April Tourism 2013

Dubai Update
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When many people think of eating in Dubai, images of gourmet dining and Michelin starred restaurants spring to mind. But Old Dubai’s food culture thrived even before oil was found and tourists now have the opportunity to sample some of its culinary delights. Frying Pan Adventures is the brainchild of Arva Ahmed, an Old Dubai resident and avid food writer/blogger. Dubai Update caught up with her to find out more about her latest venture.

What is Frying Pan Adventures?
Centuries of trade with Asia, Europe and Africa have influenced Dubai’s ingredients, recipes and dining. Many of these diverse and authentic food experiences are tucked away in Old Dubai backstreets and in alleys that only ‘old timers’ would know. At Frying Pan Adventures we craft these diverse experiences into gastronomic tours where tourists can sample a variety of foods, whilst learning about the culinary and cultural context.

Is only Emirati cuisine on the menu?
We feel a real responsibility to create an awareness and appreciation for Emirati cuisine. That said, in addition to working on this programme, we also run four-hour food walks that give people a taste from countries far beyond the UAE.

Our North African and Indian tours also delve deep into ethnic specialities that are held close to the hearts – and stomachs – of those regions.

Are your tours affordable?
Yes! Our four-hour food walks cost AED 350.00 (about £60), and are inclusive of meals or desserts across five to seven restaurants, a tour guide who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the foods, as well as a shuttle service between the Mall of the Emirates and our tour location.

The group itself is usually no more than eight people, so that the tour guide can interact with every guest and make it an intimate dinner gathering of foodies.

Our tour guide often stays in touch with any guest who would like restaurant recommendations during their stay in Dubai. There is a level of knowledge, service and experience that goes far beyond the foods tasted on the tour.

How can travel agents and tour operators get in touch?
We would love the opportunity to work with travel agents and tour operators. They can reach us via www.fryingpanadventures.com or by contacting our General Manager, Farida Ahmed .

To find out more general information about food available in Dubai, read the food guide on the Dubai Tourism website .

With Friday being the first day of the weekend in Dubai, many hotel restaurants mark the occasion by throwing their doors open for a gastronomical brunch. Here are five of the best Friday feasts:

At Le Méridien Dubai, brunch at Yalumba covers a spread of continents while maintaining its laid-back Aussie ethos. Offering fantastic food and drink, the setting is warm and sophisticated.

Al Qasr serves favourites from three restaurants occupying the hotel’s ground floor – tapas at Al Hambra, the Arboretum’s patisserie and steaks at MJ’s. Diners can order as little or much for the same inclusive price, while enjoying the live entertainment.

At Spectrum On One at the Fairmont Dubai, guests can sample delights from the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, South East Asia and Japan. They offer four different brunch packages ensuring there’s something to suit every pocket.

For understated decadence, Traiteur at the Park Hyatt is the place to go. Guests will have to remember to leave room for the waffles, crepes, mini cakes and the obligatory visit to the chocolate fountain.

Nineteen at the Montgomerie Golf Club provides a slightly more sophisticated brunch affair. It’s for those who can differentiate between Stinking Bishop and Port Salut and the sticky toffee pudding is to die for.

Dining At Ocean View
The recent opening of the Ocean View Hotel has been a roaring success. It is the only 4 star establishment on the beach and has six excellent dining options. For a chance to win a stay for two at the only four star beach hotel in Dubai, see the monthly competition below in the last story.

Geordie Ball Raffle Winner Announced
Eve from Thomas Cook Morpeth branch was our raffle prize winner at the Geordie Ball on the 14th March. She has won a holiday for two to Dubai courtesy of Emirates and the stunning Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel.The charity raffle was in aid of Reubens Retreat (Photo courtesy of Graham Mckenzie)

New cultural brunch and dinner experience available
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) is a non-profit organisation that strives to remove barriers between people of different nationalities and raise awareness of local culture, customs and religion.

The centre is now holding brunch and dinners, allowing guests to indulge in traditional meals while an Emirati host chats to them about the local customs and traditions. Visit the website to find out more

- The world’s tallest hotel, the JW Marriot Marquis, has now opened.

- Did you catch the BBC’s Wild Arabia series on TV? There were some fantastic desert vistas and fascinating wildlife to be seen. If not, you can catch some great clips on the BBC iPlayer .

- Last year saw the launch of Mission:Possible Dubai – a fam trip like no other. Agents had to use their cunning, wit and intellect to solve a series of cryptic clues at some of the city’s key attractions and by doing so bust any misconceptions they may have had about the emirate.

We’re now looking for 20 secret agents who are up for the 2013 challenge. Virgin Holidays will treat winners like rockstars and Alpha Tours will look after your transfers from the moment you touch down. Accommodation is courtesy of Atlantis The Palm and One&Only Royal Mirage .

Have you got what it takes to be a super secret agent? Apply by visiting this special Travel Weekly page.

- Catch up with Ian Scott, Director for Dubai Tourism UK & Ireland in this video.

Proudly overlooking the Arabian Gulf and The Palm Jumeirah, the Ocean View Hotel stands along The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence. All of the 342 rooms and suites feature sea views that can be enjoyed from the balcony, or from the room itself. Several interconnecting rooms are also available for families. The hotel boasts a temperature-controlled swimming
pool with great sea views, spa, health club, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

For this month’s competition, we have teamed up with JA Resorts to offer a lucky reader a four-night stay for two people at the Ocean View Hotel. To win, you need to get your thinking caps on and come up with names for the two JA Duck mascots pictured here. The best names will win the prize so click here to enter. Good luck!

March’s Competition Winners
We are delighted to announce that Julie Hanby from Toucan Travel won last month’s Park Regis Kris Kin competition – a three-night stay for two with airport transfers and a meal at the hotel’s fabulous ‘Kris with a View’ restaurant.

And Mitchum Bracher from Flight Centre, who has won two economy return flights from London to Dubai courtesy of Qantas.
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