Lady & her Sweet Escapes | Food, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Filipino Expat Blogger in Dubai

Dec 21, 2014

Holiday Giveaway: The Entertainer Dubai Mobile 2015

It's no secret that Dubai is an expensive place to live in. With the tremendous increase on the cost of living, some may have wondered how Ed and I can cope up when we constantly go on sweet escapes. Well, let me tell you something, but I bet you already noticed. We are crazy over buy one get one free vouchers!  

Remember when we had an extreme fun at Yas Waterworld during Ed's birthday? How about our romantic anniversary dinner by the sea at Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa? And not to forget our Atlantean adventure at the Lost Chambers followed by a superb feast in Kaleidoscope at Altantis The Palm on my 31st. We experienced all those at half the price! Thanks to The Entertainer!   

Entertainer Dubai: my precious blue books of Buy1Get1 FREE offers

Dec 19, 2014

Travel Video: 4-day Dubai Do-It-Yourself Tour

Late November, I was a tourist in a city that I call my second home for four days. My aunties, uncles and cousin came for a visit, and it was such a delight to show them how amazing Dubai truly is. A 4-day vacation isn't quite enough to experience everything that Dubai can offer, but we came up with a DIY tour itinerary that at least gave them an overview.

family in Atlantis the Palm
wacky family selfie in Atlantis the Palm (see the wackiness in motion down below)

Dec 11, 2014

Hanoi Naturally: Vietnamese Fare in JLT

I was in my early 20s when I had a bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, for the first time. It was in a Vietnamese restaurant chain in Manila right after my first International trip. The sting of the travel bug lingered as I opened my taste buds to an unfamiliar pleasant flavor. The feeling of wanderlust was new to my senses, but that moment, it became clear to me that food and travel go hand in hand. I fell in love with the subtle Vietnamese noodle soup and wondered what it would be like having it in the streets of Vietnam. So, it went down on my travel list.

Several months after my first pho (pronounced as "fuh", by the way), I moved to Dubai and my dream to travel to Vietnam was temporarily pushed aside. I still have it on my list though, and while I'm waiting for it to happen, I satisfy my pho cravings in a humble Vietnamese restaurant in JLT.

Hanoi Naturally in JLT Dubai
Hanoi Naturally in JLT Dubai

Dec 6, 2014

Betawi: Authentic Indonesian Restaurant in Karama

Ed and I are residents of Al Karama for almost four years. Rent is a little high compared to some residential areas, but I don't think we'd move out anytime soon. Our humble home which is a four-cornered room in a flat is the most convenient place for us to be at as of the moment. Convenience for me means reaching the workplace by feet on weekdays and taking a short stroll to metro station on weekends. It also means having some perks around the corner, like a hidden foodie alley of pocket-friendly restaurants!

Al Karama has an answer to Sheikh Zayed Road's bustling foodie strip. With cuisines ranging from Indian to Nepalese, Filipino to Indonesian, the dimly-lit 4B street has something for every palate. One of my favorite hidden gems along that lane is Betawi.  

Betawi Indonesian Restaurant
Betawi Indonesian Restaurant in Karama

Betawi, a modest Indonesian restaurant, is probably the most popular among the hidden gems of Karama. It has been shortlisted several times in the annual Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards in the Best Budget and Best Pan-Asian categories. 

Long before this blog was created, Ed and I have already been frequent diners of Betawi; be it for a simple date night or a get-together dinner with friends. I have attempted to blog about it a couple of times, but wasn't able to do so for certain reasons. Not having proper photos because the place is always jam-packed is the main culprit.

the humble and homey Betawi restaurant
the modest and homey Betawi restaurant

When a friend who is a foodie like us came for a visit, Ed and I spontaneously decided to take her to Betawi. It was a Saturday night and we were quite early for dinner, hence I decided to take some photos for the blog with my phone while the restaurant was still half empty. I took it as a sign to finally share why I love the unassuming Indonesian restaurant. 

Betawi restaurant in Karama Dubai
on every table: a bucket of utensils and pack of crisps 

While Ed went for his favorite Nasi Pandang, my friend and I opted to shared a soup and an Indonesian noodle dish. It was my nth visit in Betawi, yet my first time to try the Kwetiau Goreng. It is a full on flavor dish of stir fried flat noodles loaded with chicken, vegetables and egg, and smothered with sweet soy sauce. It is so good that I actually blamed myself for staying at the safe side with my satay, nasi and mei goreng for years! 

Soto Betawi or Betawi Soup has constantly been my choice of comfort on cold nights. It is a traditional soup made of coconut milk broth, chunks of beef and rice vermicelli. It is a light meal made heavy with the addition of steamed white rice on the side.   

Kwetiau Goreng in Betawi Karama
Kwetiau Goreng
Soto Betawi in Betawi Karama
Soto Betawi

I love it when Ed orders Nasi Pandang as it is most likely enough for sharing. It has a variety of Indonesian dishes in one plate, more like a counterpart of Chinese lauriat. Betawi's Nasi Padang has a delish grilled chicken, vegetables and beef rendang on top of a cup of steamed rice. On the side are crushed peanuts and sambal for additional burst of texture and flavor.

We are also big fans of Betawi's Indonesian drinks. Es Teler is number 1 on my list. It is a concoction of coconut milk, strips of young coconut and slices of avocado, and is adorably served in a lid jar. It is simply refreshing; a drink and a dessert in one!  

Nasi Padang in Betawi Karama
Nasi Padang
Es Teler in Betawi Karama
Es Teler

Aside from the delicious and authentic Indonesian food, the prices and the service are also the reasons why I love Betawi. I get a full meal and sometimes a portion for take-away at less than 50 dirhams. And whenever I'm clueless, the staff are always there to carefully explain each dish. Most of the staff are Indonesians and I really appreciate it when they associate an Indonesian dish to a Filipino specialty for me to understand it better. 

Ed and Lady in Betawi Karama
sharing our well-loved Indonesian fare with a friend 
an Indonesian feast in Betawi Dubai
It's always an Indonesian feast in Betawi! 

Soto Betawi: 28 AED
Kwetiaw Goreng: 28 AED
Nasi Padang: 30 AED
Es Teler: 15 AED

Betawi Restaurant
4B street, Mabrooka 1 building
Karama, Dubai
Contact # 056 7598118

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Dec 1, 2014

India: Taj Mahal - The Symbol of Eternal Love

The weather was unpredictable when we arrived in Agra. Rain clouds loomed over some areas, but we managed to explore Agra Fort without a drop of rain. The weather app reminded me of my history as a travel jinx when it indicated a huge percentage of rainfall in the afternoon. When things like this happen, I usually just shrug and laugh at myself and my misadventures. But on that day, being a jinx was plainly tragic! 

We were scheduled to visit an extraordinary monument, a Wonder of the World, India's crown jewel: the Taj Mahal. I longed to see it gloriously dazzling under the sun. I planned to sit in one of the benches just like Princess Diana. I wanted to celebrate love and walk with my husband hand in hand at the sprawling garden. 

Rain is the natural phenomenon that I never needed on that day!   

the majestic Taj Mahal
The Majestic Taj Mahal

Nov 25, 2014

India: Agra Fort - Citadel of the Mughal Empire

On our third day in India, we embarked on a road trip to our third destination; Agra, home of the majestic Taj Mahal. We left Jaipur a few minutes past 7 am and reached the third corner of the Golden Triangle circuit at 12 noon.

Agra, a city in Uttar Pradesh, was ruled by Mughal Emperors centuries ago. It became the center of the empire, thus scattered around the city are astounding monuments showcasing majestic Mughal architecture. Three of the monuments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Having only a day in Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was not included in our schedule as it is located in the outskirts. 

Our first stop was at the Agra Fort. The colossal fortress made of red sandstone has witnessed the Mughal Empire's prosperity and hardship. It was built as a military structure during the 11th century, then was turned into a palace complex during the Mughal empire's heyday, then unfortunately became a prison for the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan

Agra Fort in India
Agra Fort also known as the Red Fort of Agra