Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cheeseburger in paradise... (carnivore alert!)

I saw this while minding my own business the other day:

"Butt transport by heavy & light trucks (LLC)"

Perhaps this was a sign to search for healthier dietary options. Serendipitously, I read in a local newspaper about a supposedly no-fat, cholesterol-free burger. My jaw dropped, my eyebrows lifted, and I had a new mission.

Time to go get me one of these:

Obviously anything made from meat is not going to live up to those claims, but whatever. A camelburger? Dude!!!!

The very first of it's kind offered in the UAE, and the first outside of Saudi Arabia, a quarter pound of reportedly super tough camel meat which has been tenderised by marinating it with herbs in a secret process. (Ooh!)

The fast food outlet in Saudi overcame the toughness issue by using baby camel. OK, so that's kind of sad. But a grown camel made into one of the great inventions to come out of the United States? Show me the way, I want one!

The burgers are being sold by an Emirati place called Local House. Right up there for an award in creative restaurant naming with the Automatic and the Eat and Drink. And yes, I patronise these establishments. Names like that mean awesome fresh juices and shwarma.

Joining some friends, we all trooped along the Jumeirah Beach waterfront to Heritage Village, a cultural enlightenment offering to enhance this month's Dubai Shopping Festival. Yes, people DO come from all around the world for the DSF just to shop. I have seen it, and it amazes me.

There were Emiratis demonstrating all sorts of aspects of traditional life, from the Bedouins, to whose tent Thomas made a beeline to get the tea he knew would be offered,

(which turned out to be Arabic coffee, and yes, I let him drink it. Nothing like a three-year-old hopped up on caffeine. He loved it.)

to the falconers:

(yes, Bethy is wearing that dress again, And she had me pack it today in her backpack to change into after school since she's going to a playdate and is conscious of the need to dress appropriately for the occasion. I have to steal it to get it in the washer while she sleeps or it'd never be clean)

and a beautiful Arabian who reared and danced for us, and submitted to being petted. Admittedly, those ears turned backwards betrayed its true fellings for the whole business:

Now, the moment of truth. Chicken sandwiches for the chicken spouses and children, but for my friend Karen and I, fearless creatures that we are, we went for it. We plopped down our 20 dirhams apiece and were rewarded with the sizzle of former desert creature on the grill.

Takeaway bags in hand, we found seats to watch little Emerati boys dance traditional shuffling, bowing steps whilespinning throwing and catching canes and small golden reproductions of what looked very much like Russian machine guns.

Unwrapped, our camelburgers were served on flattish buns, with sauce, melted cheese, lettuce and sliced tomato. Very slippery to keep together. First bite:

It ... didn't ... really ... taste like anything. Spices, cumin for sure. Karen thought, and I agreed, that it was faintly lamb-ish, but neither tender nor with the richness that I associate with lamb. In fact, the closest thing this came to was those boiled gray burgers they fed us back in elementary school.

Edible. in other words.

Bethy would have none of it, but Thomas wanted a "bite of the meat!" I hadn't the heart to tell my little carnivore what it was. He thought it was pretty good and ate one of my tomatoes too.

Now, where do I pick up my T-shirt? "I ATE A CAMELBURGER."

I should print some up and set up a stand. I'd make a killing off people like me.


*Paula* said...

LOL! I can always count on you to provide a chuckle with your adventures! I'd have the chicken ;)

Nathalie said...

I am just cracking up over here, esp. about the T-shirt!!! Thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog! I had stopped by to read about your adventures before (a while ago)... but I'll make sure to come back more often ;)

Anonymous said...

And to think, one of the Olympic Ice Skaters has received death threats from the animal rights groups because he used a little fox fur on one of his costumes during world competition.
Still, not my idea of good tucker.

Natalie said...

I promise everyone I will NOT knowingly eat any fox. (Phew! Gotta head off those death threats.)

Tanya said...

As a pescatarian Im probably never going to eat camel but the fact its on the menu made it all the way to the Kiwi newspapers http://travel.msn.co.nz/1013432/dubais-new-delicate-dish-camel-burger
course noone would bat an eyelid here where dog meat esp from black dogs is considered good for the virility!

Natalie said...

I want to make it clear to everyone that Tanya is talking about Cambodians eating dog, not Kiwis! She has a fabulous blog which I read devotedly, by the way. Here's a link: http://for-tee-two.blogspot.com/ She's writing about their recent trip to Italy right now, and making me totally jealous. The rest of the time they make their home in Cambodia. Take a peek!

Jeni said...


I'm sure Josh would try it though!

Mom2ABJ said...

How in the world do you manage to come across these delicacies??
BTW, have you made it to Global Village? I believe this is the last week!

paris parfait said...

Hmmm, again you've stumped me. Have never eaten a camelburger (not sure I want to). However, those horses are magnificent! And I can see why your daughter doesn't want to take that dress off. C'est tres adorable! :)