A Yemeni Special: Al Mandi

Al Mandi, is a rice and meat dish which traces its origin in Yemen.  It utilizes the ancient methods of cooking lamb or chicken – prepared with rice, spices and water -  slowly cooked in a deep hole in the ground that remains covered until the meat is tender.

Masood took me to Bait al Mandi, a small yet popular Yemeni restaurant in Al Rigga Road, Dubai.  Upon entering, we were ushered upstairs, where the family cabins are located.  It was 10 pm, Friday night, and the place was packed.  While waiting, I took the following pictures with the cellphone’s camera, to be discreet.  This place is, afterall, intended to provide people, specially the women, some privacy.

Picture taken by Nadia Masood

Notice the shoes?  In a traditional Arab setting, food is usually served and eaten while sitting on the carpet.   That’s why people left their shoes outside the cabin.

There were a total of 6 cabins upstairs and only one man to serve them all.  Yet I observed that he moved swiftly and efficiently, and he was quite polite too.  There is no waiting area.  There was a chair, on which I sat on, while Masood remained standing.  A family finally vacated a cabin 30 minutes later.

Picture taken by Nadia Masood

We finally got cabin number 1, previously occupied by an Arab couple and their two adorable children (MashaAllah).  We were expecting a typical Arabian setting inside the cabin, as I’ve mentioned earlier:  huge, red (I’ve seen this color in every Arabian restaurant) cushions and having dinner while sitting on the carpet. Instead, there was a round table and five mismatched chairs.  There were a couple of red cushions on the floor alright, but the kids apparently took all their energy out on them – the white cotton stuffing oozing out from the seams.

Nadia Masood

I wonder what that round thing is on the wall?  It wasn’t visually appealing, perhaps because it was awkwardly hanged on the corner.   The waiter came in and asked for our order.  There was no menu; I think they only served Mandi.  We didn’t care anyway, after all that’s what we came all the way here for.

Nadia Masood

A plastic sheet was spread on the table (this was either a custom or just to make  it easier for them to clean up after wards).

And dinner arrived in 10 minutes:  a plate of hot mutton mandi, salad, yoghurt, and spicy tomato chutney.  We also ordered two cans of Sprite.   I must say that this was the most mouthwatering and delicious mandi I have ever tasted in my entire life!  The meat was cooked to perfection:  tender and very juicy.  The tomato chutney complimented it by adding the much needed spicy flavor.

We ordered yet another plate of mandi.

Nadia Masood

That’s AED 84 for two plates of mandi (at AED 40 each) and two cans of Sprite.  Overall, the place wasn’t elegant, but we left stuffed and happy.  I’d always love to return here anytime for a good plate of mandi.

Take a peek into interesting places, and learn their customs and traditions in That’s My World!

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41 Responses to A Yemeni Special: Al Mandi

  1. Wow, that looks awesome. I love an eating experience that is half experience and half eating! Sounds like both halves were memorable.

  2. Niyaz says:

    Woow one of the famous Delicious arabian food & popular here in Kingdom , ma f’rite too yummy :-)

  3. Pingback: A Yemeni Special: Al Mandi | Tea Break

  4. Most certainly different from any dining experience I’ve ever had!

  5. Hi!

    Thats something to try here in Norway. Write moore!

    Mvh
    happycaveman.blogspot.com

  6. Ivar Ivrig says:

    So different from Norway but yet exciting.

  7. masood says:

    WOW…want to have this again. InshaAllah we all will go again soon :)

  8. SandyCarlson says:

    I have never seen a restaurant like that before! What a great place for a special meal.

  9. Esther Garvi says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Arab cuisine. They treat food with so much respect! I love cooking Arab-inspired, whether I’m in Sweden or in Niger.
    Warm greetings from the West Africa bush,
    Esther

  10. Carver says:

    That looks like a great place to eat and I enjoyed the photographs.

    Thanks for visiting my site and yes the botanical garden is fairly close to where I live.

  11. Antigoni says:

    Sometimes we cook the lamp this way, in a hole in the ground. It’s very delicious. Great photos.

  12. sylvia says:

    What a delightful way to get to experience dining in a totally different country and atmosphere! Great photos and the food does look delicious! Thanks so much for sharing! And have a great week!

  13. Titania says:

    I would klike to taste this food, it sounds very yummy. This is a very interesting post.

  14. janeblum says:

    Looks awesome and your description of the food is making me hungry. Yum!

  15. arabtrail says:

    The separate cabin rooms for families is an interesting setup. I like the idea of leaving shoes outside and sitting on the carpet. I’ve never had Arab cuisine, but it sounds delicious.

  16. babooshka says:

    This is fascinating. Always so interesting to see how others live and even a simple act of dining can be so different.

  17. Geogypsy says:

    The cabin has a homey kitchen feel. The meal looks delicious, I like lamb. How nice to be served in private. May you return to enjoy again.

  18. Today's Blah says:

    I’m glad I dropped by, or I would have never seen a place like this or even know what a mandi is. Thanks for sharing.

  19. FickleMinded says:

    those looks like a wonderful place, thanks for sharing and also for visiting mine. :)

  20. marites1034 says:

    that’s really cool! I would love to try that as i’m always on to try new food:)

  21. meow says:

    i’ve been here a while back, but the room we were in didn’t have a table. just majlis seating.

    i think the pastic is used at all mandi places. suppose people make an extra mess while eating mandi (though i don’t know how)…or it’s some weird convenient custom.

    if you liked this, you should try this small place down the same road on the opposite site. it’s between aroos damascus and this iraqi joint. it’s a small place but they have AWESOME bbq chicken mandi.

    Will definitely suggest that to Masood. Thanks!

  22. Wakas Mir says:

    Sounds good :D I am sure sis u can be a khana reviewer u know.. restaurants will get scared when they see bad reviews here :)

    Khana reviewer – such a cute word, hehe. I’ll think about that :)

  23. What an interesting experience and that food looks delicious and similar to Turkish, which I have had before.

  24. zeal4adventure says:

    Sounds and looks really yummy! Would love to try it someday. Thanks for the info. When I go to a middle eastern restaurant in my part of the world, I’ll try to see if they have mandi on their menu. :-)

  25. Arija says:

    Yummm…I would not mind eatin there even with the plastic sheet! Your description sounds elicious.

  26. Alicesg says:

    Very lovely photos. It is our culture to take our shoes off when one enter a home. We walked barefooted in our house. :) It will be rude to wear shoes to a guest’s house over here. The food looked so good and yummy.

  27. Haleem says:

    Looks good.

    I wouldn’t mind trying camel meat… ever tried that? :-D

    I think I had tasted camel meat once, in Karachi. The dish is called nihari. Lots of oil, but very yummy :)

  28. Lantaw says:

    Thanks for sharing that great experience!

  29. nadia says:

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments! You’re inspiring me to share more of Dubai with you all :)

  30. Abid says:

    “I think I had tasted camel meat once, in Karachi. The dish is called nihari. Lots of oil, but very yummy :)

    Awww.. i always had nihari with cow meat. my mother has some sort of hate for all things camel, notably their milk. (apparently because it is salty)

    I don’t remember it being salty, but perhaps your mother is right. Maybe if you cook camel meat, better not to add additional salt in it.

  31. bettyl says:

    great post! and your camera takes awesome pics!

    Thank you :)

  32. Asma Ahsan says:

    I still have to eat it – y husband keeps saying we will go -I think I will go to same place – looks clean. :)

  33. Specs says:

    I love mandi… yummmmm.. kiy yaad kara diya aap ney!

  34. rabia says:

    wow chicken mandi is my favorite…
    zabardast cheez hai yahan ki sab se..

  35. suhail Mangalore says:

    I have my Lunch or Dinner at Bait ul Mandi, atleast 4 times in a week….. Chicken is yummy…… also their Home Delivery is super fast … Max time taken is 30 min.. with a min order of Aed 20……

  36. amal says:

    hello , stopped by your page while looking for different mandi recepies , its made in so many different ways ….. i’m emarati of yemeni origins , just to clear up a few points , the unsightly thing on the wall was actually a traditional hand woven sieve that was used long ago to sieve rice, lentils etc .. . About the plastic sheet , its called a “soufra” and is very common all over the arab world ,its usually spread over a sheet on the floor and the food and plates arranged on it , and everyone sits around cross-legged and digs in. to really do it the arabic way , wash hands and eat the mandi with your fingers . it will really prove to be “finger-licking good ” !!

  37. I eat app more than 80 Plates of Bait ul Mandi when i was living at International City China Cluster and its very near to my residency and my office ,,,, its in C5 Building China Cluster Dubai

  38. syeda tamkinath hashmi says:

    i have taste this mandi at sharjah.i must say its fabulous dish and i love it…………

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