Exploring cultures through food.
Whether its artisan pizzas, bento boxes, or mooncakes, cooks that have taken an interest in concept cuisines and gastronomy are serving up some culture on plates. Here are some that you can try out.
Graphic Designs You Can Eat!
Sakura Topia’s name is no coincidence – the soft Sakura pink readily stands out in Instagram photos of Dango prepared by Rowaida Fuad Oudah. Originally a graphic designer, Rowaida gives you a taste of Bento boxes and other authentic Japanese and Korean dishes.
It was the distinct savory taste of Katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked tuna shavings) that catapulted this Japanophile, who is also heavily influenced by the Korean Wave, into East Asian gastronomy. She offers a wide array of delicacies, most of which boast both technical competency and bright, lively, detailed presentations. Sweet Korean honey fried chicken, pickled kimchi, spicy kare rice, and O-nigiri are only a few of the 60+ items on her menu.
“Quality and freshness are top priority. I personally pick out the best ingredients from local specialty stores, and sometimes I even import certain goods, to make sure the Japanese and Korean experience is as genuine as possible,” said Rowaida.
Beyond the artistry and cookery, she offers various workshops on how to put it all together, and aspires to one day host her own TV show and expand regionally.
Behind the Bao
Bao Buns are soft, fluffy, cloudy-white, warm buns stuffed with savory/sweet fillings. “It took four months of experimenting to perfect these steamed buns,” said Youssef Al Youssef, one of five business partners who founded Baozi.
Investing in the originally Chinese Bao buns was appealing because there was a gap in the market. That came along with its own set of challenges, however. Customer feedback was seriously taken into consideration, and starting out small behind the shields of a food truck helped the owners execute adjustments to satisfy locals.
With lots of hard work and over the course of over a year, Baozi is now a restaurant that serves brisket, tenderloin, chicken, and mushroom Baos along with starters, salads, desserts, and drinks.
Location: 8592 King Fahad St., Riyadh
More than Just Shaved Ice
The next time a heat wave strikes, ‘protest’ with Bingsu! The shaved ice melts instantly in your mouth, leaving behind refreshing creamy richness. The ice itself comes in various flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and matcha.
You can choose from set menu items, the most popular of which is “Ghazal Beirut,” or you can have fun mixing and matching several toppings and syrups. The possible combinations are endless. Build yourself a heap of happiness with strawberries, mangoes, cheesecake bits, condensed milk, Nutella, lotus, marshmallows, pistachio, almonds, and the list goes on. Bingsu is served in either a plastic or waffle bowl.
The creative couple behind Bingsu.sa love to experiment with recipes and try out new foods. They hope to remain unique by constantly creating interesting flavor combinations, and hope to inspire Saudis to try out Bingsu in future travels to Korea through their franchise.
Seafood, Eat Food
Having gathered experience with seafood from running previous restaurants, Abdullah Al Masoud wanted to provide a new concept aimed at satisfying the public’s now more refined palates. His latest venture – 32Grimp restaurant – got its name from the number 32 denoting the direction of the North winds on the compass, while ‘Grimp’ is a play on the two words gambari and shrimp.
Despite running for only a couple of months now, the Japanese lobster roll on the menu has taken Riyadh by storm. The hearty roll has top quality lobster, cucumber, Chinese cabbage, butter garlic sauce, a signature sauce, and chives. This English dish is usually best enjoyed during summer time when it’s lobster season.
Keep them in mind next time you are in Riyadh, and in future, Jeddah and Dammam when they open braches there.
Location: Anas Ibn Malik Rd., Riyadh