Soie: My favourite Chinese food destination in Bahrain at the Sheraton

Chinese food has always been popular and I am glad to say we have a some really wonderful Chinese restaurants in Bahrain. Among those wonderful Chinese restaurants, Soie stands out. Soie is an award winning Chinese restaurant located at the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, serving authentic Chinese cuisine. I was invited for a restaurant review at Soie several weeks back and I must tell you that even after such a long time, the memories of the good food still linger.

The interesting bit about Soie’s menu is that it is divided by the region the food comes from. 

  • Cantonese
  • South East Asia
  • Szechuan
  • Beijing 
  • Hong Kong

It was a delightful experience to choose from different regions and quite educational too. While I was waiting for the order to come, I was happy to google away from interesting Chinese food related facts. Did you know, food is so important to Chinese people that when two Chinese people meet each other instead of saying “Hi, how are you?”, they say: “Have you eaten yet?” I love societies that are so pro-food!

Tom Yam soup
Tom Yam soup

 The first dish to arrive was the very delicious and heart-warming Tom Yam Soup. It would be an understatement, if I were to say that the soup was the best I have had anywhere in the 35 long years of my life. So full of flavour, I couldn’t stop at one sip. 

Fried Chicken balls with sweet and spicy dip Fried Chicken balls with sweet and spicy dip

The chicken balls with sweet and spicy dip was a delectable starter. I was intrigued by the dip which wasn’t the regular sweet and spicy dip. It was definitely had a unique taste but I forgot to ask about the ingredients as our main course arrived soon after.

South - east Asian style Mango Crispy Chicken
South – east Asian style Mango Crispy Chicken

This main course was the highlight of our dinner. The sweet flavour from the mango and the sturdy flavours of the chicken is a match made in heaven. My usually reluctant husband couldn’t stop raving about it, long after the dinner was over. He loved it so much that the next day he recommended Soie and this dish in particular to all his colleagues at work!

Well done, Soie!

chicken dumplings
chicken dumplings

What’s not to love about chicken dumplings? To me, they act like palette cleansers in between courses. 

plain noodles for Mimi
plain noodles for Mimi
sizzling chicken Szechuan
sizzling chicken Szechuan

The second main course was a sizzler that was spicy and oh-so finger -licking good. Unfortunately, we were so full from all the generous portions that we couldn’t finish the sizzler. Moreover, we had to make sure that we kept some space reserved for dessert.

Green tea ice cream with strawberry compote
Green tea ice cream with strawberry compote

I have been meaning to try the Green tea ice cream for a long time and finally I did at Soie. I enjoyed the fresh, tingling flavour of the gree tea. I could easily feel the matcha green tea bits on my tongue. 

Selection of icecream for the conservative Mimi
Selection of icecream for the conservative Mimi

All in all, it was a wonderful experience at Soie with their wide selection on the menu, eclectic flavours from regional cuisine and generous portions. The interiors are avant garde yet relaxed.  The staff was very helpful in making selections and the service was very quick. Thank you Soie for having us and extending such an authentic experience in Bahrain.

Keep calm and have a very berry loaf cake

To have faith is like trusting yourself to the water. When you swim you shouldn’t try grabbing hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead  when you relax, you’d float. It is so simple a fundamental, yet so difficult to grasp when you are in between things that are not in your control. Running your business can teach you things about yourself that you never knew before. It is like doing a crash course in all kinds of adrenaline sports at the same time. Deep sea diving, jumping off cliffs or most of time swimming with the sharks. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing because there is so much character polishing that happens every single moment of being an entrepreneur. 
 Last two months were extraordinarily difficult, work-wise. I was told that the region worked a certain way and I had no choice but to adapt to the nature of it. Overall everything was so slow and excruciatingly frustrating. 

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Though it was very grey in the months of August and September, there was never a dull moment. I met many people and each one of them had so much to teach me. 

I understood that I needed to get out of my employee mindset and accept the fact that there will not be a monthly cheque coming into my bank account at the end of every month

Once I managed unrealistic expectations like not having a regular income, it was easy to focus on what I needed to do to get out of this murky situation. Let me tell, it is not at all easy to see anything clearly when finances aren’t robust and your lifestyle is feeling threatened because anxiety rules the roost. Yet, I learnt to accept. Somehow. 

I am not saying that I don’t feel anxious anymore. Oh, it is just that, I manage it better now. Breathing helps and so does pushing myself away from the situation mentally into a completely different environment. 

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It is also unbelievable how far the firm has come in the last 5 months with a team that help deliver projects. By the grace of God, I have a talented lot on my side – smart, intelligent and very capable. I feel safe from that perspective because I can rely on them for any kind of work. 

Yet, there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of my bed because in my head, it feels there is nothing worth looking forward to. Then those days pass and I get back to work. Well, I am a moody entrepreneur like that. What I am not is the fearless kind. I know I operate from a position of fear. Fear of the future, the fear of putting myself out there in the crowd of the unknown and the fear of feeling like a fraud. That is  fear I constantly struggle with. But what I have understood is most people who have willed themselves out of their comfort zones feel like frauds. Confident frauds, if that makes sense. Ofcourse, capability exists and so does commitment and sincerity yet can’t escape feeling like a fraud. How are we doing what we are doing and getting away with it? A keen and educated observer would say, through your skill, sheer determination and hard work!

Such a shame, isn’t it!

However, I have all the confidence when it comes to enjoying some splendid cake. Especially the kind that I bake myself. For no reason. This cake is stellar and trust me you will have your family and friends fighting for crumbs. In the making of this cake, I coated the berries with flour so that they do not sink at the bottom. But they sunk anyway. Now this is why I have trust issues but I am letting it go because the cake turned out amazing. 

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This recipe is from BBC Good Food Magazine- 

ICFLIX & VIVA : Movie watching made easier

Movies are such a big part of our life in Bahrain where outdoor activities are limited to only a few good months in a year. Each weekend invariably is about catching up with the flick that is playing at the movie hall closest to our house. But it becomes a problem when none of the flicks playing in any of the movie halls and multiplexes seem like an attractive option.  Movie CDs and DVDs feel like too much effort and a waste of money. CDs sometimes are camera prints which feels very uncomfortable to watch. Additionally, after you watch them, they just lie in a pile, gathering dust, in a corner of the showcase. Under such circumstances, watching movies and sitcoms online seems like the most interesting, comfortable and viable option.

That is why I was very excited when I received this useful piece of information about ICFLIX, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading online streaming service, that has formed a strategic partnership with VIVA Bahrain to offer an ultimate digital experience, giving VIVA customers access to premium movies, TV shows, cartoons and documentaries for only BD 3 a month.

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What this means is, I do not have to subject myself to the torture of waiting in the traffic to reach the mall on a weekend, standing in a line at the movie hall for tickets and buying tasteless, fattening popcorn. Instead I can simply create the movie-hall experience at home, make myself some flavored pop-corn, relax and watch my favourite movies by streaming them online through my ICFLIX subscription.

What makes this super easy is this tie –up with my telecom service provider VIVA Bahrain. As a long –time VIVA customer, I can access the ICFLIX service on up to five devices including smartphones, smart TV’s, computers and tablets.  The good news is customers registering to this premium service will enjoy one month of ICFLIX for free! So if you are a VIVA customer like me, you can enjoy streaming of your favourite content by texting ‘ON’ to 98663 to activate your premium ICFLIX subscription, which will get charged to your post-paid bill or prepaid credit. Once you send the SMS, you will need to sign up and give your promo code here .

So what are all of you waiting for you! Sign up today and enjoy unlimited movie viewing in the comfort of your own space, whenever you like!

48 hours in Oman

This time last year, I was trying to trace the horizon at a rough and choppy beach in Oman. What wonderful 6 days they were. Recently, a friend was visiting Oman from India for work flying via Oman Air , and wanted to know what she could do in Oman in 48 hours. 48 hours, in my opinion, is very little time to explore even your own neighborhood. Nevertheless, I had a plan that could ensure she could maximize her stay within the given timeframe. Oman has such a varied landscape comprising jagged mountainous ranges, never-ending, serene coastlines, and surprisingly patches of fauna. I haven’t toured the whole of Oman myself, but there are a few good places that I have been to and would highly recommend. If you are in Oman for work, it is most likely that you would be in Muscat, the capital of Oman which is a melting pot of cultures and influences. So if you have 48 hours, these places are a must-visit in Oman.

Muscat

  1. Grand Mosque (Sultan Qaboos Mosque): The mosque is surrounded by lush gardens and adorned by a shimmering lattice dome. It boasts of having the second largest prayer carpet and chandelier in the world, and can house 20,000 worshipers at a time.
source: wikipedia
source: wikipedia
  1. Mattrah Souq is all kinds of splendor. You can slip from one shop to another, the display and its wares have a different story to tell at each shop. To the untrained eye, the wares may look near about the same. However, for a prop aficionado, it is a paradise. It is possible to spend countless hours combing through each of the exquisite treasures from daggers, crowns, coins, ornaments and semi-precious stone studded jewelry.
coin from the souq
coin from the souq

All the above places in Muscat can be covered easily in half a day, following which, I would recommend that a taxi be hired. Alternately, if you have valid license in the GCC, it would be better to drive down to Sur with a GPS. Do not forget the GPS. It is a 4–4.5-hour drive with great sights on the way.

Sur

  1. Wadi Dayqah Dam: On the way to Sur, stop by the Wadi Dayqah dam, which has breathtaking views. This is the biggest dam in Oman and is surrounded by mountains from all sides. It is a heavenly sight to see the clouds descending down on the mountains. It is an ideal place for a picnic with family and friends.
dayqah dam
dayqah dam
  1. The Ras Al jinz Turtle reserve is a must-visit. This is one of the best kept secrets of Oman and a must-see for all nature and animal enthusiasts. Rightly named as the Circle of Life, this reserve is the safe haven for turtles to lay eggs. You will not be allowed to click pictures. Find yourself being utterly spell-bound by the sights of 65-year-old turtle digging a large pit to lay eggs and baby turtles scampering off to meet the sea.
source : muscat nature dot com
source : muscat nature dot com

…. and like this, the 48 hours can be put to the best use.