I was recently invited to be part of a media familiarization trip to Sharjah (yes the same venue that once hosted India and Pakistan cricket matches) to witness the Sharjah Light Festival by Sharjah Tourism and Air Arabia. Being a staunch vegetarian who does not eat eggs or mushrooms I was wondering what I would find to eat but Sharjah had many surprises in store. It also helped for once that close to 70 per cent of the group were vegetarians and that sort of buoyed my optimism as well.
Apart from an array of green salads, I found several mezze platters that can be quite a meal in itself. So you have Fattoush a salad with crispy fried pita and fresh vegetables, Farmers Salad with fresh vegetables tossed in a lemony seasoning, Tabouleh made with bulgar and and finely chopped tomatoes and onions with parsley and even olives are aplenty. I also tried the Dolma which is rice and seasoning stuffed in grape leaves
that is however quite sour. My favourite however is the Hummus a creamy dip made by blending boiled chickpeas, lemon, garlic and oil into a finely ground paste. I also recommend the Moutabel, a creamy roasted eggplant dip and the Baba Ghanoush made from roasted and mashed eggplant, pomegranate, tahini, finely chopped veggies and pine nuts. Pita Bread is usually part of all meals and team well with the mezze and usually there are an array of breads and buns that work well with these dips. Lentil soup is usually on the menu and is a good option for vegans and vegetarians alike.
I found plain rice a common factor in most meals I had that could be had with the Ful Mudamas a dish made with red kidney beans (rajma) and vegetables topped with spices of the region. There is also a variety of lentils that I found quite similar to the dal we eat at home. This apart a lot of hotels do have a variety of pastas and you can even make your own pasta choosing the sauce and vegetables of your choice like the one I asked for below:
Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, there are an array of both traditional and international desserts that are sure to whet your appetite. The range of pastries and ice creams are quite delectable and if not anything will give you a lot of energy to see you through the day
Delectable gelato ice cream made with fresh fruit
Fruit based cheese cakes
But what I suggest you do not miss are the traditional desserts like the Baklava made with thin layers of phyllo dough mixed with chopped nuts and honey and date based desserts topped with sesame.
Traditional sweets on display at a local sweet store
And if not anything you can always have Arabic coffee with dates which is something you will find in most hotels:
Arabic coffee with dates
This post has been possible through Sharjah Tourism and Air Arabia.