We’ve been here for almost 2 months already and last night was the first time we actually ate at a restaurant outside of KAUST.
What made it possible was that first, we finally bought a car, yay! It’s a second hand Toyota, not a big deal really but it makes a world of difference to us. Public transport is virtually non-existent here and that’s why traffic is sooo bad. Everyone just has their own car. Second, the Spanish group finally made plans to for this big get-together.
We went to Thuwal, the fishing village right next to our compound. It took us about 5 minutes to get there.
There was nothing around, just a dark highway.
The interesting thing about Saudi Arabia is how much men and women are segregated. I honestly did not see a SINGLE woman that was not part of our group at this restaurant but I know they were in there somewhere.
We passed the Outdoor Men Only area.
Crossed a small alley to get to the Outdoor Family area.
This is the indoor Men Only area. Most people prefer the outdoor areas though because the weather is really nice at night (but not in the summer).
Check this out: Private Family Rooms where people can park their cars and head straight in to eat. Reminds me of motel rooms in the Philippines.
Someone once told me that Saudi Arabian women don’t like to have their photographs taken because they don’t want people to see their faces. After that I’ve been extra careful to just not take photos of other people for fear of causing any kind of offense.
There were no menus. You just walk into the fish room and choose the fish you want. These fish were HUGE.
We got Hamour (grouper), Najil (another kind of grouper), 3 kilos of shrimp.
Thankfully we didn’t have to eat off the floor because it is very uncomfortable for a pregnant lady to do that. They set up these low tables for us.
Our hummus arrived. DELICIOUS!!! The long green things are sticky rice wrapped in grape leaves.
Taboulah (Salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley)
Lots of flat bread.
We had 5 of these humongous grilled fish.
Women have to wear abayas at all times. We are lucky because dress code is not so strict around where we live. I hear that in the capital Riyadh, women need to cover up with a headscarf as well.
After all the food there was green and black tea with mint leaves.
And those MOST delicious dessert ever! A warm cake with coconut bits and some kind of cheese filling. This was my favorite part of the meal!
My only regret was having merienda hours before so I couldn’t eat too much at dinner. I was so full that I had to stand and walk around several times. It didn’t help that we were sitting on the floor.
Going back to KAUST was another adventure in itself. We got lost for 30 minutes, there were no lights on the road and no signs pointing us to the direction of the school. First we were headed north and somehow ended up heading south. We knew where the campus was because we could see it, we just couldn’t find the way to get there. Stress! Through some kind of miracle we found our way back. Thank Allah!
UPDATE: The dessert is called kunafa and it’s bit of shredded phyllo dough on top, not coconut bits heheh.