Food, Foodie Corner, Offbeat, Online Magazine

Our Food Truck Obsession


By Mustafa Al Hafi
Edited by Nessreen Tamano

Navigating Riyadh’s food truck scene.

We’re all familiar with “Conventional Cone ice cream trucks” roaming the streets in Riyadh’s picnic places; when I was younger, we’d often seek them out on our way to the airport or by Thoumamah road, a popular picnic place away from the city in the 80s and 90s, and I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be my first experience with food truck culture.

In 2016, the revolution of food trucks began in Saudi cities, giving many young men and women the opportunity to create extraordinary food truck business ideas, not limited to fast food. We’ve seen food trucks serving coffee, sweets, ”nitrogen ice cream,” and traditional food.

For our young entrepreneurs, the trend offered them a way to earn extra income – primary to those hit with the recent rise in (corporate) unemployment. It’s relatively easy to start a food truck business – if you have a creative idea, just get a truck, meet the health and safety requirements of the municipality, obtain a permit to run your food truck business, and you’re good to go.dksa3_dining_foodtruck-nf4


In Riyadh, we can pinpoint the birthplace of the first three popular food trucks in the city at the Red Crescent Yard off King Fahd Road, which quickly became a popular destination for people looking to have a different, casual dining experience. Foodies and non-foodies alike came out to try the fare at 4twins Food Truck (which specialized in desserts topped with fruit and chocolate), Tagfela Food Truck (arguably the first in the city to serve grilled burgers), and Bescletta (serving their signature Spanish coffee).

The site did not last long; after it was shut down after some incidents that led to noise and loitering complaints, the food trucks spread out to different streets in Riyadh, some of them parking at Anas bin Malik Street, at Prince Said Bin Mohammad Bin Mougren Street, and up north at King Abdulaziz Street.

At the Al Malaga neighborhood, Prince Mohammed Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Street became the new food truck haunt, as more and more food trucks parked themselves to serve fast food, coffee, and assorted snacks to groups of families and friends. Diners either use the seating provided by some of the trucks, or bring their own foldable chairs, spending more time in the area to enjoy the casual, open-air dining experience relatively uncommon around these parts.newport-burger-3


We quickly notice that a remarkable number of the people running the food trucks are very young and hard-working! “My main motivation was to earn extra income to support my family,” said Sulaiman Al Misnad, owner of Happy Cup, which serves specialized coffee. “I started with one of my friends by trying out all kinds of coffee, and then I worked to get a certificate from the International Coffee Organization. I hope to soon open my first coffee shop.” Coffee lovers passing by who are going northwards toward King Salman Road can find Sulaiman in his truck making coffee with different flavors.

If you’re passing by Prince Mohammed Bin Saud Street, you won’t miss Gold & Black, another popular coffee truck with an eye-catching display design. Owned by Bader Al Sharif, it was one of the trucks serving at the Red Crescent Yard. He started out by offering design services to other food truck owners, later surprising his family and friends when he launched his own. Bader runs two trucks that serve coffee, and one that services events and special occasions.

Shrimpini is one of the unique trucks that caught our attention, with their shrimp menu and the owners – close friends Mohammad Al Kashef and Mohammad Al Saab – working behind the griller and happily serving and chit-chatting with their customers. “The market is wide open, anyone can earn extra,” said Al Saab.

When asked about the challenges they face while running a truck, they mention electricity and running water. “We rely heavily on generators, which can be annoying for us and our diners,” Al Saab said.

Needless to say, all the food truck owners I spoke to would really appreciate a dedicated space for them, with water and electricity, and support from the municipality to maintain security and ethical business practices. They’re open to paying the necessary fees in return for all of this.

I certainly hope this happens, and that the food truck culture continues to be a part of ours. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and family, try out different food, snacks, and drinks, and enjoy the weather away from the hustle and bustle of city living


Offbeat, Online Magazine, Things To Do

Game On!


New Generation takes the lead in arcade games and entertainment.

Established in 1996,  New Generation Amusement Co. was the first independent arcade in Jeddah driven by the peak of technology in arcade gaming in the 90s. Starting off with New Planet in 1997 on Tahlia Street, they quickly became the hub of the latest Japanese and American video games attracting gamers of all ages.3w7a0966

With the evolution of gaming consoles and their easy accessibility, video arcades declined in popularity and suffered a major setback. However, New Generation attempted to bring back that magic by reestablishing themselves once again through a new approach. As part of the second phase of development by New Generation, Game Box was introduced – a new arcade destination that turned out to be a massive hit opened at Corniche.3w7a0979

After successfully operating amusement and arcade gaming arenas, they launched an indoor entertainment complex called the Fun Corner, mainly focused on amusement facilities in malls. This was followed by the Shabab Corner, which targeted the youth visiting cafes, gyms, and sports centers.3w7a1008

The shabab at the youth-oriented gaming corner can stick to the arcade games, foosball, or air hockey, or instead opt for basketball, boxing machines, or shooting games to commemorate their experience. Keeping in mind the growing industry of events and entertainment, New Generation started a special corner for carnival midway entertainment called Carnival Corner, providing fairs, festivals, and celebrations with full-on gaming entertainment.3w7a1031

New Generation prides itself in providing the latest in high-tech entertainment to 50% of Jeddah’s public events as recorded in April.

Mob: +966-533904309
Instagram: newgen97


Fashion Trends, Local Designers, Offbeat, Online Magazine, Style & Shopping

Cool Hunting


A monthly dose of Destination’s coolest finds, hype verdicts, and trend predictions from around the Kingdom.

Poetry & Style Fusion

img_1927Torba Studio is rocking the industrial D-ring trend featuring poetry lines written all over the belt, a sporty yet urban take on an accessory that has taken on a whole new meaning. This Saudi clothing brand is known for their “the desert has dreams” belts.

Instagram: torbastudio_official
Location: Riyadh

Royaled by Renad

img_1925Founded by Renad Hefni, a young Saudi visionary who committed to empowering women, Royaled is designed for the modern-day woman, and offers elegant creations and powerfully mesmerizing pieces.

Instagram: royaledbyrh
Location: Jeddah

Beach Bisht

_dsc1143A new creation by jewelry turned fashion designer, Nasser J. Farsi. We can’t wait for this to hit the market and be part of our summer essentials.


Sadeem AlShehail ensured that her line is focused on creating luxurious and high-end pieces, for confident, elegant and sophisticated women. SADEEM’s fabrics are sourced from companies that employ sustainable practices, as her fabrics are non-toxic.

Instagram: bysadeem
Location: Riyadh


Offbeat, Online Magazine, Parenting

Nün: Constantly Fine-Tuning Education


Interview with the Director of Nün Academy, Nirmeen Alireza.

Q: What does New Beginnings mean for Nün Academy?

A: I believe that new beginnings are often mistakenly associated with a need to re-invent oneself. As humans / organizations founded with a purpose, new beginnings should be more about re-centring oneself than re-inventing. As a values-based organization founded with the vision of nurturing compassionate students, empowered to master the challenges of today and motivated to shape the world of tomorrow, we evaluate all new initiatives against the role they will play in helping us move closer to our vision.

Q: Why the move to a bigger building?

A: As we prepare to move to our new facility, we look forward to being able to finally service the growing number of families that’ve been patiently waiting for a vacancy for their children.  We welcome the larger space and the opportunities that’ll provide to expand our offering. We also welcome the challenge of transforming the building into an environment that’s conducive to learning and that promotes the well-being of those within it. All members of our community know the emphasis that we place on making sure the school environment is designed with the best interest of all its occupants in mind. That’s something we’ll diligently be working on over the next few months.  The facility also represents another new beginning, the launch of our Boys’ School where we’ll be welcoming boys in Year 5 and 6. Having a larger campus that allows us to keep our older boys close by was non-negotiable, as we seek to ensure that they receive the same level of oversight as the Girls’ school.image4-copy

Q: For a school that is only three years old, how is it possible to have a new beginning?

A:New Beginnings” might appear at first glance to not apply to a school as young as Nün Academy, however, it very much defines us, as we are constantly trying to become better versions of ourselves by living the value of “An Ethic of Excellence” where we aspire “to always be better today than we were yesterday”. For the past three years we have continued to focus on improving the quality of education, asking ourselves at every junction: Are we meeting the needs of all our students? Are we providing the right opportunities for members of our staff to grow? Are we providing an environment where all members feel belonging and significance? While the answers are not always “yes”, those questions lead to a course of action that helps us move closer towards, God Willing, one day being able to answer in the affirmative.

Book A Tour at the New Nun Academy Facility by visiting:

Instagram: nunacademy


Online Magazine, Style & Shopping

Empowering Homegrown Talent Loكal


The Passion that Ignites Loكal.

The definition of local signifies something related to a particular region, and the MENA region is the focus behind Loكal. Set in Oliveto Bahrain, a stunning venue and restaurant, The Lokal Pop Up Shop is the trendiest, most exclusive and edgiest event on the island. The Lokal Pop Up Shop reaches out to locally sourced, inspired, and talented designers to engage and sell directly in a stunning ‘locale.’day-terrace-3-copy

Lokal aspires to promote and invest in native designers, for their exceptional and distinctive creations must be exposed and cultivated. The Lokal Pop Up Shop reveals how much style and creativity exists in the region.lokal5-copy

The vibe is unique at Lokal, because of the variety of brands presented, as well as the ambiance created. In its fourth year, with two events a year, they are planning on having the next exhibition in Al Khobar; the founder’s hometown.3d6a4115-copy

Lokal applauds the rising Middle Eastern and North African designers highlighted in the fashion world nowadays, and hopes to shed more light on them. Eventually, Lokal would like to focus on fair trade fashion designers who are committed to creating clothing in an ethical manner.outdoor-night-copy

The goal they want to achieve is to have each piece of every collection to represent the hard work of talented men and women, working to empower and improve the livelihood of their families and communities.sign-copy

“Once the whole idea of supporting anything that is local catches on, Lokal followers will realize the amazing talent we have on this side of the earth,” shared Leila Al Habbal, founder of Lokal.

Location: Al Adliyah, Manama, Bahrain
Instagram: Lokalpopup


Offbeat, Online Magazine

New Beginnings at the American International School of Jeddah


Walk into any classroom in the new American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) campus, and you will see individualized learning, student collaboration, advanced technology, and innovation; all features of authentic American education.

AISJ opened the doors to its new campus in January, and since then, the students and staff have been enjoying their new space and all that it offers. Not only is the campus more spacious, with enough classrooms for 1,750 students, the classrooms are also much larger. Solaf, a 2nd grade student, enjoys her new classroom because of how much space they have to learn. She also enjoys her teacher’s new interactive screen, which she and her classmates are able to use during lessons.gym-hsms-copy

Fully-equipped science labs are placed throughout the school, allowing Elementary, Middle, and High School students the opportunity to work and learn in a lab setting. The two-story Library provides students private study areas, flexible seating, and an extensive collection of books for research and reading. The 650-seat theatre-style auditorium, which is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, offers a professional venue for student productions.hs-art-class-copy

The number of after-school activities offered to AISJ students has nearly doubled, and now includes cycling, parkour, tennis, and basketball. The Athletics Complex has led to the creation of more student sports teams, including a swim team and a tennis team.library-es-copy

Out of everything the new campus offers their students, Tahera Ahmed, an alumna and current staff member of AISJ, is looking most forward to all the new memories that will be made at the new campus. “The old campus was very close to my heart because as a student, I had lots of fun memories associated with it. I want my students to have the same bond with this campus.”

Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year is now open for all grade levels.

Facebook: aisj.jeddah
Instagram: aisjeddah
Twitter: aisjeddah


Online Magazine, Travel News, Travel Trends

Celebrating Creative Transformation At Dubai Lynx


Thea Skelton, Festival Director of Dubai Lynx, speaks to Destination about the upcoming Dubai Lynx event.

What happens at Dubai Lynx?

Dubai Lynx is the leading celebration of creativity in the MENA region. As a sister festival to Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx brings the MENA creative communications community together to honour creative excellence through Awards.advertising-business-group-26-copy

The 13th edition of the Festival kicks off on the evening of Sunday, March 10 with a party, followed by two days of unmissable content from a range of regional and international speakers from across the creative ecosystem. Running alongside the main stages seminars are young talent competitions, industry hacks, workshops, community meet-ups, and c-suite roundtable series.775139433_td_9215_5d293eab354aff118ed1a90ec48e3eeb-copy

The main theme of this year’s Festival is “Creativity Transforms” and this runs throughout our content programme and all networking opportunities, provoking conversation around a rapidly changing world of creative communications.775139433_td_8982_2a17445da7172bfc885e408cb8becae3-copy

What are the highlights of the 2019 edition?

We’ve introduced a new Award, Glass: The Lynx for Change. Winning work in this category will celebrate culture-shifting creativity through ideas that are intended to change the world. There is compelling evidence that gender diversity is becoming business-critical and we’ve seen many brands in the MENA region producing campaigns that break stereotypes.775139433_td_3791_358875caf20832ab805f91edd7dba9cc-copy

Just as the industry is evolving and has to continuously innovate, so too does the Festival, and we need to make changes the industry wants. In 2019, the Festival will be a highly-focused two-day event and includes more opportunities for networking and fostering business connections. We’ve got some of the world’s biggest and boldest brands coming to the Festival with speakers from Amazon, Snapchat, Euronews, Emirates Airlines, Mayar Foods, and General Motors taking to Dubai Lynx stages._s__9375-copy

Can you tell us more about what will be covered?

The content program is dedicated to exploring all forms of transformation across the MENA region. There are six distinct themes that drill into the issue, and the sessions offer solutions and unearth new questions for us as an industry to confront.

  • Proving creative effectiveness
  • Understanding the changes sweeping our industry and exploring new agency models
  • Curating connected brand experiences – online and offline
  • Embracing equality and diversity
  • Discovering opportunities in Saudi Arabia
  • Driving Digital and technological transformation

_s__8925-copySome of this year’s speakers include Rob Reilly, Global Creative Chairman of McCann Worldgroup, Caitlin Ryan, Regional Creative Director, EMEA for Facebook and Instagram, Ogilvy’s Worldwide CCO Piyush Pandey and Head of Digital at FP7/Riyadh Tala Alem.

Location: Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Instagram: dubailynx


Food, Foodie Corner, Online Magazine

A Decade of Decadence Criollo Café


You walk into Criollo and are greeted by the sight of a giant doughy cookie lying incognito under a melting ball of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with thick chocolate syrup and sprinkled generously with roughly chopped nuts.

You find yourself staring helplessly, tracing the plate with your eyes as the waiter delivers it to a diner. The satisfying smell of warm cookies mixed with the distinct aroma of roasted coffee in the air stirs up instinctual cravings. You’re instantly hooked – after all, the eye eats before the mouth.3w7a8305-copy

The menu is loaded with scrumptious options. You wonder to yourself if you should indulge in their spongy milk cake served with crunchy biscuits and caramelized popcorn, or perhaps go for their delightful strawberry and berry waffle. Finally, you decide to dive straight into their chocolate fudge cake, filled with ganache ready to slowly ooze out before you and onto the plate as you cut into it. The vanilla ice cream atop that chocolatey mountain is an added bonus, creating a tantalizing burst of hot and cold all in one bite.3w7a8227-copy

Criollo celebrates their ninth anniversary this year, along with the re-opening of their newly refurbished branch at the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah. They have three other branches at Aziz Mall, Al Salam Mall, and Obhur, where you can most certainly go and enjoy the chocolate galore.

Reward yourself today with Criollo. You’ve earned it.

Instagram: criollocafe


Offbeat, Online Magazine

Women to Watch

Dania Nassief / Danya Alhamrani

It’s been a great year for women in the Kingdom, and we continue to feel this forward momentum as more and more women have come out of the woodwork exhibiting the patterns of success: fearlessness, inspiration, commitment, and ambition. 

Destination presents a list of women in Saudi who are building a strong society for the next generation with their work – the ripple effects of their successes fostering more leaders for years to come. On top of all this, they are mothers, partners, and friends to those around them.

Dania Nassief / Danya AlhamraniDania Nassief &
Danya Alhamrani
Film producer & director
_dsc8852Iman Al Dabbagh
saja_raw-3Saja Kamal
Sports Advocate
maram_raw-7Maram Taibah
dr-malak_raw-1Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi
albatoul_raw-6Al Batoul Kutbi
Cybersecurity expert
_dsc8414Nadine Attar
Jewelry designer
_dsc7533Dina Al Tayeb
Nada Al NahdiNada Al Nahdi



Nosheen Ahmad Wasim


Perseverance Despite Odds.

“The new definition of leadership is to empower others and not just seek power for yourself”. Nosheen Ahmad Wasim is head of the delegation division at Jeddah’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is the counsellor for the General Authority of Entertainment in the Western region. She also takes part in Jeddah’s Economic Forum and owns Baraem center for children with special needs. Hoping to become one of 18 board members for the Chamber of Commerce and impart positive change, she is a candidate in the current elections.

On her agenda there are three main things she wants to tackle. Firstly, she aims to encourage international businesses and make Jeddah a magnet for foreign investors. This will allow for more small and medium businesses to flourish hence improving economic growth. Secondly, she wants to continue to empower women on various frontiers. By creating harassment free, safe, and understanding environments for women, and increasing educational and training opportunities, Nosheen believes that that would be the best way to help working women become more professional at what they do and more competent too. Not only that, she will also be enabling women to pursue their dreams by encouraging certain businesses such as kindergartens and nurseries, for example, to help recruit more mothers to work and fulfill their dreams. Finally, Nosheen firmly believes that social services must be integrated within the Saudi governmental system and not be solely provided by charity organizations or as part of other individual efforts. Currently there are gaps in policies and miscommunications between parties that hinder the progress of businesses in need of attention. Focusing on these problems that affect the grass roots of society, she aspires to influence and enhance the lives of many she relates to and considers herself a part of. Within the upcoming four years, if elected, Nosheen will be looking forward to collaborate with other board members to do what is best for the community. “Even if we achieve small increments of change and improvement, that will make me happy”.

Facing multiple calamities throughout her personal life and recently losing both her children to ailment, Nosheen knows well that the source of strength is having complete and blind faith in God. She invites people who were chosen to go through certain hardships, to try and be good examples for the world of how one can gracefully cruise through life with positivity. “Patience is moving on in life and remaining productive despite the pain you carry inside”.

Voting in Al Leith, Al Qunfudah, Rabigh, and Kholais will be open on Sunday 24th of March 2019. In Jeddah, voting is from 25-28 March 2019.img-20190226-wa0005