Diary of a convert: 'I have discovered the joys of Arabic food'

Diary of a convert: I have discovered the joys of Arabic food

My love for hummus led me to a search for the best hummus in town, which I found pretty soon.

By Laaiqah Carreno

Published: Thu 14 Jun 2018, 12:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Jun 2018, 3:01 PM

Let me confess something. I love Arabic food and so does my husband Luis, although both of us are from completely different parts of the world, with no connection whatsoever to this region, until we landed here and became residents of the UAE.
Yet, my earliest memory of the mention of Arabic food was through a relative, who always told me that she liked hummus so much. For me, that was a completely foreign term and I never really had an idea what it was until I came to Dubai.
Not long after getting here, I saw hummus at quite a few restaurants and even saw it displayed in supermarkets and I eventually got some. Its definition is interesting: "a thick paste, like a dip or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic, made originally in the Middle East." Guess what? I ended up enjoying it and loving it very much!
My love for hummus led me to a search for the best hummus in town, which I found pretty soon. Ever since, my husband and I have been enjoying hummus at this little Arabic restaurant which we think make the best hummus ever! They serve it with the traditional bread, hot out of the oven, brushed with a buttery garlic mixture that is absolutely divine.
We go there often to have lentil soup, two portions of hummus (one for him and one for me as I definitely do not like sharing my portion!), a mixed grill and an interesting white, cold cucumber soup!
One night, as we went to stuff ourselves again at the same restaurant, we were saddened to find out that it had closed down completely. Up until today, I have failed to find such incredible hummus with this fresh oven-made bread. Anyhow, since then, we have opted for homemade smoothies or juices to end our fast.
I usually soak dates in water for a day to use them in my smoothies, with bananas, apples, date syrup, organic honey (our friends have honey farms up in the mountains and give us glass bottles full of it) and fresh coconut shavings mixed with a little bit of purified cold water from the water dispenser. Lovely and very filling!
Usually, I won't eat anything after two glasses of smoothies, as they are very thick and very healthy. On other days, I make juices for us from oranges, apples, carrots and ginger, which is also very tasty.
With either a juice or a smoothie for my husband, I always make a combination of white/brown steamed rice with either vegetable/chicken/minced meat soup. Later at night, we opt for something sweet like milk chocolate, more dates or ice-cream. Then, before Fajr, I would usually have one or two bottles of this incredible date milkshake that my husband discovered in the supermarket, after I asked him to check if he could find date juice. I have been obsessed with this date milkshake ever since!
(Laaiqah Carreno is a 30-year-old South African national who came to the UAE in 2011. She and her now husband Luis Carreno embraced Islam in January 2018 at the Islamic Information Center, Satwa)

More news from UAE