Hi Everyone! I miss you already!
I just wanted to let you know that I safely made it to Kuwait and having the best time with family and friends. I arrived on Monday February 1st and have been running around ever since.
Please be patient with me if I slack on my posts during my vacation. Since I don’t have constant online access, I’ll try my best to post as much as I can until my return (Feb 12th).
Check out a few snap shots from DAY 2 of my trip!
10:00 am. “Yallah get up! We’re going to get some fish for lunch from the Fish Market”. My dad is not a very affectionate guy, but I know he tries to show it through his outings and cooking.
Yay! I love the fish market! I LOVE everything about it from the dirty fishermen that bring in the fresh tubs of fish, the stinky aroma, to the obnoxiously loud noise projected from all the bargaining shoppers.
My mom took shotgun while I sat in the back enjoying the cool Kuwaiti breeze as my dad took the wheel. Notice that I’m wearing a jacket.
My dad explained that people are crazy here and that a person should be extra careful when driving. Kuwait is well-known for their fast and furious drivers and averages 5 accidents a day.
My dad loves to talk! He continued to educate me on the current economic situation in Kuwait and pointed out the amazing architecture along the way.
Yay! We’re at the Fish Market! As you can see the structure of the building is beautiful and modern. You can’t see it in the picture, but the market is directly across from the beach.
As you enter the main doors, you can’t help but be blinded by the bright white room, marble floors and ice counters filled with lots and lots of fish! Unlike the typical fish markets that I’ve been to, this one was so beautifully laid out and looked so neat and presentable.
My dad lead the way as he approached his favorite fish vendors. He was very knowledgeable on all the fish and made it a point to fill me in on how to pick a good fish. I’m never not in the mood to learn new things.
His first pick was a bass-like fish that he called “hamour” in Arabic.
“Should we get some crab too? It’s a little messy, but you’ll like it”
How can you say no to crab? I LOVE eating fresh crab! It’s such a fun time trying to crack open the legs while spraying yourself and everyone else. You definitely need a good scrubbing after a meal like that.
There was an unbelievable variety of fish, and these yellow finned ones called out to me. They were all labeled in Arabic so I’m sorry that I can’t provide the English names.
This flat fish used to be my favorite! We call it “Zubeidi”. My mom used to dip it in seasoned batter and deep fry it. She would then squeeze a little lemon on top and it was absolutely delicious!
After my dad picked out his seafood selection, he handed over his basket to the fish cleaner guy who properly chopped, trimmed and removed any parts that weren’t edible.
Since we went so early, the majority of the shoppers were men who liked to stare. I felt a little uncomfortable and stayed close to my mom and dad. The more pictures I took, the more attention I was getting. But I figured that they would never see me again, so I continued to snap away. I asked my mom to quickly take a picture of me along side the fish… But as you can see in the picture, there is not ONE fish in sight. She had trouble pointing the camera at her subject even though my digital camera had a huge screen showcasing the image.
OK.. let’s try again.. Oh boy! Now I look high! Lol.. Oh well.. as long as she got the fish in there. Sarcastically I patted her on the back and congratulated her on her amazing photography skills. OMG.. It’s like teaching a monkey how to take pictures. Awww… I love her!
Not only could you buy fish, but there was a also a section of fresh beef, live chicken and fresh eggs. So here’s how it works.. You pick your chicken and then they put it into a washing machine-like equipment that de-feathers it and voila! Free-range, organic chicken! My dad used to send me out when I was young to pick up a chicken or two, so I’m quite familiar with the process and the stinky smell of those shops.
Before leaving the house, I noticed that we were low on fresh greens so I asked my dad if we could pick up a few items on the way out.
My dad is quite the bargainer and never pays full price for his goods. Here he is with the grocery vendor picking the best lettuce and greens for me. My dad has worked in the restaurant business for over 30 years and knows his stuff when it comes food.
The layout of the fresh foods was astonishing and so colorful. I wanted to buy it all. They had everything from sugar apples, okra, purple cabbage to tasty chestnuts.
Dates are quite the delicacy in Kuwait. They are very nutritious and come in many different forms. Depending where they’re from, they can be quite expensive. People usually serve a few with tea after dinner. Another thing I forgot to mention is that you are free to taste whatever is out on display. For example, my dad grabbed a few dates passing by and gave my mom one to taste. The more you taste, the more likely you will buy so the vendors are quite generous. People are polite and stick to the 1-2 piece taste limit. However, my dad is embarrassing and out of control! He’ll grab a dozen dates and walk around munching away.
Arabs are known for their use of spices and flavorful food. This vendor showcased the most colorful spices including cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and more. He also sold a variety of raisins that are usually incorporated in rice and lamb dishes.
After an hour of shopping around in the Fish Market, we headed to the car to load it up. Since we were right across from the water, I asked my mom to take a few minutes and join me in admiring the crystal blue Sea. It was gorgeous! Once again, I walked my mom through snapping a picture of me by the water.
Here’s a close up of my face. “Mom! Pretend you’re a terrorist and point the gun at me. Now… Shoot! OMG.. I’ll just photoshop my body into the picture. Give me the camera!”
It was almost Noon and my dad headed home. Instead of bothering my mom with cooking all the fish, he informed us that he was making a stop to drop off the seafood to a local grilling shop that would hook it all up for us AND deliver it to our house. My dad has been friends with the cook for years and personally trained him on how to season and cook fish.
The cook weighed in the bags at 20 lbs and quoted my dad a price. You’ll never guess what that price was… $30!!! Wow.. Impressive.
The food would be ready and delivered to the house by 2:30 pm which is typical Arabic Lunch time. My dad’s brother was also in town, so we decided to extend the invite to him too since we had plenty of food to go around.
My beautiful mom started preparing side dishes for the fish that included sauteed eggplant, tahini salad, olives and lots of greens.
Time flew by and 2:30 pm rolled around in no time. The amazing aroma of the flavorful grilled seafood circulated the house. My dad took charge of opening up the covered plates and setting them on the table. The table included three types of fish, Jumbo shrimp and crabs. What a spread!
My dad always likes to talk up the spices and retell the story of how “he” taught the chef how to cook. After all was in place, my dad welcomed everyone to their seat.
I picked the chair next to my Uncle Ramadan who I haven’t seen in a few years. My uncle was quite impressed with my weight loss and wasn’t shy with his words.
“Very nice Ghada. You look slim! You look much better than before. I remember the last time I saw you, YOU were BIG (while demonstrating with his hands how big I was). This look suits you better”.
Of course that lead to a nutrition talk and he began asking me questions on how to better his diet. I was more than happy to share my findings while enjoying the messy meal. The food was out of this world!
It looks like I’m praying in the picture (which I should be doing), but I was actually very messy from digging into the crab and jumbo shrimp. My uncle noticed that I was eating lots of greens and avoided the bread, a weakness that he can’t break. He then tried to convince me that bread was important and the body “needs” it. I thought it was a cute attempt to keep bread around in his life, but I told him that he could survive on other things.
I really enjoy family events because I’m usually surrounded by good food and great people that mean the world to me. I’m really lucky to have the funds and opportunity to travel across sees to see them, even if it’s once every few years.
Anyway, that was just half of Day 2 and I look forward to sharing more of the rest of my trip with you soon.
Feel free to leave comments or ask any questions regarding my posts.