One of the things I've had to get used to in Dubai, is the difference in the meat and the fruit and vegetables. Actually all products in the supermarket. While some things are the same, there are many things that are very, very different.
I have to admit that buying meat, poultry and fish scared me a lot in the beginning. Who's kidding? It still scares me! I quickly discovered that sausages here do not taste like sausages in Australia. I think it has something to do with the casings. Not halal perhaps? I don't know, but the snags are not up to scratch.
Then there's the chicken. The first time I cooked chicken here it ended up in the bin. It tasted weird. It was obviously off. Except it wasn't. Chicken tastes different, stronger, gamier. They're also a lot smaller. Unable to get a decent BBQ chook, I decided to roast a chook. I've never been one to do a roast chook, why would you when you can get a great BBQ chook for $10? Anyway, I bought my chicken brought it home and looked up to see what Jamie would do with it. I pulled the chicken out of the packet, to my horror it still had the neck on. What was I going to do with that?! Moving on, Jamie suggested using a 1.8kg chook, mine (the biggest in the shop) was paltry 900grams. Once cooked it would barely feed the kids. I've now gotten used to the taste, though I don't think Skip has.
Then there's fish. All these fish I've never heard of – Hammour, Sultan Ibrahim – I get confused.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, I can buy pork here. There is a pork section in the more Western supermarket, it's a separate room usually up the back and marked "For Non-Muslims only". There are decent pork products available from the UK, Ireland, France and Belgium. I tend to avoid the Kenyan pork products.
Beef and lamb is a lot easier. I've found a butcher that sells only Australian and New Zealand lamb and beef. Incredibly the quality is better than what I've found in Australia (except for the sausages) and cheaper. I don't know why this is. We enjoy delicious rib eye steaks more often here than we did at home.
Earlier this week, Skip asked if I'd cook a slow roasted lamb shoulder on Thursday night. I've made this dish many time over the years and it's kind of become 'my thing'. I haven't made one in Dubai, although I made a number of them when I was holidaying in Australia. No problem, I replied. This morning I went to the supermarket, I asked the butcher for a 2kg lamb shoulder. He came out with a cryovacked packaged clearly marked as Australian lamb. Yes, win! He asked if I wanted it cut up? Of course not, I replied, thinking why on earth would I want it cut up?
I got home pulled it out the packet there was the lamb shoulder and a whole load of ribs attached to it! Hmmm not quite what I'm used to at home. I probably would have completely freaked out except for the fact that the lamb shoulder that we ate in the Pakistani restaurant had ribs attached. So I figure any meat slow cooked in the oven with garlic, olive, salt and pepper has got to taste good, right?
I'll let you know how it goes.