts some real people too.

You know, the ones who actually pay to attend restaurants, order the food, eat it, create an atmosphere and keep this whole industry ticking over. If you’re one of those people, thanks for keeping me in a job these past few years, but please, turn your phone off, keep the coughing down to a minimum and don’t use your napkin for THAT next time you’re dining out, eh.

I’d like to think of this little slice of cyberspace not as a blog or a website, but as a giant dinner table where chatter, gossip and opinions can be dissected, chewed over and occasionally spat out while nobody's looking. So pull up a chair, tuck in your napkin and let me know what you’re eating (or what’s eating you).

Let the guzzling begin.