Saturday, June 17, 2017

Vegetarian stop-over in Doha, Qatar

Souk Watif, Doha

I flew with Qatar Airways from New Zealand to Italy (my longest flight, 17 and an half hours, Auckland to Doha), and decided to stop a couple of days in Doha on the way back, to add a new country in my world map.


Usually if I can the first thing I do is to walk a supermarket to stock up with vegetarian snacks, and I can happily say that for two days in Doha I could live just on dates!


So many varieties, and they all look so good ... but of course I also wanted other things, like some still warm flat bread. I arrived in front of the bakery at a good time apparently, since I had to almost wrestle through a group of men all wanting to grab the best bread - no women, maybe bread is something men shop for? Then I wanted to grab some labne, a real staple in this part of the world. And then a bottle of pomegranate juice (also very common), and from the delicatessen some vegetarian pastries (similar to samosa) which were quite spicy and tasty. The Mango was imported, like most of the produce I guess, in act I was surprised to see how many apples they imports, I had a few at the hotel (free by the fitness centre) and it is quite likely that they came from New Zealand. Then, for dessert, I opened a pack of dates. 


Bird houses in Katara

Bird houses in Katara

Book exchange in Katara



Breakfast in the hotel was good and after my sweet selection (with cappuccino), I also had a small platter of local food.



A lot of the food reminds me of the colours of the sand and desert, hummus, labne, halwa, naboulsi cheese... all good vegetarian staff (and lots if vegan too). The honey also is delicious, and there are many types too.
Labne

Hummus

Halwa is another specialty, and fresh halwa is moist and not as sweet as the imported ones.
Halwa


The city is mostly modern and you can find all types of food here, but no alcohol, this is available only in a few major hotels. 

Souk Watif
If you only have a few hours free in the city (Doha is a stop-over rather than a destination) and you have to choose only one place to visit I recommend Souk Watif, which has kept a bit of his history and old buildings. The Souk (bazar) is colourful and inexpensive, and nobody will bother you trying to sell you things. I already have full bags otherwise I would have got a few kitchen things and maybe a dress too...

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

A man and his falcon in Souk Watif
Camels in Souk Watif

Arabian horses in Souk Watif

yummy paprika
The best thing about the Souk was that it was already buzzing in the morning, unlike many other areas, like the new cultural centre of Katara (or Katara beach). If you want to see some life in these areas you need to go in the late afternoon or evening.

Katara

Katara

Katara
In my day trip I was also taken to the artificial island called The Pearl, this is for fancy designer stores and restaurants, and also absolutely deserted in the morning.

The Pearl-Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif



Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

Souk Watif

View from the Movenpick West Bay Doha
Movenpick West Bay Doha

I was offered some snack in the hotel on my last afternoon, they told me that I had been selected as the 'client of the day', and these gave me a chance to try different nuts, some coated with spices, which I did see in the shops but were in bags to big for me to buy or take home. Well, I guess that I could have easily lived on dates AND nuts alone for a couple of days. And halwa.

Movenpick West Bay Doha


Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Four Seasons Hotel Doha

Four Seasons Hotel Doha


video

Photos  by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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